I found a nearby staircase to trigger my PTSD and now the experience is nothing but fresh in my mind. So I figure it’s about time I talked about this.
Also. Why does this title sound like some clickbait youtube vlog??
How did I get lost for 6hours in the Italian Wilderness?? I’m still not 100% sure myself. I was even embarrassed that this happened to me – how could so many people easily do this well-known hike without any trouble, but the day I decide to go out by myself it all goes wrong?
? But let’s start from the beginning.
The Path of The Gods can start and finish where you want it to. It’s a 2-3hour long hike between Positano and Bomerano. It trails along the cliffside offering some of Amalfi’s most unparalleled views. One direction goes mostly uphill, the other goes mostly down – so you can imagine which is the most popular. I had read whilst researching that it’s advised not to do the hike alone, but I wasn’t worried. It’s such a well-known walk that I wasn’t going to let warning stop me from having this experience.
I was travelling solo – that’s what I do – I’ve done it before.
Because I was staying in Positano, I wanted the walk to end there (
it was also the downhill direction). To avoid the heat of midday I opted to do the hike in the afternoon which would;
a) allow me more time to get the bus there, and;
b) would give me a picture-perfect sunset over Positano on the way down ☀️
? Getting to Bomerano;
I jumped onto a bus and headed to Amalfi. The bus took an hour, and once I was there I wandered around the beachfront and shops to kill some time.
For my first bus from Positano > Amalfi I’d just bought the ticket onboard, but after I saw a few people already waiting with them in hand I knew it might be better to go and buy one. Someone pointed me towards the nearby TISAK, which was basically just a newsagency. It seemed like a good time to invest in some more water for the hike, so while I waited in line, a man quickly ran up to me and asked if I wanted some bus tickets he wasn’t going to use. The encounter was so fast that I wasn’t actually sure what was happening, but I ended up with his two €1.30 bus tickets and my water.
I eventually headed onto the next bus up to Bomerano, which also took an hour. I used my last €2 bus ticket to get up there, and from there I just followed the road towards the trail head. Note: Bomerano had two different bus stops so I made sure to get off at Agerola.
? Starting the hike;
There were a few signs around for the walk, but if I hadn’t researched it earlier I think it would’ve been pretty hard to find. I wandered over a bridge and down the road, and eventually it began to look more and more like a bushwalk. I passed one couple talking about how great of a walk that was – although I wasn’t to know which trail they’d just done. They didn’t look like they’d just hiked all the way up from Positano. It was easily 30+ degrees and they weren’t sweating in the slightest.
I kept walking, and eventually some stairs led down to the cliffside trail that I recognised from the pictures. I slipped on the last marble step, but I caught myself, and three boys turned to my attention. We laughed about how that wouldn’t have been a great way to start my hike. I noticed they were Aussie, but we didn’t speak after that. I did think how cool it could have been to have just made new friends then and there. Me and my new mates hiking down to Positano for a couple hours, and why not a few bevvies afterwards? But they were clearly walking in the opposite direction to me. So I never saw them again.
The next hour or so of walking had some of the most amazing views I’d seen since arriving in Italy. I couldn’t help but stop and take photos at almost every corner. There were buildings carved into the cliff sides, and rows and rows of what I guessed were grapevines below me. These types of views were the entire reason I’d wanted to do this hike for so long. It was exceeding every expectation I could ever have! ?
I eventually reached a clearing, and I could see all the way down over Positano. It was one of the most amazing views I’d ever seen.
This is exactly what I hike for.
Another couple walked past. They had come from a different direction than I’d expected, almost in the wrong direction? But I just figured that the trail must loop around. There wasn’t really any other way to go, so after taking a couple more photos that’s the way I went.
? Where it all starts to go…. wrong;
I knew the direction was wrong, Positano was the other way, but as I had assumed, the trail did turn around – but it was taking a lot longer than expected. The walk was only supposed to take 2-3hours, but it had already been about that and I didn’t appear to be getting any closer.
The trail was marked by red spray paint, so at least by following that I knew I wasn’t lost. But in reality, I really really was. The trail kept leading me in directions that had me physically crawling on my knees up rock faces.
But the spray paint was still there.
I knew I was lost, but I’d climbed so far up that it was the only direction I could go now. I just chose to follow the spray paint until it led me somewhere. Which I hoped it would soon.
When I checked Google Maps my reception was in and out. The little blue dot that was me, was in the middle of nowhere. Or nowhere that Google knew of. It was just a whole lot of green, and a whole lot of nothing. I could see where the trail was meant to be, and I definitely wasn’t on it – so what trail was I on? Where was this spray paint leading to??
I was already exhausted from climbing. I was sweating, I was covered in dust and dirt, and was starving. I started to cry, but was also telling myself not to panic.
