This is an entry in the We Said Go Travel Writing Contest written by Rona Amichai from The United States. Thanks for your entry Rona!
Up, up, up, into the Italian rock,
Eighty six years on seventy steps, slowly, one at a time.
Fifty four and sixty two years to share the load, while the slow, measured steps and breaths of eighty six follow.
Four hands help one persevering spirit as the three travellers reach the top of the seventy steps.
Seventy steps carved upward into the mountain of the Italian coast reach the door of the Italian bed and breakfast nestled deep in the Italian stone.
Quick feet, two pairs of four feet, open the heavy locked door, to the modest inn with the overwhelming view.
The Amalfi coast of Italy spreads below, glistening and shining in the afternoon sun. Bright blue sky meets brilliant blue ocean, with small whitecaps playing in the lazy sun. Ten steps more lead to the entry door of the stone structure hiding two bedrooms with the overwhelming view of the blues of the Amalfi coast. Windows open wide to the rush of air and sensory stimulation, doors open to balconies that are engulfed by vistas. Colors flood through the open windows, as the eye carved in the mountain looks and watches over its domain.
My eighty six year old mother gratefully rested her weary bones from the seventy step climb, settling into the balcony of her room with the Amalfi coast below.
My husband and I turned right from the door of the bed and breakfast, and cheerfully settled our boots into the trail that snaked and twisted its way up the mountain. Each sinuous curve revealed drop-away views of the coast. We met one hiker approaching us from the other direction, no one else intruded on our forested mountainous solitude. We climbed into the bosom of the mountain, and arrived at a stone house that had been carefully placed on a patch of solid ground overlooking the ever present breath taking drop to the ocean. The house was boarded up and deserted and strong in its stone façade and mountain hardiness. We paused, sighed, captured a corner of our bliss on digital cameras, and returned to our mountain retreat.
“We are going to dinner.”
“Good”, a warm smile spread over her face, revealing the hunger behind.
“We have to go down the stairs, and then back up afterwards.”
She looked crestfallen, but brave and ready to challenge the seventy stairs, for the reward of an Italian dinner. I had been told the restaurant that was conveniently located just down the block, was the best in the vicinity, if not in all of the Amalfi coast.
Slowly, slowly, we retraced our descent down the mountain to the road. The last red blinks of the sun illuminated our way to the restaurant with the coastal glow reflecting the tranquility within and without. The front of the restaurant was hidden behind a trellis and verdant plants. The back hugged the side of the mountain.
“We would like a table for three,” I announced to the young girl at the entrance. She looked at me strangely.
“Do you have a reservation?”
I looked around at the empty restaurant.
“No, is that a problem?”
“Well, people usually have reservations, but I can find you a table.”
She seated us at a beautiful wood table, with a smaller table hugging it off to the side. It seemed silly to have so much table space for just the three of us, but I voiced no complaints. We had ourselves in a corner of Italian heaven. The restaurant filled up at once, as did our plates. The waitress brought all of Italian cuisine in multiple servings of dishes, the large table filled and plates were transferred to the small table, the wine carafe was never left more than half empty, the waitress explained that vans went down daily to the city to transport tourists to the sumptuous Italian feast, with no menus, no choices, no requests, just plates and plates of vegetables, and antipasta, and real pasta, and pizza, and grilled mysteries, until there was no room in bellies for lamb and veal delicately stewed in their spiced juices, and then dessert and coffee, and she marveled that we had arrived before the vans on foot out of the silkiness of the Italian evening. We floated out of the restaurant, content, and glided through the darkness to our stairs.
“Will you help me” asked my mother.
“Of course” I said, bolstered by the numerous glasses of wine that had glided from the carafe to my belly, tucked my arm under hers, and took slow, wine laden steps, seventy steps, Up, up, up, into the Italian rock, up the seventy steps with my mother and husband to our hidden sanctuary in the Italian mountains.
About the Author: Rona Amichi: I am a speech language pathologist who loves to write, travel and be with family. My four children live in four different countries, which provides a lot of travel destinations, and material for stories. My love of adventure, hiking, and people watching fills in the rest. I can be reached through Facebook.