Our other readers seem to be wisely silent or, like us, away enjoying new adventures and only an occasional signal.
The Touring Hotel was friendly and fine, if a little pricey at €45 pp for B+B, and just a bit noisy at 2-3 am when the nearby Irish bar 'chucked out'.
Luckily the 'Vespa Club of Torino', who had earlier filled the town with 2-stroke fumes, had either left town or gone to bed early.
Today's path took us from Limone to the route of the 'Giro del Marguareis' - a short trek that very few English will have heard of, but one that passes through fine country and will link us with sections of the GTA (Grande Traversata delle Alpi) for the final few days of this biennial 'Famous Five' trip.
We travel light and use Rifugios. It's very relaxing. For the rest of the trip I'll be even lighter, as my walking poles disappeared during the course of the day. A shame, as they were my 14 year old original Leki poles, bought to provide support pending an ACL replacement. They, like my knees, have been through a lot.
So, this morning we headed out of Limone on paths not described in any guidebook and marked only vaguely on our 1:50000 map. We were pleasantly surprised as the good path wound gently up the hillside through lovely old woodland towards Colle Almellina, 500 metres above Limone.
On the way we paused at a bench overlooking Limone, causing a friendly man with a small friendly dog (all Italians and their dogs appear friendly) to have to queue to sit down to read his paper. "That's a long way" he remarked, when we told him where we were heading for.
Above the colle a vague but waymarked path led directly below a floating eagle and past skipping chamois towards Colla del Vaccarile, below which we stopped for a long lunch whilst several of the party, unused to being at an altitude of 2000 metres, were glad of the hour they were allowed, to recover their breath in the oxygen deprived environment (or so they claimed).
We descended past marmosettes into cloud that had been building on this fairly humid day. The path was vague and no longer waymarked. The loss of my poles was discovered. I returned rather energetically to our lunch spot. Some re-ascent was involved. No poles. Hey ho. The others waited patiently in their cloud. I returned. We continued to fumble our way down the hillside, encountering shepherds' huts marked on the map, and paths that were not so well recorded.
The views cleared. The flowers continued to delight (most of) us. We entered more lovely woodland and passed a roaring waterfall before emerging at Rivendell, a lovely grassy area thronged with Sunday picnickers from Cuneo, with this delightful rifugio (pictured) at one end of the meadow.
It came on to rain (it's for the heat - as Showell Styles used to accurately observe) but we didn't mind, we were happy with our beers, and later with an excellent four course meal involving polenta, beef, sausage, chicken, salad, cheese, parma ham and tarte tatin for pudding. There was a fine veggie option for Jenny that arrived on time - the Sport Hotel in Arabba could learn a thing or two from this friendly establishment when it comes to dealing with vegetarians!
Thoroughly satiated in almost every way from the day's activities, we adjourned early but happy to our en-suite room for five people.
There are just 8 people staying here, the 5 of us, 2 Germans who are looking at us very quizzically, and a lone elderly gent. It's all very pleasant, and much quieter than the GR5, our original plan for this trip.
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