For the past 5 days our group of 10 travelers and 2 guides have been staying overnight in very nice hotels and then spending our days walking on various hilly roads and trails and paths along the Amalfi coast just south and west of Naples. Every second day, a van appears and takes us to another town and then off we go to explore some more.
In addition to Dick and Dottie and us, we have dramatic Dallyce and ironic Mac from Toronto, tall and laughing Diane and gentle giant Mike from Atlanta, sensitive Simon and exuberant Gayle from Queensland Australia and frequent Country Walkers informed and singing Eunice and calm and organized Kim.
Walking as we do for 4-6 hours per day and sharing almost all our meals, we have had the opportunity to get to know each other pretty well and we are a good group. Good in the sense that we can all get ready to go at the same time and we all can engage in interesting conversation.
Our guides are Alexandra, who is Italian but currently lives in Paris with her two small children, and Constantino, who was born on the isle of Capri (pronounced CA-pree, following the Italian rule of putting the accent on the second to last syllable) and who still lives there when he is not off guiding somewhere else.
Alexandra and Constantino are very, very good guides. They have found many wild places where we walk and rarely see other travelers. And they have taken us through the torturous, steep and narrow streets of various villages to show us their special places. They both have deep knowledge about this part of Italy. They have in their minds the places where they plan to have us stop and tell us about this view or that villa or the ruin over there, or why we came down into the crypt of this church.
But we have found that they have sensible things to say about almost anything we ask about. As one example, on Capri, during a city walk, when asked about why from a hundred years ago Capri was such a center for gay and lesbian intellectuals Constantino said that he thought that the isolation of the area and the fact that these European visitors had a lot of money lead to general acceptance and then he gave us a short survey from Oscar Wilde’s presence and struggles here to the recent sale of Gore Vidal’s villa on the Almafi coast.