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“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” Joshua 1:9

July 28, 2016

Day 6 - Hike on the Amalfi Coast


 11th July  - written in the past tense.

Today was the day I had been waiting for. The day that I had planned, all on my own, that was not a real touristy thing to do. Not from my research anyway. The day that we would finally get to hike through mountains right next to the Mediterranean Sea!!

We didn't wake up at 5 a.m. as planned, according to my schedule (well, we did all think it was a good idea to get up early to begin with). We woke up at 7ish, and quickly got ready for the day.

After eating a healthy breakfast: heaps of fruit and other goodness like that (a.k.a nutella pastries), we packed our bags and set off for our first stop of the day.

And then we remembered that we needed to book trains for the next day ...

So at around 9 am we left, with our train tickets booked, and a change of swimmers for when we finished our hike.

As repetition of yesterday, we winded down the mountain. We then headed onto the highway, after realising that something was wrong with our Nav Nav and taking a wrong turn. Boy, the highway was
so peaceful after all those windy roads!!

We turned off the highway towards Agerola, and up we turned onto the beginnings of another mountain. Winding, winding, beeping and waiting for car doors to be closed to squeeze through narrow lanes.

Winding up the mountain.
The amazing view of the mountain

Winding through the narrow streets of Agerola
Almost there. . .
We finally reached the small town of Bomerano!
 Here we parked the car, and found the entry point for our hike called "The Path of the Gods"
 Mum wanted to go to the info, so we went there to check if we had everything we needed. Check :D

Mum started telling the guide that we would be going to Positano and back again, but the guide was very insistent that we could not come back again along the hike. haha ;) She suggested taking the boat to Amalfi and then the bus back to Bomerano. To be honest, at that point we had no idea what we were really getting ourselves into ...

Here is the map of our hike:

We started in the top right corner and walked right around to the top left corner

So we bought some sandwiches at the local pub, as one does on long hikes, and went to the bathroom. Different signs said different lengths of the walk, so we were not sure how long it would take.

After filling up our bottles of water, we set off.

The first part was basically just getting to the main path we would be walking on, so that was lovely.
Harri and I were hungry, so we stopped to eat our sandwiches. At this point we had got to the mountain top, which is the path we would be following for the next couple of hours.

Our view while eating lunch
As we started off again we noticed this lovely little nook with little doors in it. I wonder if people actually live down there? ;)

The little nook that inspired imaginings of dwarf homes ;) 
Now the path started getting less paved, and more rocky. I

t was lovely at this point, because we still had the energy to take pictures while walking ;)

Walking,
Walking,
Walking.

And then we reached a pitstop, where you could turn off to the coastal town of Praiano. By this point we were starting to feel the heat of midday, and the first drops of perspiration were falling from the hairline of my forehead.

Like a mirage, and just as we were feeling thirsty, we happened upon a drinking fountain to fill up our water bottles.

Pitstop ;) 


Here we met another couple who came from the opposite direction, and were now turning back to go Positano again like us. We asked them to take picture of us, which they kindly did, and how far it was to go to Positano from there. They said that we had done nothing yet ;) I think they then felt bad, so they said this wasn't that bad, just to lighten the harshness of their words.

The fellow hikers kindly took a family photo in this lovely location
After walking through a lovely lush pathway, we descended on rocky stairs.

I HAD to take a flower photo :D 
You would think here that we were in some national park or something, not walking along a mountain. Well, we were walking along a mountain ;) 
Such cute paths!!
 That was when it REALLY began.

The beginnings of the rock steps,
which were really steep, and huge. The people who made these must have been giants ;) 
This picture is bringing back so many hard-felt memories... 
Catching our breath from the hike, we stopped to take in this amazing view  
This is how far up we were. The water was so translucent; you can even see the bottom of the water bed in the picture!!

After this point I was sweating too much, and the person walking in front of me was flicking dirt up on me, so I thought it would be best to put my camera away. I will just have to tell you about the amazing difficulties that we went through.

