When we are feeling energetic we walk down to Amalfi rather than catching the bus, Dan gets less travel sick this way too. Although we are only about 2 km away on the map, we walk about 7km because the path is very steep and full of switchbacks. The path has over 2000 steps! It is part of an old network that connected the villages before the roads where built. What must have once been bustling paths are now slowly being taken over by brambles and we rarely see any body else. We wander through lemon groves, under steep cliffs, shrines and Madonnas, past prickly pear cacti, fig, pomegranate, olive and walnut trees, past houses that have beautiful gardens with fantastic flowers. There are amazing views out to sea and postcard views down to Amalfi. It is a walk that seems to be different every time. Today we did it in a deluge that turned the steps into a gushing waterfall!
Occasionally we walk back up them! Dan ran up them once in 49 minutes and 6 seconds! Georgie has yet to try for a speed record!
Over the next few posts we will be taking you with us to all the places we visit. Around the Agerola plain, through hillside villages and towns, in to a national park and on to an island. We will start with where we live…
We live in a little village called San Lazzaro, Agerola. Situated 660 meters above sea level and about 1 kilometre inland means we have fabulous views out to sea. From the Castello Lauritano at the end of the road, you can see down to Amalfi and all along the coast, past Maiori and over to Salerno. Here the endless horizon stretches out before us, which is very different from the mountains we are used to. Built above the village and dominating the surrounding landscape is the ruins of the Colonia Montana. It is a shell of a building left over from fascist times. A beautiful shady park has been built around it. The sculptures by Pellini are still intact. The other day we (along with the rest of the village) watched a forest fire raze the hillside below. It took two sea planes and a helicopter a few hours and lots of dumps of sea water to put the fire out.
We stay on an agriturismo, one of many in the area, which is a working farm with noisy farmyard animals, no need for an alarm clock here thanks to Mr Rooster! The produce grown here is used in the kitchen, making all of the meals amazingly tasty and fresh. We eat Italian style with carbohydrate first (pasta mostly, sometimes risotto) then the protein course (meat or cheese with salad and/or veggies) then pudding is often fruit but sometimes cake. We often get cake for breakfast!!
The last week in Chamonix proved to be very busy but we still managed to squeeze in one last climb. Dan left for Italy a few days earlier than Georgie. On his last day he noticed that the leaves on the maples had already started to turn. Georgie finished off the packing and stole a few French moments; coffee and croissants for breakfast and wondering around Chamonix market.
We are now both safely in San Lazzaro on the Amalfi coast in southern Italy! There is a horizon! There has been no rain for 2 months! The farmers are saying this is good for grapes but not other crops! Although the heat to us feels like summer its actually the beginning of autumn. The tomatoes are being harvested and dried, the maize that Dan helped to plant when we were here in the spring has been harvested! The food is really tasty and the chilled fizzy vino rosso is very refreshing! We are here for 2 months, to soak up some sunshine before a cold Chamonix winter.