Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Italy and Switzerland...Day 6: Hiking from Camogli to San Fruttuoso...

Alternative title:  The day Keri thought she might fall into the Mediteranean Sea.

We woke up on Tuesday ready to hike.  We had breakfast at our hotel, hello chocolate croissants!  We also had focaccia and decided that the onion focaccia is the best.  Which is odd, because I do not like onions at all.  I guess the moral of the story is that I apparently will eat anything when it is baked into a delicious piece of bread.

Moving on...We left our hotel and walked to the other end of town towards the police station, where we picked up the trail.  The first part of the hike is from Camogli to San Rocco and is very will marked.

Trail markers.  The hike we planned on doing would eventually split and we would take the trail with the two dots all the way to San Fruttuoso.

It was going to be a beautiful-warm day, so we started the hike around 8:20 to hopefully beat a little bit of the heat.  Most of the trail on the way to San Rocco is straight up with stairs.

Up we go towards San Rocco!

It was seriously, all stairs.  Ken thought they were an awkward distance for his long legs, but they were perfect for me.

Just before arriving to San Rocco, we passed by the BBQ Lodge.  It was funny because Ken had been talking about craving BBQ for a few days.  If it had not been so early in the morning, we would have stopped for lunch to test out Italian BBQ.  

Soon enough, we arrived in San Rocco.  We actually arrived much faster than I had anticipated.  The hike up had taken us less than 30 minutes.  We climbed a fair amount of elevation in a quick time frame.  We stopped for some pictures and said hello to another couple that was hiking on the trail with us.  I figured they were hiking to San Fruttuoso as well, but they ended up taking the inner trail instead of the coastal trail that we chose. 

The view of Camogli from San Rocco

The view of the coast line was pretty incredible and unlike anything I have seen on a hike before.  

The view in the opposite direction

Ken likes to take pictures of me taking pictures

Loving the hike so far  (favorite capris)

San Fruttuoso bound

Looking back at some of the houses leaving San Rocco.

As I mentioned earlier, there are two trails that take you from San Rocco to San Fruttuoso.  The open-single circle follows and inlet trail with limited coastal scenery and the trail with the two circles is the coastal trail with spectacular sea views.  Obviously, we chose the coastal trail and its views.  I mean, that is why we were hiking in this area.  I had read about there being sections of the trail with chains lining it that were there to help hikers pass.  I quickly discounted it, because we have used chains before on a hike in Switzerland and it was not scary or bothersome at all.  

So, we were on our way to San Fruttuoso via Batterie.  I have to be honest, while we were hiking, I had completely forgotten about the chains until we came upon a section with chains lining the outer edge of the trail and Ken mentioned reading a review of the hike where a lady described only remembering her hands hurting from gripping the chains so tight because she thought she would fall.  

Part of the trail in between San Rocco and San Fruttuoso.  These were the first sets of chains we encountered and I laughed them off.

The water was so beautiful and so blue

As we came upon another section with chains lining the side of trail with a steep drop off below, I told Ken that I was unsure how these chains would cause someone to freak out so badly and think they were going to fall to their death.  This my friends is what we call foreshadowing.  

More chains before Batterie.  I really liked this section of trail because the views were unbelievable.  

All smiles on the hike to San Fruttuoso.  You can see Camogli just above my head.

We saw some very beautiful scenery on the way.

Another trail view that had some chains and stairs.  Again, I was not scared at all.  Plus, look at that blue water!

Headed to Batterie, which we learned housed WW2 bunkers.  How cool is that??

We made it to Batterie and stopped for a quick moment for a snack and some water and were on our way.  So far, we had really enjoyed the hike and found it very easy to follow the trail markers.

Looking back at Batterie

Sure, the trail had some steep drop offs.  That is why you do not act a fool on the trails.  Up until this point I had found that if you pay attention and watch your footing, you will be fine.  

Ken and the Mediterranean Sea.  Sure, act a fool and you can fall to your death, but it was not scary even though it was a steep drop off.

Ken's signature pose

All smiles holding onto the chains

We were really have a great time on the hike

It is hard to see because of the shadow, but there are some chains lining the trail on the right side of the photo.  See, it is a very steep drop off.  However, this was not scary.  

The picture above was the last picture I took with my phone until we arrived to San Fruttuoso.  I usually stuff my phone into the waist band of my capris, however, when you are holding on for dear life and fearing for your death, this is not conducive.  Ken kindly took my phone and put it is pocket.  It turns out, one does not really think about taking photos when they are saying F bombs every few words and praying that they will not fall.  Who knew?

Anyways, we reached a section of the trail with more chains.  My cocky self grabbed on and thought huh, who is afraid of chains.  Well, apparently I am.  I quickly realized that I could not hold onto the chains and reach the part of the trail that was a trail, I could only hold the chains and reach the super slick rock.  Short people problems.  I paused and suddenly pictured myself falling to my death into the Mediterranean Sea.  

I calming told Ken that I was freaking out and he told me to calm down.  Because that is exactly what one wants to hear as they are freaking out.  Calm down.  Okay, sure, I will calm down.  After the calm down thing surprisingly did not work, I continued to freak out in the middle of the trail while clasping onto the chains for dear life.  I again made the mistake of looking down and I felt my heart racing and my palms sweating.  

