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Showing posts from June, 2010

From Rifugio Martina to Monte San Primo (Bellagio)

Monte San Primo. Agile hikers aren't the only ones to climb up here in summer because the tell-tale aroma of ovine and caprine droppings invaded our nostrils long before reaching the top. Our intent was to go up then return on the mainly forested trail (right side of photo) that commences behind Rifugio Martina, but the ascent is so steep (average 14% grade) that I wasn't too keen on going back down through the bug-infested environment again. The top photo was taken looking back at S. Primo as we descended to connect with sentiero 1 and continue on a loop trail to the starting point. For those who may have ended up here for trails near Bellagio, take a look at this site to see what the fuss is all about and tell me that ain't gorgeous (scroll to bottom). Unfortunately, it was a hazy experience for us this past Sunday and thus the wait continues until a clear weekend comes along. In the meantime I've set our hiking goals to explore more of the area that is just

Hiking Pizzino to Fraggio (Val Taleggio, Bergamo)

Pizzino (24 miles north of Bergamo) to Fraggio (light blue line) This to be more of a stroll because all it involves is less than 30 minutes of putting one foot in front of the other. The trail begins from Agriturismo Il Pavone in Pizzino that continues on a dirt path passing their farm, and the point of interest here is an ancient (15th century?) church - Chiesetta San Lorenzo - which sits amidst rural surroundings. So rural, in fact, that after I took the photo below and walked around the church, I returned to see a cow in the exact same spot where I had been only minutes before. Getting to Pizzino is a pleasure in itself as the road through Val Taleggio follows along a deep gorge that has no shortage of cascading water during spring. There is "the Rock fountain" in particular that sits on the side of the road as a sort of ambassador to the valley. To find it via gps coordinates: 45.887303, 9.604591 Google maps

Hiking in Fuipiano Valle Imagna (Bergamo) - part II

Replenishing the carbs: fried teriyaki-ginger chicken wings, pancit (filipino noodles), brownie triangles with visciola (sour cherry) jam, and sweet Duroni cherries from Puglia. This is what I consider a picnic snack — food portions that weigh light in my backpack but have greater appeal than Pringles, Gatorade and store-bought energy bars. And why the food image first? Because for non-hiking readers, the rest of this post won't make much sense at all so I figured that I'd take care of the essentials first. This loop trail follows in the opposite direction from where we had hiked above Fuipiano Valle Imagna a few days earlier, and to be honest, I felt absolutely cheated when the GPS stats revealed the actual dislivello completed (difference in height from top to bottom). It was about 487 meters...only 1598 feet! It took us a brief three ½ hours total - a piece of cake worth snacking on. Again, the trail starts at the end of via Milano but upon reaching the 2nd fork, y

Hiking in Fuipiano Valle Imagna (Bergamo) - part I

Il tetto della Valle Imagna (the roof of Imagna valley). We liked this hike so much that four days later I cooked up some yummy Hawaii-style eats and we went back for more. Trails around Lecco and Como may boast magical views of the lakes, but just 19 miles northwest of Bergamo the landscape is no less enchanting. This photo was taken high above the village of Fuipiano Valle Imagna (pop. 240, bottom left). We live over the mountain range in the far distance - you can barely make out the line of signal towers at the crest - so that gives an idea of how right in the middle of hiking heaven we are. From Fuipiano Valle Imagna to Zuc di Valbona - 50 minutes A metal crucifix marks the location which is easily seen from Fuipiano on a clear day. Once at the top, you'll have a pick of great spots to spread out a picnic lunch, but be forewarned that getting there means a very steep climb that will give your thigh, calf and derriere muscles a workout! In the photo below, you can just m

Venetian Masks

I know it looks like I'm getting ahead of myself here, but who says you can't start projecting Carnevale? St. Mark's Square ( Piazza San Marco ) and the Bridge of Sighs ( Ponte dei Sospiri ) may be the first things on the itinerary after traversing the Grand Canal, but if you're specifically headed towards Venice for the greatest, most theatrical, most exciting event of the year, you might want to dress for the occasion. MotH and I attended Venice's carnevale back in 2004 and I really had no idea what to expect. It was miserably cold, raining, people everywhere...but nothing could dampen the bedazzling spectacle of the costumed, masked characters parading through alleys and squares (honestly it was more like they were floating). They were elegant, beguiling - untouchable - a grandiose presence of immortals among mere beings like the rest of us. And I thought it was enough to wear a silly red cape? I knew then and there that if ever there were to be a next tim