Tales from Positano: The Path of the Gods

A few weeks ago, I started publishing a series of short stories from my recent trip to Positano.

Today I’ll be telling you Part III: The Path of the Gods. If this is your first time reading a Tale from Positano, I recommend that you start with Part I and Part II first, as I’ve introduced some of the characters there. All of these stories are true, based on my own personal experience, although I’ve changed many people’s names in order to protect their privacy.

As I said last week, I’m still not quite sure why I felt so moved by the people and experiences I had in Positano. The only theory I can think of is that perhaps travelling and seeing new places reopens our senses, making us more vulnerable and more aware of our surroundings.

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After all, how many times have you found yourself arriving at work and then thinking “I don’t even remember what I saw on my way here.” We take the same roads, follow in the same footsteps everyday, thinking about all the things we have to do that day. We don’t even look up once to stop and be aware of our surroundings. And then suddenly when we change paths, our eyes open again and we notice places and people we’ve never seen before.

That’s kinds of what Positano did for me. It forced me off my normal weekend routine in Bologna and made me open my eyes again. And what I saw was pretty amazing…

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Tales from Positano
Part III: Path of the Gods

As it was my first time travelling to the Amalfi Coast, I had never heard of Il Sentiero degli Dei, or “The Path of the Gods”. Nevertheless, I love hiking and when Patricia and David said they were going to save this “sacred” hike for me, it wasn’t hard for me to say yes.

We started in Bomerano – a small town located inland of Amalfi in the province of Agerola. The first part of the hike was in a very rugged area. You could see the wild herbs and fauna growing on the rocky cliff sides and the smell of thyme and rosemary was everywhere. At one point the smell of thyme was so strong that I had to stop and touch a nearby thyme bush (Side note: I love thyme. I love the smell of thyme so much that I even have a thyme-infused perfume! I’m not really sure how the locals use thyme, but I do remember that my good friend Raff, who is from a small town near Naples, uses it in his delicious Rapini Pie, which I posted a recipe for here: Raff’s Cime di Rapa Pie. YUM!)

I was amazed by the fact that this stuff was just growing in the wild. Nobody planted it there. It was just there, for everyone to enjoy. I nearly took a few sprigs but then thought twice about it, since I knew it probably wouldn’t last all the way back to Bologna.

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At one point as we were walking along, we started to hear what sounded like a chorus of cowbells. As I started to look ahead searching for the source of the clanking bells,  a rather precarious black dog appeared. Eyes wild and glazed over, this was not the sort of dog that you wanted to pet. My heart started beating a little faster as I was brought back to my childhood days when I used to be terrified of dogs due to several traumatic incidents with a 2 pound Mexican Hairless.

Just as I was ready to make a run for it, I realized where the cowbell chorus was coming from: a small herd of goats.

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GOATS! Little, short stubby goats with cowbells attached to them! They were just walking along, grazing on all the wild plants, following their wild canine leader, who I must say was doing a rather good job or protecting them. Some of them even started to yell out, which of course I found hilarious because I couldn’t help but thinking about this “Goats Yelling Like Humans” Youtube video which went viral a few months back. If you’ve never seen it, then you really should take a break from reading this story and watch it now so you can get the full of effect of these Amalfi coast goats. They really sound like humans!

It wasn’t long before we reached the true coastline, where aqua blue water stretched out for endless miles meeting the mountainous coastline that was visible all the way to the island of Capri (by the way, capre is the Italian word for “goats”, which perhaps explains the herd of goats…). It was hard to not stop and take pictures because every couple of minutes because everytime we would go around another corner, there was a new breathtaking view.

Despite the fact that we were hiking for hours, it somehow never got old. I kept thinking, “What if I just moved here? Would I get bored of all this beauty?”. I’m still tempted to pack up from Bologna and head south, but I’m not so sure that I’d want to make such a paradise my home for fear that it would become mundane.

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Even though it was November, it was warm and we passed a good amount of people hiking along the trail. Every time we approached someone new, I couldn’t help but wonder where they were from. I would try to guess in my mind beforehand and then when saying “Buon giorno!” or “hello!”, I would listen for the accent of their response. Some sounded German, others British. Of course the two that I could easily recognize were Americans and Italians. It seemed that everyone, from all over the world came to visit this little piece of heaven.

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By the time we reached the town of Nocelle, it was nearly 3:00pm and we hadn’t had lunch yet. After getting a bit lost (which I don’t know how that even happened seeing as though we were in such a small town) and having to climb up a billion stairs, we finally found what seemed like the only restaurant in Nocelle. I thought that they would refuse to serve us, seeing as we were clearly past normal lunch hours, but the waiter told us it was no problem and we got to choose the best table in the restaurant since nobody else was there. We sat near the window, overlooking the dazzling blue water that stretched out endlessly.

After our long hike, my stomach was screaming for a huge plate of pasta, an unsual craving for me as I simply can’t get used to eating pasta for lunch everyday like most Italians. I ordered the Gnocchi alla Sorrentina – potato dumplings with fresh tomato sauce and basil. Usually it’s served wiht mozzarella cheese, but here they used a smoked Scamorza cheese instead. Needless to say, I ate the WHOLE thing, sopping up all the extra sauce with a huge hunk of bread.

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The rest of our hike was even more of an adventure, but seeing as this post is already pretty long, you’ll have to wait for that Tale next Friday (***spoiler alert***: there are more animals and more getting lost…).

A presto amici!

Read more Tales from Positano:
Part I: The Driver
Part II: The Waiter

6 comments on “Tales from Positano: The Path of the Gods

  1. That was great Sarah, love the pictures and the reference to the goats, hilarious. I have to see this next time I’m in Italy. Are there any goats in Bologna?