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Monday, 13 August 2018

THE REOPENING OF THE PATH OF THE GODS


Today the Path of the Gods was officially re-opened following its "closure" by the local authorities last November when part of it collapsed after heavy rain. 
I say "closure" for two reasons:

- firstly, it was never ever really closed. There was never a proper barrier to prevent people passing and even the official notices were affixed as discreetly as possible, almost as an apology.There was no control. The distinct impression was that "yes, it is risky, however we have done our bit by putting up a little notice and a bit of red tape, so if you do have an accident, you only have yourself to blame, and you won't get a cent from us".
- secondly, although tour companies and truly professional guides  respected the ban, adapting other itineraries which enabled their customers to enjoy the beauties of the path without taking unnecessary risks, there were still thousands (yes, thousands) of walkers who ventured along the forbidden stretch, some probably out of ignorance, others accompanied by unscrupulous, money-driven "guides", or alone, probably convinced that everyone was making a big fuss about nothing and proud of making it to the other side unscathed.
So all is back to normal now, although I do find it rather odd that there is no mention at all of the second landslip, near to Cisternuolo, which I  considered equally as dangerous if not more so than the first, but which, if I am not mistaken, never had an official ban slapped on it. At the time, a little by-pass had been created round it. Maybe that has developed into a secure stretch of path and I am worrying about nothing, but..
What I would like to reiterate, and here I go back to one of my early blogs  "The Path of the Gods - suitable for everyone?", is that this path is definitely NOT for everyone. It is not flat, it is not well surfaced and there is very little shade.

It is rocky, there is a lot of loose stone that makes it easy to lose your footing, the bigger flatter rocks have become so worn and shiny that they are equally as slippery dry as wet, there are rough, broken, unstable and crumbling steps, steep ones too; some parts of the path are very narrow (so single file only which can be frustrating when it is crowded and you have snail-pacers in front of you), other parts have sheer drops to one side, so beware  sufferers of vertigo. It is hot in summer, very hot. 
Please do not think that it is a piece of cake. It isn't. Make sure you have proper footwear - trekking boots or trainers with an excellent grip. Leave your sandals and flip-flops for the beach. Take a walking pole if your balance is not spot on. It will be a great help along the rougher parts. Wear a hat. Put on your sunscreen. And take water, lots of water, since there are pretty long stretches where you will find none at all. Best of all, hire a guide. There are some excellent ones out there and not only will you have the security of a professional looking after you, but you will also learn so much more. 

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