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Published: April 9th 2013
Today started a little earlier. Lots earlier in fact. Breakfast was on the hotel's outside terrace, looking out over the Gulf of Salerno. Pretty spectacular setting. After a walk of a few minutes down the hill, you can catch a bus up to Montepertuso and Nocelle. The alternative is to take steps up to Montepertuso and then a 20 minute gentle hike over to Nocelle, where you access the Footpath of the Gods. Or so I am told. The bus seemed like a better idea.
Forget Richard Petty, forget Dale Earnhardt Jr., forget Jimmy Johnson. These bus drivers are hands down the best drivers in the world. Several times a day, they wrestle these buses up twisting mountain roads that are AT NO TIME wider than half the width of the bus. With parked cars on the sides. And two way traffic. And sheer drop-offs on the sides. I kept expecting to be asked to move to the inland side of the bus to take the weight off the outside wheels which were unquestionably dangling in space.
Nocelle is a tiny village at the end of the road, built into hillside below the bus stop, and entirely invisible from
it. At the end of the stop is a sign pointing to what we thought to be the Footpath oF the Gods. A nice British couple was also going to take the walk, and were starting down. Seeing no obvious alternative to consider, we started with them. Down hundreds of steps of irregular rise and spacing. Thousands of steps. We started at about 1500 feet elevation, and were about halfway down to the sea when it simultaneously occurred to all of us that this was not right. The British woman then observed that she had read that there were steps down to the beach, and that to get onto the Footpath, you first started up some steps. I very nearly re-lived the Boston Tea Party with her as a barrel of tea. Men throughout their history have had to choose to ascend to the gods or take a lower path. We had chosen unwisely, with the usual result that accompanies that decision. There have been many unlearned lessons in my life, but one that has remained crystal clear is that unless you have done some significant advance planning, when you go down thousands of steps you must perforce go back
up them. Even if there are thousands. And the pulled hip flexor you suffered going down hurts.
Arriving back at Nocelle, we had to wait about an hour for the bus, as clouds/fog swirled in from over the ocean, covering up the mountains standing grandly above us. It got pretty cool, particularly with all that sweat.
Tonight, I hope to discover a restaurant that is not averse to the strong smell of liniment, and pursue the drinking of some necessary medicinals, probably a local variety.
Tomorrow: knee replacement surgery
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