Today had everything you could wish for as a walker high in the Alps.
Overnight rain finally cleared the atmosphere, leaving perfect visibility all day apart from a vague puff of cloud drifting around the summit of Ingleborough.
Belvedere paths (Sue is pictured on one) past swirling swifts, mountain lakes and squealing marmots led to an easy scramble up a high peak - Hirzer (2781m) with an even higher cross (pictured) and 360 degree views.
The steep descent led to a sumptuous lunch of pasta and mushrooms outside a popular farmhouse (Roseggeralm) that appeared to be hosting a yodeling contest.
After that we said goodbye to the crowds in this popular area (imagine you are in the Langdale valley on a summery Monday) and enjoyed remote paths that led eventually to the home of Louis and Steffi, our hosts at Pfandleralm. The beer is cool and the food excellent, enjoyed outside the hütte in the warmth of a perfect alpine evening.
It's full tonight so we are in our first shared dormitory, but I'm sure we'll sleep well.
Sue's knees are tired, but the weight on my back seems less noticeable every day, perhaps because we are making serious inroads into the large box of washing powder.
The meadow in which Pfandleralmhütte is so pleasantly situated is rich with history, as this is where Andreas Hofer, a local hero who led the South Tyrol's resistance against Napoleon in 1809, was captured by French troops in 1810. A memorial tablet was vandalised during the fascist period, but in 1983 a new granite memorial was built by the Passeier company of marksmen. I can see it from where I'm enjoying my beer outside the hütte.
English speaking visitors: so far, Josh is the only English speaking person we have encountered. A perusal of Meranerhütte's visitor's book revealed Adam and Jane's passage towards Bregenz, still a week ahead of us, so they must also have had some rest days. Before that, the only English speakers we could identify were Bob Cyffers and Janet McMenamin, two All Blacks who passed through on 22 July 2011. Curiously, all these English speakers were travelling from south to north, and no doubt, like us, working backwards through Gillian's guide book!
Gillian - Trafoi brings back great memories of al fresco dining at the shady camp site during the heatwave of 2010, with nightly walks into the village where we admired the acrobatics of the swifts around the church. We suspect your conditions were somewhat different, but hope you got some good walks in. Did you notice we visited Fabrizio and even got him some business!
Nightbird - my head is too confused with messages from 'The Path of Legends' to devise jokes about naked Germans and football machines, but we find it quite funny that mention of "we are from Manchester, home of Signor Ballotelli" makes them go very quiet. Sue is envious of your shopping trips. She's trying to lose as much as she can in order to be able to go shopping with a purpose, but losing her debit card was a bit of a faux pas in that respect. Btw the apricot croissant is mine - don't give it to Sue, she eats everything else!
16 July 2012
18km in 9 hours with 1400m ascent
Other E5 walkers - lots - unless we report otherwise, assume we are on the main Oberstdorf to Bolzano route that enjoys the patronage of the German speaking nations of the world
Flower of the Day - Mossy Saxifrage (beside the high mountain paths)
Itinerary - http://www.topwalks.com/E5%20Route.html
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