Sentiero Degli Dei
Today was not without its hiccups.
Our plan for today was to hike the Sentiero Degli Dei path between Bomerano and Positano. Well, if you want to get technical, the plan for today was Capri but then I got all my days mixed up and we did Capri yesterday. But the hiking plan was to get the bus to Amalfi, switch to another bus to take us up to Bomerano and then hike all the way to Positano before collapsing on a beach.
We’re staying just outside of Sorrento, on the road to Amalfi. The bus technically passes in front of our hotel. But we were highly advised to catch it in town or risk standing for the hour and a half ride along all the hairpin turn roads. Not ideal. So, we added about a half hour onto the travel portion of the day by taking the first shuttle from the hotel into town, walking over to the train station and catching the 8:30 bus to Amalfi. We were there about 15 minutes early and did manage to get seats but not together. The bus was standing room only right away from Sorrento and just got more and more crowded the closer we got to Amalfi. Once we got to Positano, folks started getting off but it was a long, slow trip - and we had a 10:15 bus we had to catch to get up to Bomerano. The ride wasn’t what anyone would consider smooth - there was lots of honking and inching forward to barely scrape past cars, including one time where we sat literally for minutes while a car blocked us from going forward (and he couldn’t get by us) and did everything but the most logical move of just backing his damn car up, like every other vehicle behind him.. And the clock ticked closer and closer to 10:15. We were just at the outskirts of Amalfi when we saw the bus we needed to be on pass us by. Ugh. And there wasn’t going to be another bus until 12:30. Ugh.
Once we finally got into Amalfi, 15 minutes late, EDP went to see if we had any other options for getting up to Bomerano. When he was checking into that, he saw some other travellers who also missed the 10:15 bus (and I’m sure there were many more…) He came out of the tourist info place and said we could try a cab or we could take a different bus over to Praiano and take the stairs up to the trail. I immediately shut down the later option because it’s literally something like 1500 stairs. And that didn’t seem like a good way to start the hike. Meanwhile, the other travellers were chatting through their options, completely misunderstanding the bus schedule so I stuck my nose where it didn’t belong to tell them that no, there wasn’t an 11:15 bus, that only went on Sundays and were they interested in splitting a cab with us. They said no, they already had their SITA bus tickets (us too, buddy… But I held my tongue on the sunk cost lesson.) So we shrugged and went off to investigate. The taxi driver was going to charge us ONE HUNDRED EUROS for the ride. No thank you, sir. He then said there were some other people looking at going and we could split with them so only fifty each. Still no thank you, sir. It’s not that long a ride and there was still another bus coming.
So we had an early lunch of sandwiches overlooking the beach, grabbed some beach towels from a little shop (we’re now the proud owners of two over-priced blue towels with a multi-coloured turtle on it and Amalfi Coast scrawled in giant letters… Just my style…) We hadn’t done anything, towel-wise before leaving because we assumed it would be like the beaches in Nice where our sun loungers came with towels. Not so much on the Amalfi Coast. Anyway. Then we loaded up on sun screen and started watching for the bus.
It was such chaos - so many people were looking for that Bomerano bus! And there weren’t designated places for certain routes, it was just one bigger area where the buses would back in and then after a few minutes, switch their sign. Every time a bus pulled in, multiple people would swarm it to find out if it was the Bomerano bus. We were definitely not the only people who missed the 10:15. Just before 12:30, a bus pulled in that I was pretty sure was ours so we tried to get ahead of most of the crowd (success!) to make sure we got on. It was a massive group of people, way too many to fit on the bus, including a tonne of school kids that needed to get home. They knew what was what so they were right at the door and got on the second it opened. We managed to get on but did not get seats. The bus was packed and about half the crowd didn’t manage to get on, including those other travellers we had tried to split a cab with.
