20.05.2014 - 20.05.2014 74 °F
This morning, we're catching bus to Bomerano in Agerola, the trailhead for the Path of the Gods, an old path that threads the ridge between Bomerano and Nocelle.
First order of business is the to catch the bus. Amalfi is the central bus hub for the area, with a large bus plaza. There's a secret code here that we've yet to break. We know what time our bus is supposed to leave, but non of the many buses waiting here have their destination displayed. We ask the various folks in uniform to tell us which is the bus to Bomerano, but can't get a straight answer. Finally, at the last possible moment before closing its doors, one of the buses puts "Ageroloa" up on the destination board, but by that time the bus is packed with people who have been initiated in the secret lore of deciphering buses. We barely squeeze on, and the bus starts heading up through the switchbacks to Bomerano.
Alighting at Bomerano, it's easy to find the trail head. Just follow the people with backpacks and walking sticks. We stop at a small store and the proprietor is happy to fix us up with a picnic lunch and a few bottles of water.
The entrance to the trail is pretty well marked, and the views are simply staggeringly beautiful.
The trail is well maintained and pretty manageable. There are rough cut steps in some spots, and some uneven footing and loose stone in others, but it's not a difficult ascent. It is pretty exposed though, so we're glad we held out for clear weather.
We reach the saddle of Colle della Serra, which is where you make a choice of taking the "upper" or "lower" path. We decide on the upper path, and are immediately rewarded by meeting a goat herd bringing his flock down, under the eye of his watchful shepherd dog.
See those tourists in the above photo? They're a German man and two women who are hiking the trail together. I confess, we become a little annoyed, as they're monopolizing a prime spot for viewing Positano from the trail, and give no indication of moving anytime soon. They'll figure back into this story very shortly.
While we'd like to linger, the trio is still hogging up the overlook, so we decide to trek a little further down path to a shady spot to tuck into the delicious paninis we purchased in Bomerano. As we sit in the shade, munching our lunch, we suddenly see the German man from the overlook come running down the trail. He doesn't say a word as he blazes past us. We don't see either of his companions. A short time later, a young hiker comes down the trail in the same direction. He speaks English, and we tell him about the runner, and ask if something had happened back up the trail. He tells us that one of the women in the trio has dislocated her knee, and that her husband is running to Nocelle to get help.
We had the foresight to purchase an Italian SIM card for our cell phone before the trip, so I dial for help. Although I know Italian pretty well, it's difficult to communicate the exact circumstances to the emergency personnel, since I haven't studied the Italian for "dislocated", or "knee", or "trail marker", but I eventually make myself understood. I'm told that an emergency team will be dispatched from Nocelle, but it may take some time to get there.
We backtrack up the trail to find the injured party, and we do find her and her companion not far from the Positano overlook. Her leg and knee is horribly swollen, and she is lying in the full sun, but she simply can't be moved. They speak a little English, and I let them know that emergency services are on the way, and offer them water and provisions. the assure me they are alright, and that we should continue on our way. Reluctantly, we head back down the trail, but this incident has taken the enjoyment out of our walk, as all we can think about is that poor woman in agony.
As we descend toward Nocelle, we meet the exhausted husband, making his way back up. We let him know that help is on the way..he lets us know that he met a trail guide who had promised to send help from Nocelle.
A bit further along, we run into the emergency crew, carrying a stretcher. They are proceeding at a pretty leisurely pace. We stop and explain to them where the injured party can be found, and inquire as to how they will get her down the trail on a stretcher. They laugh, and explain that they will need to have a helicopter fly in to extract her from the trail, and that this is the second injury they've needed to do that for this week.
As we finally arrive in Nocelle, we spot the Kiosk of the Path of the Gods, which is a place to get refreshments...
...and the helicopter, on its way to extract the injured woman from the trail. All told, I believe she must have been lying there for at least 90 minutes.
Now that we've reached Nocelle, we stop at a small bar for a quick snack and some fresh water. The proprietor offers to sell us tickets for the bus to Positano. The time spent assisting the injured woman has put us in a time crunch to catch the evening ferry from Positano, so although we had planned on walking the stairs down to Positano, we decide it would be more expeditious to take the bus.
We make it to the dock in Positano just as they are letting the last passengers aboard.
If there's anything we've learned today, it's that we should never travel without a good travel insurance package!
Tonight is Taverna di Masaniello's weekly day off, so we eat at Ristorante Al Teatro instead. We're very unimpressed, especially after the wonderful way Andrea and Pietro have been treating us.