Salerno

Salerno
View from the room

Up early to get the metro to the train station.  Took the train down the coast to Salerno.  This is an interesting city of about 140,000 occupants.  In the old section, there are many small streets which wind around.  Most of these have two or three story houses right next to each other creating a very medieval feel.   One can easily imagine what it may have been like a couple of thousand years ago when horses and carts were the main traffic on the cobblestones.  Many small shops catering to the tourist trade. Found the hotel which was much more like a hotel than a hostel.  Got put in a dorm room.  Just a straight long room with eight single beds.  Lots of windows about eight feet from the ground.  A little balcony at the end and an elevated platform with a low wall around it at the other end. 

Was given the bed by the balcony.  Someone was already in that one, the only occupied one in the room.  Given that there was little breeze and it was about 90 degrees it was understandable.  Went back down and pointed out that there was someone already in the bed they had given me.  Also pointed out that there was no air conditioning…not even a fan in the room.  They explained that while the hotel had air conditioning as advertised… it was only in the hotel rooms, not the shared dorms.  Had already paid the money for the room and did not feel like searching out another one.  Instead the search was on for a fan…which they said they did not have.  Big hotel and they did not have a fan.  Rather hard to believe.  They changed  the bed to the one in the alcove at the other end of the room.  No breeze there at all. Fan is now a priority.

The further one gets from Rome it seems the less English is spoken.  Logical.  Tried a few places with no luck.  Finally arrived at the more modern section and found a tiny USB powered fan which one would typically plug into a computer to give one a little air on a desktop.  It was a cute little thing painted like half a watermelon.  Ok, better than nothing…and maybe it could be fit into the backpack as well.  Spent the rest of the day checking out the local sights and finding a decent restaurant.  

Upon returning to the hostel  met a guy who had just hiked the “Path of the Gods”.  This was a hike featured in the guide books.  As it happened he had a map as well.  He gave it to me and told me the best way to get there was to take a bus up the coast to Amalfi.  From there another bus could be taken to the little village of Boomerano where the path began.  Then there began a slight down hill trail toward the town of Positano.  While the trail is only about 4 miles long, it is up and down with rocky sections.  Proper footwear would be required as well as sunscreen and water.  Decided to give it a try tomorrow.  In the mean time rigged the new fan so it hung above  my head and provided a steady air flow all night long as well as a soothing humm.  Slept better than one would have thought possible considering the circumstances.

Had met a fellow from France at the hostel named Chris.  Seemed like a good guy .  We decided to go out for a couple of brews.  Turns out he had just that day done the “Path of the gods” hike.  Interesting…. He had taken the bus  along the Amalfi coast to…naturally…Amalfi.  From there a bus up the mountain to a town by the name of Bomerano.  From the town square he had taken the path of the gods for several miles.  Said it was a great hike.  He had done his research prior to the hike and had the topographical maps of the area. Sweet!  He gave to me with a smile.  Later they would provide a cushie feeling of reassurance when it had been a few hours without seeing any other hikers.  Just knowing they were in the pack was a blessing.  Mind you, like a real man, never looked at them after the initial examination at the hostel.  That would have been cheating.  However…if lost in the mountains and in need, manly rules would then seem a little superfluous, even to Jack Reacher.

Almafi Coast road

Checking with the front desk at the kinda nice hotel/hostel the clerk checked the bus schedule online and noticed that it was a Sunday and that the schedules were different.  Suddenly a reprieve!  Had planned on a 7am bus departure to start the adventure but the first bus didn’t leave until 9:30am.  Sweet!   Party time on a Saturday night in Salerno.  Earlier noticed an “American” bar tucked away and thought to check it out.  Run by a funny guy resembling one of the three musketeers named Francisco.   By then we had another traveler along so I bought a round of beers from his cooler and paid for them.  As I did I put my Green Bay Packers hand coolie on the bottle. Francisco we floored…he had never even seen one before. Made a mental note to bring my spare one to give to him tomorrow night.

In spite of all the beers and camaraderie,  as yet another french guy had showed up, also a nice guy it turned out to be a relatively early evening with bed around 1 am.

Up early to have the hotel breakfast which was actually pretty good.  Found the bus to Amalfi and took it up the coast.  Pretty area with a very small road.  At more than one place the bus had to back up to allow a car coming from the other direction to pass. 

Tight squeeze on the Almafi coastal road

Once in Amalfi it was tourist chaos.  Lots of people swarming around the buses.  Tourists at every cafe and shop.  Waited a while at the imformation booth until it was my turn.  The lady there was very helpful.

Tourists touring Almafi

Found out how to buy a ticket and get the bus to Boomerano.  Only had to wait about ten minutes before boarding the bus.  Once on board it was a brief half hour more to get to Boomerano where the trail beagan.  Stopped at a local deli and got some bread, meat and cheese for a snack later on.  Found the trail head and began to hike.  At this point it was a fairly busy trail.  

Bomerano sign at the start of the “Path of the Gods”

       As one hikes along there is a trail which goes down to another trail which is closer to the ocean.  Many people on the trail chose this route.  Thought the road less traveled looked like there might be better views so chose the high trail.  Did not regret this decision although the hiking was much tougher.

Path of the Gods coastal view

The good hiking boots were nice to have along.  Hiked for a couple of hours without seeing anyone else.  It was wonderful.  Only thing slowing me down was the views.  It was so scenic that every time one came around a bend it seemed that a stop for photos was mandatory. 

Auditioning for a spot as a hood ornament…

Continued for a couple of hours until there was a little picnic table in a shady grove.  Stopped for lunch.  “DANGER…DANGER…DANGER…WARNING Will Robinson” was what the robot would have been saying if only I had I had one…It was there that something crawled up my shorts and bit/stung me in an embarrassing location.  Glad no one was around to see me dropping my drawers swatting madly to eliminate the pest.  Never did see what it was.  The swelling started almost immediately making it painful to walk.  Had my emergency medical kit along and took a benedryl anti-histamine right away with some of the remaining water.  Still wound up walking the last mile chaffing and looking like a bow legged cowboy fresh form a month long cattle drive.  Such are the fortunes of a bumbling touristo…or…you gotta be tough to be dumb. Could have been worse.

Positano

Eventually made it to the town of Positano where a medicinal beer was to be had.  Took the boat back to Salerno and packed up for the overnight ferry which would be taking me to Sicily the next day.  Rest and benedryl took care of the remaining discomfort so it was with a much better attitude that the next day was embraced.

Sea view
Boating back down the coast

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