I’ve seen countless photos taken from vistas looking down upon the terraced rooftops of brightly colored homes, marching down the steep slopes of mountains and right up to the edge of the sea. This view has always seemed unattainable, and in a way I dismissed these images as something I would never see.
Yesterday Joyce and I sat on the bow of a ferry bound for Capri, and watched as the coastal mountains slipped into the sea. An hour later we were on a bus winding up the hairpin turns on the way to Anacapri. We hiked to the top of Mount Solaro, Capri’s apex, and became lost in the Tyrrhenian Sea. (It seems that the Tyrrhenian is part of the greater Mediterrianian, so I maintain that I jumped into the Mediterranean) It is incredibly soothing looking into the seeming endlessness of the sea, something I have not done in a long while. I had fun imagining that Sicily wasn’t sitting between me and Africa.
We enjoyed our extra hour of sleep, but forgot the sun would not be with us so late into the eve. Though we missed the warmth of the sun, we walked the pebble beach in Amalfi and watched the dynamic, post-golden hour sky. With the air temperature dropping, I clutched two fist-sized stones and did push-ups until I was warm. I clumsily ran across the pebbles and dove into the water. After the initial shock and flailing about, a warmth spread through my body, and I did my best to remain completely still. Floating inches beneath the surface, I listened carefully and was rewarded by the sound of the small wave lifting the thousands of pebbles around me. This was followed by the wonderous sound of the water receding and permitting each of those stones to find a new home. The sound of these stones gently knocking against one another, sent a flood of memories rushing through my mind. This was not a neatly organized timeline of my ocean experiences, but more of a flash-before-your-eyes experience. I kicked off the bottom, resurfaced, and was brought back to equally perfect present.
Dinner was lovely. Joyce and I spent a long while investigating menus, and I treated her to a meal at Marine Garnde. (Joyce is better at talking about food than i am. No pressure)
I fell asleep once again disbelieving that we were in Amalfi.
We awoke at 6:00, put on all the layers we packed and walked to the pier to watch the sunrise. We arrived just in time to see the mountains backlit. The entirety of the sun’s energy seemed to be constrained to the ridge of the mountains and two contrails which streaked across the sky. We sat in the warmth of the wool blankets watching the show and soaking up our last (early) morning on the coast.
With an hour .5 remaining before my scheduled departure, I laced up my running shoes and ran up through the center of the town as fast as my lungs would allow. I found the stairs marked valle delle ferriere – valley of the mills, and ascended into the valley above the town. A short while later I reached the Aquedotto di Amalfi, the site of one of Amalfi’s decommissioned paper mills. Steven and Stephen had told me of their journey there the previous day, and I felt like I was walking through their adventure journal as I grabbed the rusted ladder and descended into the first building. Channels abounded through the structure. It seems that the old mill was in part mechanically powered by the water of the stream running below. I will let pictures tell the rest of the story, but I will say the the light at that time couldn’t have been better. Ruins for breakfast: not a mother-approved adventure.