I’ll get this off my chest straightaway: I have a beef with the National Parks service here, because their maps don’t always reflect the reality, they lack signs in the important places and some of the main tracks need major maintenance work done.
The good: it was a glorious day waking up in Rocca Calascio after the party. And it was a good party. Great local music and lots of dancing happening. The band also played the tune ‘Ciao bella, ciao bella, ciao’ which is a partisan tune from WWII and is often sung when the population doesn’t like the dictators/ruling party anymore. Most recently when all that stuff was happening with Berlusconi, that was what a lot of Italians could be heard humming. And so this morning I skipped down the slopes from Rocca, happy in the knowledge it would be a short walk to Castel del Monte to be followed by a relaxing afternoon. Yeah right.
The bad: the map showed I had to cross the road to continue on the path. It showed I’d have to walk a short distance along the road to the left before crossing. Arrows on the road pointed to the left. Nothing materialised after 10 minutes and so I turned back to where there had been a dirt road, but slightly to the right. Hmm. That went steep uphill and then the track petered out and left me high and dry on a steep hillside. More consultation of the map and a careful reading of the surroundings (fortunately well visible from my eyrie perch) showed me where the road was I should be on. Problem was it was down below and in front of me was a very, very steep hillside. A slow descent, some nifty traversing and quite a while later I breathed out, relieved to know I had to be on the right road. Of course no signs to confirm this, but instinctively I knew it to be right.
The ugly: the road eventually turned into an overgrown track. Which became ever more overgrown until it was covered in brambles, so that I had to continue walking in the field next to it. I kept honing in on the target of Castel del Monte with a growing sense of unease. Eventually I had to climb over stonewalls, big pyramids of stone and bash through more brambles until I finally made it out onto the road, only to find that I had indeed been on the right track. I almost needed a machete to work my way through that jungle and that is supposedly a major walking track from Calascio to Castel del Monte. My travails weren’t over yet as the track pointed upwards, but signs were soon hard to find with tens of little tracks fanning out. More up, then down and eventually, long, long after the 10 promised minutes, I found my way up to the town, to be attacked by a vicious little dog. So far, none of the times on the signs have made any sense, so whatever it says tomorrow, I shall double it to be on the safe side.
Back to the good: found a delightful room to stay in at Le Civette, checked mails and went for dinner. Snooze time now.