Yesterday was our second day in Italy and we decided to take a walk up one of the mountains here in Belagio. We were pretty well organised and had a shed load of water with us, a packed lunch and we’d covered ourselves in sunscreen. The scenery here is beautiful and we chose a three-hour mapped walk up through the forest to the top of one of the mountains. The ‘up’ started like this:
And there was plenty more of it – it was a beautiful walk (hard work, especially when you’re a little unfit like I am) but after about an hour we were halfway and reached a great panorama where we stopped to take pictures (and get our breath back), then continued on for another couple of hours. The Italian path markers are a little scatty and the timings are not quite as accurate as they might be, and so it took us longer than expected to reach the top but when we finally go there, the view was worth it:
Our original plan was to take a bus back down into Belagio but the bus stop wasn’t immediately obvious and we were feeling brave so we decided to follow the path signs (“2 hours 10” – this turned out not to be entirely true) but we lost the path, marked by red and white slashes of paint on trees and rocks along the way, so we went on a detour through the forest until we found the path again. Along the way we stumbled through a farm which was part of the pathway and made friends with some horses.
Once we found the correct path again, we found another beautiful vista at about 900m above sea-level, then worked our way back down through the forest. The first part was so steep (and close to the sheer drop) that I climbed down almost on my hands and knees. We descended 600m in about an hour so that gives you an idea of how steep the path through the forest was, but it was brilliant! It got a little bit hairy when the sun started to set and we were still amongst the trees, but we made it out while the sky was still pink and with aching knees, ankles and hips (we’re not twenty-one any more…) we headed back to the apartment, showered and strolled – quite slowly and gingerly – to the local ristorante for a delicious meal and an Italian beer. We tried out our Italian (“grazie mille”) and discovered that the owner of the restaurant had lived in Southend for twenty-one years so his English was perfect but he helped us with our Italian pronunciation before we said our buona nottes and strolled (less gingerly this time for the beer had worked some magic) up the hill to our apartment and into bed.