Ken's initial reaction in this situation is to get mad at me.  In his defense, he does not always realize how terrified I am at the time.  He views me as this super tough Ironman girl that can do anything she puts her mind to, so he initially does not realize my fear.  He also gives me advice on the steps to take to cross, but he is twice my size and I cannot always take the same steps as he does.  

Anyways, he realized how scared I was and talked to me and I somehow ended up spidermanning my way across the cliff.  Good Lord.  My initial instinct is to drop to my butt, you know, the strongest part of my body and crab walk.  Sadly, you cannot crab walk across a steep drop off where you must hold onto chains to cross.  I am proud to say that I perfected my spiderman on this day.  

After I made it across and a few moments had passed by, Ken told me that he really wanted to video me on the trail having a meltdown, but he was afraid that when I made it across that I might kill him.  Truer words have never been spoken. 

I wish I could say that this was the last of the chains, however, that would be a lie.  That is basically all I can remember from this point forward.  We would reach a section and there would be more chains and I would say some choice words, my heart would race, I would pray, and make it across.  

More chains.  They were never ending.

There was one section with this super steep rock/hole thing and chains that you had to grab and I felt confident that I could not do it.  Ken told me my only option was to turn around and go back across all the other chains and I somehow found a way to make it across.  

We did come across a couple that was doing the hike as well and I watched how the lady crossed this part and followed her lead.  There was also a section that was so steep to climb that Ken literally had to pull me up.  The couple that we had met on the trail (they spoke zero English and we spoke zero Italian), stopped and made sure that I would be able to get up okay, which was very nice.

There was one section where we were following the couple and they had some how missed the trail and fortunately realized it, so we all turned around and found the trail.  I am not sure how we missed it, but we decided from that point forward we would make sure and pay attention for trail markers even when following someone else.  

Starting to get closer to the sea

After quite a while, the chains were finished and we started to descend down towards San Fruttuoso.  Our original plan was to stop at San Fruttuoso and then hike on to Portofino.  On the descend, we both decided that we would just stay in San Fruttuoso and enjoy the beach and to forget about Portofino.  We were pretty beat from this hike.  It was not a difficult hike mileage wise or even steepness, it was those darn chains, for me at least!

I was covered with dirt at this point and possibly faking a smile

Ken caught me mid crab walk coming down one of the super steep sections.  I am telling you, when things get tough my first instinct is to drop to my booty and booty slide/crab walk

Finally, after what seemed like hours, we turned a corner and saw this:

Halle-freakin-lujah - there she is, San Fruttuoso!

The water looked even better at San Fruttuoso than it did from the hike

A fun little history about San Fruttuoso 

I have never been so happy to see something in all my life.  I was even more excited to sit down and order a panini and a cocktail.  I did not fall to my death in the Mediterranean.  

I am not going to lie, I was very excited about having a salami panini and cocktail!

Most people arrive to San Fruttuoso via ferry.  Very few arrive taking the death march that we took.

After refueling, we walked around the Abbey a bit and decided to go to the quieter, smaller beach and get an umbrella and chairs and enjoy the beach.  I am sure that we would be fools to not enjoy an Italian beach having hiked all that way.

The smaller and quieter beach where we spent our day.  

We had brought our swimsuits with us and used the changing area.  We were both filthy dirty from scaling rocks and gripping chains, that it felt really nice to take off those clothes.

Our beach view

Ken went for a swim, while I just got my legs wet.  That water was quite cold!

We literally parked it on the beach and drank wine and beer all afternoon.  There was a moment where we considered hiking on to Portofino, but it was short lived.  We really enjoyed our afternoon at the beach.  

Sitting in a beach chair, drinking my wine, and feeling grateful that a ferry will take me back to Camogli so I do not have to go back the way we came.

The yellow umbrellas on the left are the tiny beach where we spent our afternoon.  It was very quite and peaceful over there.

We boarded the ferry to get back to Camogli and waved goodbye to San Fruttuoso. We were able to see the area where we were hiking, although we could not really make out the trail.  I am glad that I kind of went into this hike blind, because I am not sure that I would have been thrilled about it after seeing the cliffs you hike around from the water.

The view from the ferry.  The trail is in there somewhere!

When we arrived back to Camogli, we got cleaned up and agreed we would go out for a pasta dinner.  Ken was really excited about having seafood pasta and I have to say the meal he had did not disappoint.  His dish was filled with mussels and shrimp and he loved it.  My pasta was quite delicious too.  We enjoyed a bottle of wine and talked about how much fun we had that day.  Even though there were moments where I was terrified, I still enjoyed the day with my amazing best friend. 

Enjoying dinner while overlooking the water.  (tank)

We were even treated to an accordion player and his music

We ended the night with gelato and wine overlooking the harbor.  It was one of those perfect days in Italy.

1 comment:

lindsay said...

OMG. I would have freaked and definitely fallen into the Med. Those "trail paths" and chains are crazy. I hope you didnt have to hike your way back home too. Enjoying catching up on your trip posts!