Feeling in need of a bit of exercise after all the good Italian food he has been eating, DonQui decides to go off and explore the Valle delle Ferriere behind Amalfi, away from the coast.
He is advised that it is a moderate hike which involves some climbing but that there are steps up the steeper bits. Being a fairly sure footed beast, DonQui sets out in the morning intending to beat the late rising tourists and fast rising sun.
The steps from the end of the town lead up steeply and it is a pretty exhausting climb.
DonQui pauses from time to time to catch his breath and take in the views as the steps go up and up over the lemon groves at the back of the town.
A few overhanging fig trees give some shade over the 30 minutes it takes DonQui to reach the end of the steps and the start of the woodland train.
While the views looking back towards Amalfi are quite spectacular.
Feeling a bit like Tolkien’s Last Homely House, the Fore Porta Organic Farm is the last watering hole before the wilderness beyond. As it is still early the Fore Porta is just setting up, so DonQui resolves to stop off on the way back for a bit of refreshment.
Then he heads off down the trail, glad that the slope has levelled off. He is equally glad that, despite the tourist crowds down in Amalfi, up here is is utterly alone.
Passing ruined paper mills abandoned centuries ago and now covered with vines and other vegetation, DonQui feels a little like one of Conan Doyle’s explorers discovering lost cities and lost worlds.
The trail follows a fast moving stream which cascades through, over and down the rocks.
It is this stream — the Ferriere — which powered the ancient paper mills when Amalfi was a centre of paper making in the late middle ages.
It is almost an hour before he encounters the first humans. A small group of them have stopped at a waterfall to splash about a bit. DonQui decides to cool off in the water for a moment or two then heads on to rediscover the peace of being alone again in this wonderful setting.
The vegetation, the abandoned mills, the fast flowing water and the solitude set his imagination off again.
He can almost imaging the leaves parting at any moment to reveal a Lost World dinosaur as he crosses a rickety wooden bridge.
Unsurprisingly he does not encounter any fearsome beasts but the many smaller ones he does come across do help to fuel his imaginings of their larger cousins.
After another 30 minutes without meeting any humans he does come across a group of indigenous people camped by the river. They seem friendly enough and DonQui reassures himself that they are not likely to slaughter him for food.
One hour in from the Fore Porta DonQui comes to the end of the trail where a succession of waterfalls provide a magnificent vista.
These are not huge cascades but rather various trickles and sprays of water which fall down the cliffs, creating a wonderfully primeval atmosphere of water, rock and vegetation.
The trip back down towards Amalfi is a little faster and as noon approaches more people are to be seen along the trail.
One most welcome group is a troop of boy scouts offering lemon water and lemon pieces sprinkles with sugar. They provide DonQui with a most needed energy and hydration boost in exchange for a donation to whatever they are collecting for.
DonQui’s final stop at the Fore Porta is also most welcome. Here he sips on a lemon granita before heading back down to Amalfi.