To base ourselves in Bomerano, a small town up in the hills northwest of busy Amalfi Town, was a wise move. We were able to start two out of three walks directly from our hotel and walk down to the coast. Yes, we had to take a bus back to Bomerano after finishing our walk in the afternoon, but that was much better than having to start off earlier in the day by taking a bus up the hills to the start of most of the walks. Besides, it was quiet in the afternoon and evening in Bomerano and we were well satisfied with our evening meals in Hotel Gentile, an older family run establishment next to the main piazza.
The tour company that organized our tour provided a very convenient shuttle bus to get us from Pompeii directly to Bomerano and then, four days later, transported us back to Naples. It was much easier to let an experienced Italian driver maneuver over the endless switchback between Bomerano and Naples.
We looked out our window on our first morning in Bomerano to see several hikers head for the paths that started right next to our hotel. We found out they were headed for the Walk of the Gods, which we were to tackle the third day. Our destination our first day, estimated at just 3 hours walking, was to Marina del Praia, far down the hills below us, on the Sentiore dell’Agave Fiore, (The Flowering Agave Walk).
After a good breakfast at our hotel, we bought a freshly made sandwich from the local deli-bakery for a picnic lunch and set out on the designated path. Our instructions were good and the path was relatively well marked, so we had little trouble. The view of the hills behind us and the coast below us were as good as advertised. The surprise was that we virtually had the path to ourselves. We met another person only very occasionally. The route took us on a side loop through Furore, another small town much closer to the sea. From there we headed back uphill to avoid a steep canyon between the hills, ending in the town of Praiano, where we found a shaded park bench to eat our lunch. Fortified, we made it the rest of the way to the Marina Praia, where several people were sunning and swimming from the small beach at the end of a narrow cove.
Our instructions were to take the bus to Amalfi town, the transportation hub, and get a connecting bus back to Bomerano. That is when we learned the ins and outs of taking the public bus. We found out you can’t buy a ticket on the bus. You ride to Amalfi and find a ticket seller in the crowded piazza where all the buses depart. From him, you try to find out where and when the bus to Bomerano would be leaving, pay for the trip you just finished, and buy another ticket to Bomerano. Then you determine if there is time to take in the sights of Amalfi Town before you board the next bus. The first day we seemed to get conflicting times for the Bomerano bus departure and ended up spending too much time walking around town and missed the bus. A gelato while we waited for the next bus made the extra wait time much more pleasant. We also learned that it is a good idea to get to the bus early. The Italians don’t bother with an orderly lineup for the bus. There are more passengers waiting for the bus than seats available so it is every person for their self. Usually, I got on the bus first, while Ray politely held back, knowing he would end up with a seat saved for him by me.
Our second walk, called the Mill Valley-Ravello walk, actually started in Amalfi Town, so we took the bus from the piazza in front of our hotel to Amalfi. The first section started straight up the main street of Amalfi in front of the Duomo, heading up a set of stairs past all the houses and into woods beside a running stream. There weren’t many other hikers on the trail. Driving to Amalfi, we had seen standing bundles of narrow logs, by the side of the road in several places. They are used on all the terraced orchards and vineyards, including the lemon terraces that covered the hillsides next to our route.
We entered the woods and the Valley of the Mills. There is a good Museum of paper in town but we were not stopping to see it. As we walked we passed ruins of paper mills and of an old aqueduct that once provided the town with water. We stopped at the top of the valley, where there is an old Ferriera, once an ironworks factory.
A short distance further a sign identified we were on the Sentiero Guistino Fortunato, a trail named after a local historian, politician and avid walker. In less than an hour we were in the small town of Pontone, a good place for a break. From there until our next destination, Ravello, we followed the directions, partially along a road and more often, climbing stairs that eliminated the switchbacks on the road that cars were obliged to navigate. Ravello was one of the prettiest towns in the area, with old churches and villas to visit, very popular with tour groups.
From Ravello it was mostly downhill on stairs leading to Atrani on the coast. The route out of town was through narrow streets and stairs with close packed houses on either side and along the cliffs above the sea to return to Amalfi, where we got the bus back to Bomerano.
The next day we were going to do the famous Sentiero degli Dei (Walk of Gods). There were three routes suggested to get from Bomerano to Positano. The first route involved 1700 stairs at the end of the walk. The second route had just 700 stairs at the end of the walk but lasted ½ hour longer. The third route avoided the long stairs at the end of the walk by stopping in Nocello, where a convenient bus went straight to Positano.
We chose the third and It was our easiest walk yet. The views from the hills to the coast were spectacular as usual and the day was sunny and warm. One section of the trail followed a narrow trail right on the edge of a cliff. We heard the tinkle of bells. A large herd of goats were munching bushes on either side of the path, overlooked by a shepherd. We passed the herd easily. We had been taking turns passing one other couple on the trail. We all stopped to speak to a local man gathering herbs growing beside the trail. He was harvesting two kinds of Anise seeds, one good for tea, the other to make an alcoholic drink, such as pastis.
The bus stop was in a car park on the north side of Nocello. We reached
the car park just after the 11 AM bus had left and the next bus wasn’t
until after the bus driver’s lunch time break at 12:50. Since we had
decided we weren’t taking the stairs, we just ate our picnic lunch and
chatted to several others waiting for the bus. It was time to just take
a break and relax. The bus finally arrived, we made it to Positano. We
were soon on a bus to Amalfi and from Amalfi, another bus back to
Bomerano, where we celebrated the end of our hiking with a gelato and a
beer at the bakery.
The next day we got a shuttle back to Naples for one night before taking a bus to Apulia to start a one week bicycle tour.
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