Sunday, 12 June 2011

A hike on the Amalfi Coast and farewell to Italy

The view from the little restaurant we ate at. Great ravioli!

Just one of the amazing views along the trail.

Sentiero Degli Dei.

It was about 5 km each way wrapping around the cliffs, overlooking small towns, vineyards, and various rock formations. The path of the gods did not disappoint (the Amalfi coast rarely does). We left the house at about 8 AM and met up with a few friends. About an hour or so later we were at our starting place, Bomerano. No problem parking and we were pretty much at the trail head. I am glad we did this now and not mid July or August. It was probably about 80 F but the hike is strenuous enough that we were all soaked through from sweat. You pretty much have to stop to look around. If you try to look and walk you will likely trip or slip on the loose rock and tons of steps. Beautiful all around though. We stopped in Nocelle for lunch at a trattoria that was right on the cliff overlooking Positano. Simple menu. Very good. Then the hike back the way we came. Definitely more up hill. Total altitude went from about 1600 ft to about 2100 ft. Up and down; up and up; down and up... Big hills like my parents "mountains." The return hike was late enough that the sun hit some of the cliffs different and we could see the stuff that our back was to in the morning. We finally got back to Bomerano at about 3:30 and rewarded ourselves with gelato.

Two years living over seas. What an amazing opportunity. Anyone that gets the opportunity should jump all over it. International travel is expensive but hopefully we have given enough tips in this blog to save some money and make it more affordable.
Two years ago when I stepped of my boat I told someone "Now I need to and get to reconnect with my family." There is always more you can do but, I think I did, and I hope they think so too.
I should start by saying we really had the best of both worlds. I have a steady job. We lived in the perfect spot for our needs. We had some American conveniences that living out in town wouldn't have provided. And most importantly we LIVED here. Flights or trains from Naples were cheap, convenient, and plentiful.
We were concerned when we first got here about living on base and getting stuck in Little America. 15 different countries. All over Italy. Four trips to Germany. A couple trips to Greece. We averaged getting out of Italy once a month. I think we did a good job not getting stuck behind the gate.
You learn a lot being displaced from your own country. Obviously there are great history lessons that take on more meaning and occupy a larger part of your memory when you are in it vice reading about it.
You start to think in terms of 500 to 1000 years. Settling the NE in the 1600's isn't that impressive anymore...
You learn that just because it’s not American doesn't mean it’s bad. Just because it's done in Europe doesn't make it right in itself either.
You can't compare individual European countries' ways of life to the US. At the risk of sounding republican, I can see why there could be a push to transfer more power back to individual states. European countries are all different sizes, have different populations, have different resources available. They are more like states could be. Each country needs to be able to make their own decision based on their population and resources (some of the European countries aren't making wise decisions but this really isn't political). To compare any single European country to the US is like comparing Alaska to Florida.
I still laugh a little when I go to an airport and there is no ramp to the plane. You take a bus from the terminal to the plane. That really makes sense. A small airport like Naples probably does 5 times the business because they didn't need to build huge buildings just so you don't have to go outside.
I am convinced more than ever that Americans in the states are the worst drivers in the world. For 2 years we have driven as fast as we think is safe, stopped at stop signs only if we were going to hit someone else, shared lanes while on the motorcycle, passed even if there was on-coming traffic, and have even driven on the shoulder to make an additional lane when traffic backs up. No accidents. Why? Because God gave us all two wonderful tools to keep us safe. EYES.
We need smart engineers to design and build useable public transportation. All those trips and we only rented a car three times.
I am looking forward to being able to go to an Autozone. It won't take long for us to go out to dinner to have an American burger. American beef is great. The Germans still do pork better though. I never thought I'd say I'm looking forward to a company (cable, phone, etc.) saying we'll be there between 8 and 12, but at least they mean it and chances are they are going to look to fix the real problem not just try to "make it work."
We've made some incredible friendships here. People I'm sure we will keep in touch with for years to come. I will miss Saturday nights at the neighbors. I know Carey will miss going to the markets and trips to Vietri with the ladies.
Finally, everyone will ask, "What was your favorite trip?" All of them. That sounds like a cop out but each was unique. Our definition of interesting and fun changed the more we traveled. Churches and museums were great when we first got here. Sitting on the beach in Santorini was just as great an experience two years later. We leave with fond memories and a desire to come back. You can't ask for more.
The Stacks

1 comment:

  1. Dad & I are so happy that you and your family had this incredible opportunity to enjoy living in Italy. I cried while reading your final post but know that you all have such great memories that will last a lifetime. We love you all and are so proud of each of you. Love, Mom & Dad