Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Hazy Mountains and a Floral Bonanza

Readers may have noticed the glut of strawberries and today's floral delights. We have enjoyed a day in the mountains, which have been engulfed in a heat haze that gives rise to occasional claps of thunder but no rain. Yet!

It was a sweaty day even up high, but judging by incoming messages it's 'orange code alarm' in Venice(does that mean risk of imminent spontaneous combustion?), and somewhat breezy in Durness (so Orkney will be blown just a little further off-shore?). We are glad we aren't there. In fact the hot weather is topping the news bulletins here, so it must be an issue.

Nevertheless, most tourists seem to have stayed low. We saw none on our five hour stroll, and there were no other tourists either at last night's rifugio or at tonight's hotel. In fact, the medieval town of Bagolino, where we are billeted in the comfortable Al Tempo Perduto hotel, appears to be a tourist free zone. We have seen a few of the ubiquitous German bikers on the way here, but that's all by way of tourists.

This morning Marisa provided an excellent breakfast that more or less eliminated the need for lunch (a few muesli bars were sufficient), and we set off on our five hour jaunt, mainly through shady woodland.

Our 13 km route (with about 700 metres ascent) passed through the pretty villages of Moerna (pictured), Turano and Armo before heading along a perfectly formed woodland track to Ponte Franato and then traversing back to Persone. It was similar in topography to the final stages of Alta Via 2, so far as I can recall that trip from the depths of my memory bank.

We had hoped for lunch in the restaurant at Armo, but it was closed, so we made do with ice creams back at Persone, where we disturbed Marisa from her siesta. Earlier she had charged us just €81 for B&B, evening meal and drinks, etc, which we considered most reasonable.

It was hot; though the flowers weren't wilting the crows were cawing and the buzzards were mewing. Blackbirds were rummaging in the undergrowth, lizards were basking, and I think I saw a shrike atop a post in Moerna.

We had planned to camp by Lago d'Idro, at around 300 metres, but by the time the deserted switchback road had delivered us to that pleasant location we had re-entered a zone of stifling heat in the low 30's. So we abandoned that plan and came up to this small town at around 700 metres. It's still hot, but bearable.

There's a huge church high above the medieval houses and narrow, sometimes covered, streets, with the inevitable swifts swooping around it in their hundreds. I'm surprised there's an airborne insect left!

There appears to be an excellent selection of shops to cater for the needs of residents, including a horse butcher. The network of narrow cobbled streets passes at times under the houses.

Small cars are required by the residents of Bagolino!

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