Well, the rest of the way we walked in and out of forests, up and down steep rocky stairs, and along the most narrow of paths that if we had moved a fraction closer to edge I am sure we would have fallen. But it was all worth it to see the amazing view.

We did stop again for a fruit break, where we discovered that the nectarines we had packed were at the bottom of my bag and, therefore, squished. But we didn't mind. I think we may have been too exhausted to really care about the squashed fruit ;) It still tasted the same, actually even better because it was made in Italy ;)


Panorama shot nearing the end of the hike

Getting closer to Positano, which is the town in the centre of the image
After some more extremely steep rocky stairs, we came upon a cafe. This was like another mirage. Because just as were sweating like anything and in need of a cool refreshment, we found it!!

The owners of the cafe really had an opportunity there to sell to the hikers!! I mean, there IS NO competition for them ;)

They were lovely and hospitable, and when we walked in they handed us all a paper towel to wipe the sweat, or should I say ', ' off our foreheads, and then they aimed the standing fan on us so that it would cool us down.

We then bought some lemonade and water, and just sat there drinking and feeling exhausted.

We were gulping down those drinks like they were the last drinks we would have for a LONG time ;) 
Artistic shot
The view of the sea from this cafe
It is amazing, though, because when we got up again we had more energy to keep going!!

Here we are all refreshed and ready to go again :)
Walking under grape vines. They had heaps of these grape-vine-covered-paths throughout our adventure through Italy.
We were now in Nocelle, which you can see on the map is very close to Positano.

What you can't see on the map, however, is the 1700 stairs that you need to go down to reach the city.

We started in the top right corner and walked right around to the top left corner

The stairs!! Doesn't look like much, but when there is staircase after staircase ...
Now, that is a whole other story!! The stairs were really the leg killing machine!! Just from a few steps our legs were beginning to shake! I think it was probably because of all those steep rocky stairs from before ...

Here we were all complaining in our head. It was REALLY difficult to find a comfortable way of going down those stairs!! Harri and I tried cantering our way down the stairs but that didn't last long ... Mum tried pointed her leg after every stair to help her knee, which helped her. Dad alternated between different techniques.

That was BY FAR the most difficult part of the hike. It was definitely not a cool down ;)

At every bottom stair of a staircase we hoping like anything that around the corner there would be no more stair cases ...

But they just kept coming.

And then we finally reached the bottom!!

Only to find that we still had to walk a while to get to where we all wanted to be: The Beach.

Walking along the roads and paths to get to the beach it felt like we were wearing heavy snow boots.! The backs of my legs were feeling super heavy, and when I stopped walking my legs felt like jelly, so I just kept walking.

Harri did get me to stop for a quick selfie though ;)

Looking all fresh from the hike ;) We did NOT feel fresh in this picture at all! I am very surprised by this picture ...

On we went, and we started walking through a lovely market place with shops selling everything from leather sandals (what Positano is known for) to gelato. Oh, and the clothes looked amazing!! Mum and I were so annoyed that we could not look into the shops, or touch anything, because of our sweat-mixed-with-dirt yucky feeling.

Dad put it in to perspective. We were like Mr Bean looking for the beach in France. You know, in the movie called 'The Holiday'. I know truly understand why Mr Bean walked along the trucks and cars, down those surfboards and the backs of those poor sunbathing people, to burst out into the song about finally reaching the sea!! LE MER ~ I truly was singing it in my mind when we were almost at the beach.

The beach!!!!

Mum had to quickly get changed into her swimmers, so we stopped off at the bathrooms for a quick sit down and change from our dirty sneakers to the heavenly, cool thongs. It was an amazing feeling!! While writing this I am overwhelmed by the emotions I feel then.

And then sinking into the sand ... ARGH!! It was boiling hot!! I had to quickly put my tongs back on ;) The sand was huge pebbles, which were boiling hot and difficult to walk through ;) We were extremely determined, so we plonked our bags on the beach and waded into the most relaxing Mediterranean ocean ~ ~

~ pure bliss ~

You can see the pebbly sand, and the crystal clear waters. An equation for happiness :D 

The city of Positano from the beach
After eating some gelato, and buying tickets for the boat, we boarded the boat from Positano to Amalfi.

