#20: Mountain Climbing (San Fruttuoso)
‘You can walk to San Fruttuoso no problem’ says he. ‘Maybe one hour, one hour and a half’.
A quick google tells me its actually more like three hours, but I decide to go anyway as I don't have to be back to pick G up until 4.30.
I dont have the proper shoes or the sticks, and my backpack is suede from Urban Outfitters, but I love walking. I use my pedometer app more than I use tinder.
After carefully selecting the types of snack I imagine an explorer might take (a banana, two litres of water and a salty cracker) I set off.
I spend the best part of the morning leisurely walking over there, across the mountain, listening to my ‘Learn Italian’ podcast (level two) which has all of a sudden got lots more interesting as they are teaching us how to chat people up. I’m learning phrases like ‘vuoi uscire sta sera’ (do you want to go out tonight?) and ‘preferisci restare in albergo stasera?’ (would you prefer to stay in the hotel tonight?) and such like.
The walk does start to get slightly tougher than expected. It’s very high, with lots of loose stones, woodlands and steep inclines. Decide against walking back.
San Fruttuoso is an incredible place. A monastery, built on a secluded beach at the bottom of a mountain. The only way to get there is by boat or foot, which drastically reduces the number of annoying tourists. I couldn't even get signal. It's also the home of ‘Christ of the Abyss’ , a larger than life size bronze statue of Christ offshore, buried 50 feet below sea level.
After a few lovely hours perusing and sunbathing, I decide to take the boat back and head to the 'boat stop'. I wait. Turns out the next three boats have been cancelled and the next isn't until 5pm. So, I have an hour and a half to run a two and a half hour trek back to Camogli. Up a mountain.
The mountain, which was hard on the old legs on the way down, is a death sentence on the way up. Its so steep I have to tuck my dress into my knickers because I can't actually climb up the rocks and my breath is so laboured it sounds like I'm a cast member in The Hills Have Eyes.
I have to keep telling myself that this is nothing compared to what Julie Andrews and the rest of the Von Trapps had to endure walking across those mountains to Switzerland.
After an hour of mountain climbing, I arrive at the top a sweaty mess, only to find tables full of German tourists at a collection of picnic benches offering panoramic views of the whole mountain. Am mortified that they have all witnessed the entire mountain scenario with me, dress tucked into knickers, occasionally bursting out with ‘climb every mountain’ to stop me giving up and just tumbling right off the edge.
I run (power walk), take a fair few wrong turns and end up at the school with five minutes to spare, thanks to a kindly old man (who I’d mistaken for a pervy old man) giving me some rather excellent directions. I’m a sweaty, muddy, mute mess and it takes two marmite sandwiches and a bowl of tea (still no mugs in house) for G to resuscitate me.