Adventure Travel Consultant Deborah Brown recently returned from her first training trip with Explore, exploring the Amalfi Coast on foot. Here she recounts the highlights of her trip, following the famous Walk of the Gods.
Training trips are one of the best parts of working in travel, so I was very excited to hear where I would be given for my first training trip with Explore. When I was told that I was soon to be heading off on a walking holiday to the Amalfi Coast I was excited and apprehensive at the same time; excited about going to Italy, apprehensive as to how I would fare on a walking trip!
Luckily, it turned out my apprehension was unfounded! This was a fantastic tour, and the variety surprised me. We had some brilliant walks with great views meandering through remote areas, but we also visited the famous towns and villages like Amalfi, Capri, Positano and Ravello. I even swam in the freezing sea but it was so refreshing after walking down 2,801 steps to get there!
This trip is ideal for someone who loves walking and wants to see the Amalfi Coast at its most beautiful. In the peaceful hills and mountains above the towns with lovely views whichever way you look. There are lots of early starts which are necessary to fit in all the experiences that we got to experience every day. It was nice on the days we finished our walks in the towns and villages because we had some time to look around and experience a different side of the region. We visited the island of Capri by boat which was a highlight of the trip: arriving into the marina through a hole in the rock was breathtaking.
Staying at the farmhouse was lovely and the family really looked after us. Staying on an agriturismo means a fantastic variety of fresh food, such as ample buffet breakfasts with fresh bread and cake made daily on the farm – ideal for setting us up for the walk ahead! The setting was also wonderful, overlooking the sea, and it was so relaxing being based in one place and unwinding with a glass of wine, beer or a coffee after a busy day.
Nigel, our Explore Leader, was extremely knowledgeable and experienced and he knew the local area like a local as he had run the trip three times this year already. We all felt very safe in his company as he’s also a qualified mountain guide! Over the course of the week Nigel went above the call of duty to help us all, and he was very quickly aware of people’s ability, which always varies in a mixed group of people. Nigel built up a good rapport with the group straightaway, and he was extremely patient, even helping one passenger by carrying her rucksack for the entire walk – you don’t get that on just any trip!
One of the highlights of the trip was the optional wine tasting evening at the farmhouse, where they have their own cellar and produce their own wine. The evening starts in the cellar, with a tasting followed by a five-course meal in the family home, cooked using ingredients produced from the farm. Our group loved this experience and for £25 it was incredible value for money – an evening to remember!
My personal highlights of the trip included walking through Ferriere National Park, where we headed out into the forest and enjoyed amazing views, waterfalls and rocky paths. I also loved the Walk of the Gods, which involved some hard climbing which was well worth the view over Positano – followed by 1,700 steps down into the village! The day trip to Capri is also worth a mention; I won’t forget climbing to the very top of the 600-metre high cliffs and eating my packed lunch overlooking the marina. I loved it all – can I go again?