Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Monday, 9 July 2012

E5 in reverse - Day 9 - Frotten (1570m) to Cembra (673m)

With the shutters sealed, even our 7.45am alarm failed to wake us this morning! But we were tucking into more cuccalar by soon after 8. Andrea (pictured with Sue) and his family - Rita, Rina, Roberto and Stefano, to name but a few, are proud of their 3* agritur rating ( and welcome E5 guests. They are also well situated for a longer stay for those with a desire to explore this lovely area.

We spent a couple of hours socialising before dragging ourselves away at around 10am, as it was a fair walk down to Cembra.

Andrea encouraged us to follow path number 22, which would have brought us out at Passo del Redebus had we not failed to accept the ascent to Stiall. For anyone following in our footsteps - accept Andrea's offer of a free map showing the local footpaths, and follow path 22 until you reach the road at the pass. Nevertheless, despite our 2km road walk up to Passo del Redebus, we did enjoy our little adventure away from the main E5 path. Virtually none of the paths we used were on our E5 strip map.

By now we were in the Val di Fersina, where we came across signs in a peculiar Germanic language. Apparently around 1000 inhabitants continue to speak the language, which arises from a time in the Middle Ages (1300-1500s) when expert miners migrated here from Bohemia and Bavaria. I suppose it's a bit like coming across a corner of England where Cornish is spoken.

Just down the road from the pass, Acqua Fredda comprises a small archaeological site dating back to C13 to C11 BC (late Bronze Age) where ancient smelting furnaces were discovered when the road was widened in 1979. Fascinating stuff - but time does not allow more detail just now.

The road leading to Bedollo gradually improves for the walker, as it takes ancient byways (Sue is pictured on one of them) into Regnana, where the beautiful church was well worth a visit - simple but stunning - and then down to Centrale di Bedollo, where we enjoyed a lunch of coke and panini in the cool and shade of the Bar Centrale.

I forgot to mention - it was warm again today, 32C when we exited that bar. Luckily the lovely wooded path down to Quaras was gentle and well shaded, so we didn't work up too much of a sweat.

Beyond the well tended gardens of Quaras, where the lady gardeners gracefully accepted our compliments, the Pirimidi di Segonzano lurked. Knobbly spires that are relics from the erosion of glacial moraine deposited around 50 million years ago. We took a path that appeared to be to the ticket office, but after descending 200 metres, past various viewing platforms where the 'pyramids' were just visible through the trees, we found not a ticket office but a path heading up towards more pyramids. These '1st Group' pyramids were a little easier to photograph. We ascended a good 100 metres through these capped towers, before reaching a track that led gently into the village of Segonzano.

Our navigationally challenging day continued with a dodge the horse fly session and a search for Hotel alle Piramidi. We mislaid the E5 waymarks for a while and had to retrace our steps in an area where following the guide book instructions in reverse proved more challenging than usual. Basically, the hotel was much further down the hill than expected. We arrived in a bit of a lather, so were pleased to be cooled by drinks supplied by Fabrizio's ladies whilst they recalled their boss from important business. Gillian had suggested that we pay Fabrizio a visit, as he had helped her greatly with information about this area when she was preparing her E5 guide book a few years ago.

By the time the great man arrived we had cooled down and were able to spend a most pleasurable half hour with him. He's a gem, and we commend E5 walkers to stay at his hotel ( He will enhance your enjoyment of a visit to the area.

Sadly, we were unaware of this when we booked our accommodation, in addition to which a stop at Segonzano didn't really fit with our logistics.

When we paid our farewells to Fabrizio, who refused to accept any payment for his therapeutic drinks, the sky had darkened and he offered to drive us to Cembra. I think he agreed with our declining his offer, for no other reason that we would miss walking the path taken by Albrecht Dürer on a journey to Venice, after flooding required him to detour through this area, during which passage he made a number of inspired watercolours depicting the castle that we passed on the way down to the Torrent Avisio. (I've deliberately missed out the dates given in your book, Gillian, for a reason which I'm sure will make you laugh!)

A new bridge across the torrent enabled us to ascend ancient sunken paths that we could imagine being in use centuries ago in the time of Dürer. Fine views led back over the day's route, much of which was now shadowed by storm clouds. Our final 200 metre ascent led us up past vines and apricot and apple orchards to a grape processing plant in the faded village of Faver, and on to the more affluent Cembra, where Hotel al Caminetto provided an excellent room but would only offer half board if we stayed three nights. This actually saved us a few euros as the half board bit of our bill would have been more than the cost of the huge pizzas we enjoyed, with a few beers, before writing up the day's exploits.

After our meal, taken in the company of Mr and Mrs Fat and their son, Waddle, we were joined for a while by Lorena (hello Lorena), a language student who is in a dilemma as to where to choose for a six month overseas college placement. Her family lives locally and her dad knows Fabrizio. Sue wishes her Italian was as good as Lorena's English, or Fabrizio's for that matter. Having said that, they do all compliment her on her Italian.

It was raining as we went to bed. We won't complain if it's a bit cooler tomorrow....


Alan R - thanks again. Are you sure you weren't in Florida. Some good news for you is our planned sojourn in the UK in the autumn, which will actually include an Indian Summer.

Sue and Dave - thanks for the message. We hope the weather holds for your GR5 adventure.

9 July 2012
23km in 8 hours with 750m ascent
Other E5 walkers - perhaps two separate couples, coming the other way, but we failed to 'engage'
Flower of the Day - Three-veined Pink

Itinerary -

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Patrick Vincent said...

I camped above Faver in the woods near Lago Santo (where there is a nice cafe, by the way) and was kept awake by a family of wild pigs...

Alan R said...

There seems to be a bit of a trend forming with the photo’s. Sue with different fellows on a daily basis. Ok.

Florida! Is that an anagram fro something summery.

My walk today is from Todmorden to Rochdale. That’s if i can get there due to the flooding. Oh Joy.