Sentiero Degli Dei (The Footpath of The Gods)

The following is an excerpt from Ti Amo, a short story about 4 friends who undertook to walk from the beautiful Cathederal Town of Amalfi to the legendary Sorrento, in Italy. The previous day’s attempt had been curtailed when we were driven back by a massive rainstorm, but not before we were given a good dousing, and one of the fabulous four had fallen and cut his knee! Our albergo booking that night was in Positano which was where that leg of the journey ended. Not wanting to miss out on Sentiero Degli Dei, we had pored over our route maps and had decided to walk it in reverse.

We left Hotel Pupetto and walked along the pathway below the cliff, and as we passed the busy marina where many travellers were boarding or disembarking from various ferries, Willem noticed a sign stating that Hotel Pupetto was 200 metres back along the path. It was as if he was reliving his confinement of yesterday, he pointed at the sign and gave me a rueful look! If only he had known about this pathway yesterday!

At Piazza Mulini’s tabac we bought biglietti that would take us on the smaller and by necessity much shorter buses to Nocelle, the end point of Sentiero degli Dei or, for us today, the starting point for our attempt to walk it in reverse. The trip on the shorty bus up the narrow winding road was exciting to say the least, and it was almost a relief to climb off and begin searching for our route. Using our maps and notes, and starting at the end, we quickly found the Sentiero degli Dei.

From way up there with a commanding view of the World one realized why this track was named Footpath of The Gods! The track follows the contours of the mountain, far out almost to the edge of sheer drops, and then enters forested sections, some of which had mountain streams running through them.

We became very snap happy, trying to take the best action shot or simply a shot of one of the ferries out at sea with its trailing wake. I waited for the rest of the troupe in a darkened entrance to a forested section, and as they entered there was a bright blue sky behind them making for a perfect action shot. They ladies posed for photos at a massive cave halfway along the track. Far down below the differing rock formations formed beautiful contrasts and made for cool scenery photos.

Out at sea we were sure we recognized the Maria Madre motoring by and waved, as if they could see us, 800 metres up in the sky! We passed an old abandonded convent, about a 100 metres below us, surrounded by various farms or fattoria. Almost unnoticed the skies had clouded over and as we climbed up to Colle di Serra the heavens opened up forcing us to seek shelter under a massive tree in the driveway of someone’s mountain villa or holiday home.

It soon became obvious that this rain was not going to disappear in a hurry so we had a vote: Carry on to the true end (start) of the Sentiero degli Dei and Bomerano or head down the mountain in what we knew to be Priano’s direction and from there back to Positano. To go back the way we had just come was a no-no as, just as our local from yesterday had warned, we might just end up in al mare! A majority vote had us heading down the mountain into heavy rain clouds and, hopefully, Priano. Willem and Erika magically produced plastic ponchos and an umbrella, Linda and I only had Dry Macs which we draped over our heads and mine also over my backpack which had the maps and a few vitals such as phone chargers etc.

We followed a track of sorts which often disappeared into the bush only to reappear again further on. The rain was incessant and the track became a river and threatened to wash us off our feet and down to Priano. Committed to the descent we had to carry on, a small platoon of drowned rats, soaked to the skin! Skirting lemon orchards, taking a chance on paths that hopefully didn’t lead to nowhere, we eventually approached the upper reaches of Priano and stopped on the rare occasion for shelter where there were arches built between the houses.

Here we only managed temporary respite, standing on steps with the rushing water gnawing at our feet threatening, again to wash us away. We slithered and sloshed our way through the pathways and down steep steps, awash with rain water, running from way up the mountain, until we eventually reached the roads where the cars and the smaller, shorty buses could navigate.

Stepping out onto the road the rain, almost miraculously, stopped! It was as if the Mountain was saying to us “That will teach you to mess with me” “You climba my slopes, you showa me soma respect”! What it also taught me that a Dry Mac is not, in any sense of the word, a raincoat. Soaked to the skin I swore never to wear a Dry Mac again, ever! That downward walk from Colle di Serra to Priano took us a good hour, and I couldn’t help think what would have the weather been like had we continued on to Bomerano, which would have been about 20 or 30 minutes away!

We carried on down hoping to find a bus back to Positano, eventually coming across a bus fermata not far from a smart looking albergo, Hotel Margarita. Not wanting to squelch my way through the albergo we sent Linda inside to buy bus biglietti as the tabac opposite the bus fermata was still closed for siesta. I stood on their rather smart entrance and took off my sopping wet Dry Mac and shirt, squeezing them out into the pot plants.

The receptionist came outside and asked me, to her credit, calmly, if didn’t rather want to use their bagno. Standing there bare chested, I answered her that as I was sopping wet I would rather not mess up their lovely albergo! Looking back at that scene I have to say to myself that “ignorance is, most definitely, bliss”!

Music and lyrics, just as food and flavours should, that remind one of places and people, often trigger a sense of having been there or déjà vu! The words that I remember, and I may be wrong as I often got caught out singing completely the wrong words, of the song that takes me to Naples, go something like this:

Come all who love the sea

Come sail to Napoli

Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia

Elvis Presley sang Santa Lucia, in Italian, on his album Elvis for Everyone!

 

The original was made famous by the even more famous Caruso in the thirties, (yes that’s the 1930s!), I’m sure Mario Lanza and many later such as Bocelli. In Italian it is a most beautiful song and the link below will take to the song on You Tube and hopefully to Italy, if only in spirit. As a taster, the lyrics of the first verse, in Italian are:

Sul mare luccica l’astro d’argento.

Placida è l’onda, prospero è il vento.

Sul mare luccica l’astro d’argento.

Placida è l’onda, prospero è il vento.

Venite all’agile barchetta mia,

Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!

Venite all’agile barchetta mia,

Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!

 

Listen closely to the magnificent manner that Alfie Boe projects every word, you can also follow each word as the lyrics scroll with the singer’s voice!

Below the Link to St Vincent School for The Deaf, see how they are helping the hard of hearing to hear better and enable them to listen!

St Vincent School For The Deaf