Positano from the boat
This was amazing!! We could see where we walked along the mountains ;)

More rocky mountains 

 A cute little bridge there going between a mountain

It looks really mystical here

 Cute little coastal town :) 
Dad, mum and I on the boat
Dad and Harri with the mountains in the background
In Amalfi, I bought some blue shorts, Dad bought a print of the coast line, Harri bought some thongs, and we all got some small savoury pastries. Mine was delicious!! I don't know what it was called, but it was a crumbed outer filled with macaroni and mince. Mum had mozzarella inside, Harri had pizza inside and Dad had the same as me.

We then boarded the bus to take us to where we parked our car in Bomerano.

As soon as we boarded the bus, we were off speeding along the Amalfi coast. Dad enjoyed it some much, because 1. He got to see the scenery while someone else was driving, and 2. there was a dog in the seat in front of him which looked very much like our auntie's dog called "Lucky".

The Lucky look-a-like. Here you can see how fast the bus is going, while driving along the narrow mountain roads.
The full bus! Mum and I were sitting in the back seats, where I felt like a kid who finds enjoyment just from sitting at the back of the bus ;)


Arriving half an hour early in Bomerano, thanks to the amazingly confident fast driver of the bus, we walked to our car and drove to our hotel.

Driving back to the hotel
While chasing the sun ;)

When we arrived back at the hotel, we had a lovely shower with a lovely, new, fixed shower head, and went to bed. We had to wake up early the next day to begin the journey to Rome!!

Now you are uptodate,

Laura

xoxo
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July 17, 2016

Day 5 - Amalfi Coast

 10th July

My highlight from today was definitely floating along the rocky beach of the Mediterranean in the little coastal village called "Erchie". Isn't the name so cute? :x

To begin the day, we had a hearty Italian buffet breakfast. You know what they say about the correlation between good breakfast and a good day? ;)

Mum and dad enjoying the breakfast at the hotel
I never knew that I loved apricots so much! Love at first sight :D 
After finishing, and unashamedly eating way too much, we packed our suitcases again and headed to the central station. At the central station (all central stations are soo busy!!) we got a taxi to the airport, where we picked up a hire car for the next two days.

The taxi driver from central station to the airport was very friendly, and offered us great advice for our time down south. He assumed that we were going to the Amalfi Coast (which was correct), and then he told us of some awesome places to go, which we had not planned on going to :) He kept repeating: "It is easy, you will be fine.", when dad was asking about driving and how to get to places. Let's hope so! He was very relaxed ;)

Taking the taxi from the central station to the airport, where we picked up our hire car
Getting used to our new car 
Unfortunately, we had a difficult dilemma to resolve. And, note-to-self, the car (especially while driving) is not the best place to resolve dilemmas.

Just before I go any further I would like to give some background knowledge on our travel plans. Harri had planned for Naples, and his job had been done by this point, and I planned what to do in the Amalfi Coast, which is where our next hotel is located. So, it was my day now to plan for

Okay, back to the dilemma. So, the dilemma was that Harri wanted to go to Pompei, which we passed on the way to our next hotel, while none of us where really fussed on going, and I had already planned on not going so that we could spend more time at the Amalfi Coast. Harri was very adamant on going, so we (from Mum and Harri's insistence) turned off from the highway to go to Pompei. Mum said we could just take the turn-off, see if we like Pompei or not, and then decide what we want to do (i.e. go back on the highway to the Amalfi Coast, as we had absolutely no time to spend at Pompei, and anyway we had no money either to spend on an hour venture through the ruined city where you really need a full day). As you can see, I didn't really want to even turn-off to to Pompei, and dad really had no time to think about it (but I am sure he didn't want to either). So, this ended up being an hour detour, because when we decided to not go to Pompei (when Harri finally saw that is simply was not possible to go there it in my the schedule), we had to take all these small roads just to get back on the highway. Oh dear ;) The joys of democracy!

