The Circuit Hike

The next day was our day off and Brandi and I decided to take a 45 minute circuit hike around Positano. We left the apartment at about 9 AM and stopped at the coffee shop for a cup of cappuccino and a pastry (for energy?) and then headed down to the beachfront.

I had purchased the Sunflower Landscapes book “Sorrento– Amalfi—Capri” by Julian Tippet which described the walk as “a moderate hike.” Craig and I had maintained a section of the Appalachian Trail when we lived in Virginia and we did a lot of hiking.  I was looking forward to exploring the outdoors in Italy. The circuit hike sounded like a good one with which to start.  Eventually I wanted to tackle the Sentiero degli Dei (Walk of the Gods) which is supposed to be a spectacular hike along the mountain ridges.

We started with what promised to be an easy path to Fornillo beach, adjacent to the main beach at Positano and guarded by two ancient stone towers.  We followed paved stones set in the sand past the quiet beach, sea canoes that you can rent, and a beachside bar.  We located the steps leading up the hill and started ascending, and ascending, (whew!) and ascending! The guide book said “Ascend these until you reach Fornillo church.”  It failed to mention that the church was a long, long way up. Every time we got to what we thought was the top, the stairs turned the corner an continued to climb towards the sky. I think we climbed at least 2,000 steps (if that’s a “moderate” hike according to my guide book, I can’t imagine what a strenuous one would be!)  It took us two hours and when we reached the top we were drenched with perspiration.

As we walked along the paved street past shops in the upper village, a young Italian man emerged from a beauty salon with two brochures which he handed to us. He looked concerned as he examined our bright red faces and pantomimed that we could use the brochures as fans to cool ourselves.

Grazie,” we smiled and accepted the brochures with a nod of thanks. Exhausted, we stopped at a sidewalk café overlooking Positano and after ordering large bottles of ice cold acqua naturale, we shared pasta with a clam sauce

The view of the sea was beautiful from the top of the hill, but we were glad when we were able to walk on a road that curved down the hill. On the way we passed a small grocery store, where I purchased a bottle of the local white wine, Falanghina, to take back to the apartment.  When we reached the village center, Brandi wanted to stop at the news stand to look for paperback Italian pastry cookbooks which she had heard that they carried.

That evening, over a glass of the chilled wine, we agreed it had been a great walk and spent a couple of hours translating some of the recipes in Brandi’s cookbooks and reviewing cooking terms.

I was looking forward to a good night’s sleep and had just drifted off when David started pounding on my bedroom door.

“Marcia, come quick,” he urged.  “It’s an emergency!”

I swung my feet over the side of the bed and splashed them into a wet puddle. The apartment was flooded! David had been doing laundry when the washer hose that sends water out of the machine had come loose from the wall.  The hose gyrated like a snake spewing water into the bathroom and down the hall. David, Brandi and I grabbed available bath towels, sopped up the water and wrung them out in the bathroom sink, slipping and sliding on the wet towels as we did so.  It took us an hour to clean up the mess.

“If only we had some duct tape,” I said.  “We could secure the hose to the pipe in the wall.”

“Kirsten brought everything in the world with her in two 100 lb bags, and I think she actually has some duct tape.” replied Brandi.  “It’s a shame she’s in Ravello.  Even if we had a car so we could go get it, the gas prices are £1.43 liter!”

Our neighbor, Paulo, is our landlord, so I went next door to tell him what had happened.

“I call the repair man in the morning,” he promised.

The next evening, it took us 10 loads of wash to get the towels clean again! The washer was very, very small and vibrated wildly during the spin cycle.  There were towels drying all over the front lawn on porch railings, clothes lines & drying racks.


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