Martin on Cnicht

Martin on Cnicht

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

E5 in reverse - Day 15 - Pfandleralm (1350m) to Moos in Passeier (1007m)

This was our last full day in Italy, albeit German speaking Italy. Tonight's host, Christian at Pension Maria, tells us we will notice the difference when we cross into Austria, not because of that particular relatively recent border, but because of what he perceives as an innate difference between the people of the South Tyrol and the more commercially minded citizens of the North Tyrol. We shall see, as this theory is not supported by the pricing of our hotel in Soëlden.

Our room mates at Pfandleralm got a bit of a surprise after breakfast to find that we had dismantled our bed. This had proved necessary to recover Sue's Kindle from behind some seemingly impenetrable panelling. Ikea would have been proud of us. The Germans eventually understood.

Whilst everyone else, including a couple with two young children, set off purposefully up the hill that we had found quite lengthy and steep in descent last night, we meandered on down the same hill towards the vibrant metropolis of San Leonardo in Passiria (aka St Leonhard in Passeier). The full story behind the last days of Andreas Hofer were revealed bit by bit as we descended past information points that related the story, from his untimely execution to the day when he was forced at gunpoint to continue his resistance to Napoleon's forces.

It was another lovely day, fairly cool in the shady woods after our 8.30 start, with lots of gaps in the woodland offering wide-ranging panoramic mountain views.

With frequent stops to read about Hofer (and when he was finished with a nature trail started), and to photograph flowers, gawp at the plunging waters and irrigation channels of the Cascata delle valle Pfeifer, and generally admire a third dead mole and the views, we managed to take rather longer than expected to reach elevenses at St Leonhard. A pleasant little town with an upstanding church sporting normal tiles (as opposed to the multicoloured ones we've been admiring recently) and a finely honed spire.

From there we spent another couple of hours, bizarrely going faster up than we had down, as now there were horse flies vying to rip chunks off our finely honed muscles, tootling through more mixed woodland above farmland with plenty of open sections with fine views.

Stuls was reached at 1.30pm, precisely the time at which the Stullerhof restaurant stops serving lunch. But unlike some of his UK counterparts, the chef didn't refuse to cook for us, instead offering 'toast or soup'. I'm sure his 'toast' would have been different from our normal fare at home, but the alphabet noodle soup was certainly a bit different, and very filling.

After the excitement of trying to make words out of our soup, we made the obvious errer of failing to follow the E5 signs out of Stuls. Our mistake was soon remedied by a bout of eye engagement, and before we knew it we were on our way towards the final destination of the day.

Once down at Moos, having dodged a few places where landslides had taken out the path, we had to decide which part of the rambling village held our accommodation, Pension Maria. The tourist information office seemed a good point from which to start. There was no map outside the door, probably because most of the village can be seen from that point.

We made our way down to this fine establishment, where we were soon installed in a room next to a group of 17 teachers and children. "Just as well you booked in advance" commented Christian, before turning away a couple of mountain bikers.

It remains a puzzle to Christian as to how 'Café' (Pension) Maria happens to be mentioned in Gillian's guide book, to the exclusion of all the other places there are to stay in the village, and that he only found out about it when Bob the All Black passed through last year!

'Comfortable and inexpensive' - Gillian's description is accurate.

Today's pictures were taken coming down from Pfandleralm, with St Leonhard at the bottom right (top) and from near Stuls, with St Leonhard in the valley bottom and some of the morning's route in view.

You'll notice Sue's pictures with men are becoming a rarity. This is because she doesn't have any German chat up lines. In fact she doesn't have many German lines at all. So you'll have to wait for us to enter Austria for the next in that series of images - Sue reckons it should be a doddle to pick up an English speaking Austrian. I wonder if he'll have a felt hat - apparently that's a sign of virility, I had to drag her away from one such person yesterday.

Comments:

Alan R - haha, luckily we had no tent nor any dehydrated food to offer the Haflinger horses, who made do with a furtive and unproductive nibble at Sue's camera case. You're right though, it's a hard life!

Jules - welcome back. We hope you enjoyed your break - I'll probably be commenting on your postings in a few weeks' time. In answer to your question, 15kg is probably my maximum 'carry', whilst Sue's is approaching 4kg. That includes water and lunches, though we don't carry much food as there are usually hostelries en route for lunch. My bag includes a number of maps for the second half of the trip, a file with a page for each day re accommodation bookings and other info (probably 40 sheets of A4 at the start, being discarded as we go), first aid kit, camera, a bag of electrical items such as phone/camera chargers (2) and spare batteries (lots), razor, Kindle, torch, etc. Then there are the down jackets that Gillian was quite sceptical about - mine hasn't been worn (yet?) but Sue's new holofill jacket (bought as a present for this trip) was brought into use for a concert at Levico Terme - quite over the top, but nice to see it used. Sue's trail shoes are on board as her boots may not last the trip. We have a weighty Alpine flower book, and a diary and Gillian's guide book, loads of sun tan lotion, and various other kit, including heavy wallets. I didn't do a list for this trip, I just threw it all in. Shame I forgot to empty the bag first, as I found various items from my last backpacking trip when we arrived in Verona. The windshield has been discarded as we have no stove, but the chopping board came in useful during an al fresco meal in Bolzano. So we are probably carrying about 19kg absolute max between us, usually quite a bit less, and my 15kg or so share of that seems to get lighter as the weather gets less humid. We are still in shorts and t-shirts, so all our other clothes are being carried. My rucksack is a similar size to that of many E5 walkers, but we don't get recognised as such because Sue just ponces around with her bum bag. As on the TGO Challenge, this is regarded as being a little unusual!

So, since I don't actually have much of a problem carrying the rucksack (except in extreme heat, etc, when carrying anything would be a bind) I don't really care how much it weighs. I suppose I'm a bit like someone who is two stone overweight but can't be bothered to get in trim because he seems to get around ok anyway! Having said that, it does sometimes feel a bit on the heavier than desirable side...

Nightbird - we did see a glacier today, but the risk of being caught in an avalanche was rather less than the risk of seeing a naked German fraulein playing table football in an aquarium. We did hear about the Chamonix avalanche and we do hope that none of our friends were involved.

Data:
17 July 2012
16km in 7 hours with 850m ascent
Other English - none
Flower of the Day - Cobweb Houseleek (on the way up to Moos)
Itinerary - http://www.topwalks.com/E5%20Route.html

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

3 comments:

Gillian said...

Arrivederci and enjoy your last day in Italy! Café Maria.... how did I find out about it? Seem to remember we arrived during a storm and someone pointed our bedraggled group of 6 to the door. And we unanimously voted it great. By the way, thanks for the photo with Fabrizio - glad you took time out to pop in there. And thanks for info on Poztmauer. Gute Wanderung! Gillian

Alan R said...

Hmm.
This guy who is two stone overweight! It wasn’t me was it?
Guess what, raining and windy here for a change. Dark at 9.30pm last night. Dreadful.

Jules said...

Wow! That's an extensive list - especially from a Blackberry!

Interesting to read though, particularly as your combined load is c 19k. We quite like treks like this, ie: no tent/stove. I would guess our combined load would be approaching this but a bit more evenly spread (:-)) - perhaps about 16k plus a bit more for extra food/water, etc.

Eating and drinking at huts/villages is one of the joys of a trip like this, though - at least for us - plus we like a few comforts such as clean clothes for the evening and a book or two. But we do try to carry relatively little and top up en route.