After this, we really did not have far to go at all to hotel, but we all needed to stop off at services to go to the bathroom. Hence, another detour.

30 minutes later we arrived at Cava (pronounced Kaava) de' Tirreno, which was the larger town near to where our hotel was located. Our hotel was located in a mediaeval village, which was up the mountain, so our navigator told us that we needed to begin climbing. Definitely a new experience in the narrow roads!! I think it was along this journey that mum was convinced our navigator (which we call "Nav Nav" because of the brand) was taking us in the wrong direction ;)

However, Nav Nav did take us to the hotel, and so mum had to apologise to Nav Nav ;) haha. Mum was quite nervous about having to drive down and up again that afternoon though.

Harri outside the Scapolatiello Hotel. As you can see here, the silver car is coming out of the narrow road that takes you up and down the mountain. Very narrow!!

As we were starving after our journey, and the extended time we were in the car stopping and starting to get up narrow roads, we had a lovely light lunch at the garden terrace cafe at the hotel. I ordered a lovely dish of tomato and buffalo mozzarella, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The buffalo mozzarella is a prized possession from the Campania region (which includes Naples and all the other regions we will be spending time in at the Amalfi Coast). When the waiter placed the plate infront of me I was surprised to see eggs on my salad, but on further investigation I discovered that these eggs were actually the mozzarella!! I am happy to tell you that it did not taste like egg at all, and rather tasted like a cloud, which I guess you could say an egg white might taste like :) In fact, I am just guessing what a cloud would taste like ... haha.

The lovely view we were looking out on while eating lunch

After lunch we had a quick siesta, and headed down the mountain to the beach through the windy roads.

Heading down the mountain

Driving along the coast, where people are walking, motorbikes are zigzagging and small 'fiat' cars speed past. 

The lovely view of the Mediterranean coast from the road high on the mountain

Mum started feeling quite nervous while dad was driving, because the road was extremely windy, the roads were super narrow, and there were so many cars that constant concentrate was needed to swerve out of the way of some of the bigger cars. However, Dad said he enjoyed the driving, and Harri and I were happy snapping videos and pictures of the chaos and amazingly staggering views of the coast :D

I wanted us to go swimming at one of the towns, and so we parked (as soon as we gained the courage to just stop and park on the side of the road), and walked down the mountain.

Stopping on the Amalfi coast at a small coastal town called Erchie
A selfie I took near where we parked our car

The lovely view of the coast before beginning to go down the mountain. Here you can see how high the road is from the sea

The road was very high on the mountain, so we had to walk right down to the sea at the bottom of the mountain along these zigzagging roads and stairs
We happened upon a wedding in the local church. Mum said that the arrangement of pale pink roses and baby's breath was exactly like her wedding flowers :) Sha said that the Italian weddings were "very tasteful" :D 
We finally reached the bottom of the mountain!! Here dad and I are swimming in the crystal clear waters among the rocks and boats.
The beach was amazing with its crystal clear waters, and its rocky edges. The difference between these beaches here and Australia is that instead of sandy beaches (in Australia) there are small pebbles here that are very massaging on my feet ;) haha.

It was lovely just lying back on the water, listening to the ocean, and gazing up at the blue sky! Or then gazing up at the mountain that we were driving long before.

After a lovely 20 minutes of swimming, my kind of relaxing!, while mum was reclining on a seaside chair, which mum describes: 'aww, it was lovely', we headed up the mountain.

We had to take this picture of our parked car before we left so that we would know where to go if we lost it, which we fortunately did not have to use ;)

Our next destination was Maiori, where we had dinner and I had dessert
My gorgeous lemon panacotta
The sun setting over Maiori

Lights slowly switching on
Getting darker

Getting darker. I think here we are looking over Salerno
Our trip getting back to the hotel was in darkness, and so that made the driving all that more difficult. I would think, anyway, because I have never driven ... 

We then arrived back at the hotel late, discovered our shower was broken, had a water-fall of a shower, and wen to bed.

That was pretty much it ;) 

Now you are up to date,

Laura 

xoxo
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