Sure I was lost alone in Italy, with about one person who knew where I was – but what’s the worst that could happen? In my mind, I thought I’d be sleeping in the bush tonight. Everyone at home that I’d told about this hike was fast asleep, how long would it be before anyone noticed I was missing? Surely in reality it could even be weeks. I travel solo all the time with nothing but a few Instagram stories to show that I’m alive and well. Obviously people would notice I’d dropped off the radar, but they wouldn’t assume the worst. They’d just think I was off enjoying myself. Alright, guess I’ll die
I eventually found reception and got straight onto Messenger. Now not to put you on the spotlight Reece, but you’re suggestion to chill out and use Google Maps wasn’t really what I needed to hear ?
Kaitlen, a new friend that I’d just met in Croatia, stayed by her phone for the rest of this ordeal – she even tried to contact my hostel to try and get me some help (
they never responded to this). She searched for taxis, ubers, you name it – she did it. She is an absolute QUEEN.
The trail started to become more and more covered in Donkey droppings, so from that I could at least assume I was near something. A farm? A house? Some form of civilisation at least – it had been way too long since I’d seen a person.
I eventually spotted a road, and from there Google said it was an hours walk back to the Bomerano bus stop. The last bus back to Amalfi was in about 45minutes, so I ran. I ran the whole way back, still crying, and stopping every time a car passed because I’m socially awkward like that. A few of the cars that passed were full of men that slowed down at my side. It was intimidating, but with every car that passed (about 3) I considered trying to ask for a lift. I passed lots of farm houses in a town that almost seemed deserted. I knew that the passing cars could see I didn’t belong. I bet they knew I was lost.
I made it back to the bus stop in time, but I didn’t have any other €2 bus tickets. I hoped that whatever bus driver turned up would just let me use both of my €1.30 bus tickets. There were no shops around, and definitely no TISAK.
You know what else wasn’t around? The bus. It never came.
I got back onto google maps and it said my best option was to walk a further 45minutes down the cliff side to the main road. Perfect. What was even better was the fact that at the end of the route, it just ended, and had a dotted line to my destination. What does that even mean? Would I get to the end of the route and just be stranded? It was so close to the main road, but it didn’t quite get there. But that was my only option.
Of course because I’d wanted to catch the sunset it was now almost dark out. The pathway consisted of only stairs, and winded around the local houses all the way down the cliffside. It was obvious that no one had taken this path in a long time. The trees were overgrown and hung over the path (which blocked out any sunlight). The stairs were covered in dirt and leaves. It was almost like bushwhacking over man-made grounds.
It was so dark that at this point I was running and jumping down the stairs. I had my phone torch on, and a whole lot of thanks that I’d packed my portable charger. It had been about 5 hours now. I could seen the ocean, but it was still so far away.
As I ran a snake fell out of one of the overhanging trees. It landed on the step in front of me.
I jumped over it and kept running. Just what I needed right now.
I was crying so much that I couldn’t see where I was running. I forced myself to stop because I was already so worried about slipping down the marble steps.
As I winded past some of the local houses I could see a few dogs. They at least cheered me up a bit to see – OH WAIT, that was until they started growling and barking at me so much that I was actually terrified. That little chicken wired fence seemed to be keeping them from tearing me to shreds. Love that for me.
It was pitch black now. But I was making good time.
I’d officially reached the part of the path where google maps stopped. I could see the main road – it was just down a nice 100metre cliff face. So that wasn’t an option. The staircase I was on kept going, further and further around the cliffside into the bush and darkness. Guess I’ll go that way.
No toilets out here? Shocked.
When I started to see street lights ahead I could almost cry with happiness. To my surprise the trail had come out beside the famous Fiordo di Furore. I’d always wanted to visit here. Of course, not quite like this.
I followed the main road up towards the hotel where I thought the bus departed from. I went up to the desk to check that this bus actually existed. I could see that the woman knew I’d been crying, my face was stinging at this point. She told me I had to walk back down to the Fiordo di Furore bridge and wait. Although my search had told me the bus was in about 45minutes, she’d told me there wasn’t another for an hour or so. She suggested I grab something to eat at the restaurant, but I decided to go back to the bridge – and lucky I did, because she was wrong.
I sat in darkness on the bridge and waited for the bus. I couldn’t help but be envious of every person that passed me on a scooter. I thought of every time I’d considered hiring one.
The bus turned up right on time, and after 45minutes of waiting I was safe and sound. I’d never been so happy to be stuck on a coach. And what was even better was the fact that this bus was heading straight to Positano. I was going home.
30,000 steps later, and 164 floors climbed I was finally sitting down. (note that I said 164 climbed, that’s not including all of the stairs that I ran down).
And not only that, the bus was just a €1.30 ticket.
If that man had never run into me earlier, I’d never have gotten this far. I’d be walking the 12km home.
It was about 11pm by the time I got home, and what better way to end a night like this with a few drinks down at the local nightclub? Sure I’d have to walk all the way back down to Positano Beach and back but it was better than going to bed upset??!
I hope you never have to know how sore my legs were for the following week!