Breakfast was comprehensive, following on as it did in the same vein as last night's offering, which comprised a starter of spaghetti with pesto, melon risotto and a violet coloured flower, followed by a pork escalope rolled up with prosciutto and herbs, with sautéed potatoes (hooray - no polenta!), with a raspberry and cream roulade to finish.
After scoffing as much as we could in polite company, Sue sat down with Mirko the motorcyclist (pictured), who had spent over five years in the UK, redesigning her German phrase book. I probably have Mirko to thank for the first entry:
"Zwei kalte bier bitter."
It was to be a short day, so we didn't feel a need to rush off, eventually leaving at 9.30am. A sunken pathway led steeply up to forestry tracks with occasional views of hazy mountainsides through the trees. Up on the plateau we passed areas of bog and other tempting diversionary attractions that tried to lure us away from the E5 path.
Sue remained loyal to E5, claiming that someone important had organised an overnight shower specifically for the purpose of lining the E5 path with fresh strawberries.
After an hour and a half, and quite a bit of climbing, the well positioned Malga Corno was reached. Coffees were welcome although it had been a hot ascent to this fine viewpoint.
Our next target was the pretty village of Truden, mainly downhill on the forest tracks and paths that have been a feature of the last couple of days. A pleasant village with a church roof that glowed with multi-coloured tiles. We plonked ourselves outside Albergo Zum Löuer and tucked into some ice cold drinks and a copious and tasty plate of spaghetti carbonara.
It was 1.30 by the time we had finished our leisurely lunch, and it only took another 30 minutes to reach Fontanefredde, just over the hill, where we'd booked our night's accommodation at the Albergo.
The staff at Fichtenhof had told us to stay in Truden rather than here, and we could understand why. The faded Albergo was next to a busy road in a viewless position. It was only 2pm, so we decided to 'wing it' by continuing along the trail.
First, courtesy dictated that we tell the Albergo we would not be staying. Sue explained to the owner that we were very early and wanted to continue walking. Would he confuse us by telling us about his fine hotel and pointing to the sky to warn us of a storm, I wondered? No, all he said was "ok", before turning to continue pruning his plants.
No sooner had we left the security of Fontanefredde, a distant rumble of thunder asked 'was that really a wise decision?'
Gillian's book suggests spending the night at Wastlhof, near the village of Redagno, a 500 metre hike up pleasant sunken lanes from Fontanefredde, but we'd already established that they no longer provide beds for E5 walkers, having converted their accommodation to apartments rented on a weekly basis. Up the hill from there, the Zirmahof establishment, a country house hotel, would have been happy to put us up for €140 each. They were friendly there, and Sue got a brief guided tour of the posh surroundings as she was taken from reception to the kitchen to re-charge our water bottles.
There may be more accommodation available in Redagno village, but we had a target in mind and an excursion to research possibilities would have taken up valuable time, so after initially heading off in the wrong direction, we pressed on along E5 across meadows. It was nearly 4pm.
A gentle ascent of 200 metres finally freed us from encounters with sundry 'gentry' types who were obviously rambling around within close range of their Zirmahof luxuries, and we descended gently down to the head of the Butterloch canyon (pictured), a site of geological interest where over the past 15,000 years a stream has excavated the ground to a depth of 400 metres, exposing geological strata from millions of years ago. I explored the top of the canyon whilst Sue encountered an 'orchid delay'. Then we stumbled around in the canyon for a while before finding each other. Some of the path has been re-routed due to further erosion, and we didn't find the 'airy ladders' mentioned by Gillian. Perhaps they have now also gone.
It was an interesting place.
Another 200 metre ascent through open woodland took us to a lovely belvedere with stunning views east across to major Dolomitic massifs such as the dominant Latemar group. Fantastic!
From there it was an easy track down to the religious sanctuary of Weißenstein, which we reached at 6pm after what had been an unexpected and unplanned, but very enjoyable, long day. One of Weißenstein's main features is a hotel, and yes, they had a room available at a reasonable price. The efficient chap on reception also took our order for food, which would be provided at 7.30, giving us plenty of time to chill out before dinner.
The storm duly arrived at 6.15 - it was impressive. Was someone looking after us today?
I'll write a bit more about our time at Weißenstein tomorrow, as I'm running out of steam just now - the retreat doesn't get many E5 walkers, and English people only pop up here every few years, so everyone wants to shake our hands!
Anyway, tomorrow's hard 9 hour day (plus stops) to Bolzano has now officially been regraded as an easy 5 hour day - perhaps more if we don't use the cablecar.
Nick and Alan R - Sue is still smarting from the incisive accuracy of Alan's comment, but I did manage to catch her unawares this morning when she commandeered Mirko to reconstruct her German phrase book.
11 July 2012
29km in 8.5 hours with 1500m ascent
Other E5 walkers - none in evidence, we saw very few people out today
Flower of the Day - Common Twayblade
Itinerary - http://www.topwalks.com/E5%20Route.html
You'll notice that the itineraries for today and tomorrow need editing.
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