We were soon hurtling up towards Bomerano on a hot, overcrowded bus with an overly aggressive driver who really enjoyed the sound of his horn. It was SUCH a fun ride. We weren’t 100% sure where to get off but I had enough of a description that we had a rough idea of what we were looking for. Then we heard some other travellers talking about getting off in Bomerano and that we were there and we were all “hmmm, this doesn’t look as described but we’d better get off!” So we did. And we immediately saw a sign for the Sentiero Delgi Dei so we felt much better. But a lot of the other folks, that we assumed were also heading for the path did not get off. We walked a few hundred metres up the street and found the square that we had thought we’d get off at. No sign of the bus, no sign of other travellers. We were soon heading towards the path, wondering what all those other folks were heading towards - we never caught up with them on the trail so we’re thinking we stumbled into getting off the bus at the right time. EDP’s guess is that the bus eventually loops back so that they were way behind us. My guess is that a lot of people had a really annoying day.
So with getting to the trail finally behind us, we started walking. It was a lovely, easy walk to start with good views out over the water. There were a few places of scrambling around on some rocks but for the most part, we were fine without our hiking poles and our sneakers were perfectly good footgear. We saw the odd person hiking in sandals, which looked like an incredibly poor life choice but what’s a twisted ankle on a path in the middle of nowhere that has signs placed every 1/2km or so with coordinates for an emergency helicopter to find out? And oh yes, we definitely saw the helicopter heading towards the path at one point. Someone else was not having a very good day.
We were soon in Nocelle, where the path officially ends and there is a cold drink kiosk where we got the most wonderfully cold & tart lemonade that made for a nice reward at the end of the hot hike. We were definitely hiking in the hottest hours of the day, although even if we had made the 10:15 bus, it would have been 11:30-ish before we got on the path so no matter what, we were hiking in the heat. Once in Nocelle, we had the option to take the stairs down into Positano (about 1500) or to keep going on another path that would loop us around Positano and bring us out at a nice, quiet beach. We tried the latter and just couldn’t figure it out. So we back-tracked and took the stairs down to Positano. All 1500 of them. In a row. That was also super fun. But soon we were at the bottom and we walked the little distance into Positano. By this time, it was after 4 so we headed towards the first set of sun loungers that we saw, paying far too much for a relatively short amount of beach time. But we were hot and tired and it felt pretty good to jump into the cold water.
Until EDP got stung by a jellyfish, anyway. I’m really hoping that the children within earshot don’t speak English because EDP had some rather colourful comments as he frantically headed back towards shore. He insisted he was fine, declined to go to the lifeguard and then disappeared a few minutes later. Turns out, he did go find some first aid - he was hosed down and then given something with some ammonia in it, but was told it wasn’t a bad enough sting to warrant a doctor. He was told to stay out of the sun for a bit so we settled in with a few drinks and our books, enjoying the last of the sunshine and the cooling air. Then, it was back through the little streets of Positano to catch a bus back to Sorrento, seeing one leave as we were less than 50 metres away. Happily, the wait wasn’t too long and the bus wasn't too crowded.
But the long, hot day had gotten to me and when we got off the bus in Sorrento, the twists and turns of the road had left me feeling a bit queasy. So I told EDP I didn’t care what we did for dinner, he just needed to pick something because I needed a bit of quiet time to settle my stomach. He settled on Fauno Bar quickly enough that I think he already knew that’s where he wanted to go for dinner. It’s right on Piazza Tasso and has the reputation as the best place to people-watch in all of Sorrento. It was pretty packed, we weren’t sure we’d get a table any too quickly and sure enough, we were told there weren’t any but we could sit inside for a few minutes with a complimentary glass of Prosecco until something opened up. Sign me up! We didn’t have to wait too long at all and ended up with a table in the second row from the street - so prime street-watching territory. We had a delicious dinner - me with a pasta dish with the cutest tiny meatballs and EDP with a lobster pasta dish. Often, you expect these sorts of places to flake out on the food but this place has earned its right to be busy. Then, it was back to catch the shuttle and head off to a well-earned sleep.
Anyway. Yeah, not our smoothest day of the trip.