On Friday morning my walking plan hit a little snafu: the Rifugio where I was planning to walk to from Castel del Monte and stay for the night was closed, undergoing renovations. But Francesco from Le Civette came to the rescue and offered to drive me to the Rifugio, so I could walk from there to Campo Imperatore. I can’t thank Francesco enough, as it really saved the day.
Just before 10am he dropped me at the intersection and I made my way to the Rifugio first, from where I took the path which passed the ruins of the monastery of Maria del Monte. There I bumped into a Dutch couple and their dog who were also walking in the area.
The day was simply glorious: hardly a cloud in the sky, wildflowers all around in pretty yellows, purple and blues, and a frog symphonie in the background. The views were stunning and I understand why they call it the Little Tibet of Italy. It is very unique in its aspect and as dry as Tibet.
The Dutch couple pointed out two little vipers on the track. Nothing compared to what you can be faced with in Australia, but they’re still poisonous snakes and to be treated with respect, so we walked carefully around them.
Further on I had a brief moment where it turned out the track I was on wasn’t the one I should be following, but the right track wasn’t far away and soon I was on the right one. From there, the climbing started. At first very steeply uphill with essentially no track markings, but once higher up, the track became obvious and I slowly worked my way uphill. At some point I lost sight of the track again, but looking at the map I figured that as long as I kept climbing up in the same direction I would have to get out where I wanted to get to.
Suddenly I got to a building that looked like a spaceship, but it was merely the terminal for one of the skilifts and just over the hill I could see the hotel Campo Imperatore, my goal for the day. A very welcome sight! I still took me another half hour before I got there on increasingly sore feet – blisters all over on this walk. Not quite sure why and I suspect it’s the padding I put in the front of my boots, as without that I’ve never had any problems. I’ve now taken it out and hopefully that will fix the problem, although the existing ones will have to heal first and they are large.
I’m staying here for two nights, so I can enjoy the mountain scenery and maybe go up a little, although an attempt on the Corno Grande is out of the question. There is too much snow and the receptionist has already told me that it’s dangerous to do it on your own. But with another sunny day forecast, I can just sit in the sun and enjoy the view.
And here’s some weird trivia, which I know will amuse at least one of my readers. I’m staying in the hotel where Mussolini was held imprisoned in 1943. You can see the room where they held him. He escaped at some point, but his destiny caught up with him before too long.