Saturday, 20 May 2017

Walking to Cannero - Part I

Wednesday morning looked like this:

As the forecast was for unsettled weather and the clouds made us believe it, we decided on a shorter hike, rather a walk, which would not lead us too far away from opportunities for shelter. It turned out we did not need any shelter, as the day was quite beautiful, but we did not know that when we set off after breakfast.

Our walk (which was actually rather steep and challenging in some parts, not something you'd do for a leisurely stroll on a Sunday afternoon) took us south of Cannobio, on old mule paths in the woods, following the shoreline high up, via a village called Carmine Superiore to the next town, Cannero.

Along the way, I took too many pictures to pack into one post.

View of Cannobio soon after we started to walk:

A lot of it was through woodland (mainly chestnut trees), but in between there were many spots offering great views of the lake.

A tiny hamlet with an even tinier chapel, and what used to be the main flour mill for Cannobio (according to our little guide book). Imagine the people back then carrying sacks of grain up to the mill and the finished product back down every time, all on mules' backs - or their own.

Then the first glimpse of Carmine Superiore and its church. This medieval village is still not accessible by car. Some of its houses stand empty, but a lot of them have been lovingly restored and are now lived in; some permanently, some only in the summer.
I was pleased to find this blog about the place, and am going to explore it further as soon as I get the time.

The church (from around the year 1330, with most of the frescoes being painted in the 15th century) was locked, but there is a rather good description of it on the sign near the door. Also, a large window has been purpose-built into its back wall (you can't see it in the pictures). Putting a 1-Euro-coin into a slit in the wall turns the lights on inside the church, so that tourists can admire the frescoes.

The views from the terrace are beautiful:

Eventually, we moved on, leaving the village at its other end.

Our next stop was Cannero, which will be the subject of one of my next posts.

Friday, 19 May 2017

On Higher Ground

When I was a girl, I spent a few holidays (summer and winter) in the German region called Allgäu, south of where we live. (I did show you glimpses of that area when I revisited it for New Year's Eve in 2015/2016; you can find those posts here and here.)
Also, my sister and I went to summer camp twice when we were young; once in Switzerland and once in the alpine region of Italy (Southern Tyrolia). That had been, so far, all my experience with hiking up and down real mountains.

Last week Tuesday, on the 9th of May, that was to change: O.K. and I decided to hike to the top of Mount Giove, which raises above Cannobio and was well visible from our hotel room.

But first of all, here is the sight that greeted us that morning from our patio:

Our first stop was the church and village we could see from our room, Sant'Agata.

From there, you already have a good view of Cannobio and across the lake:

Our route took us upwards and onwards, through the village:

A steep uphill stretch through the woods followed, with a stop at a chapel (San Luca) and past the ruins of an abandoned village (one of many in this area). We did not stop for breath, let alone photos. Only when we arrived here, a bit more than half way up the mountain, did we stop.
This small cluster of buildings is an "Alpe", a sort of mountain farm where guests can stop for just a drink or a snack or even spend the night or a longer period in one of the houses.

The views from up here were fantastic, but I found something much closer to look at, too:

Signposts are always welcome, even though we had a good guide book with us:

 For a little while, we walked on this almost even, comfortable road. Then it was time for the last steep bit, and finally, we were on top of Mount Giove (Giove is Italian for Zeus, the highest god in Greek mythology) at a height of just under 1,300 m. 

From the mountain top, looking away from the lake, I spied this half-abandoned village:

The man on the bench and a lady with  a dog (already gone by then) were the only other two people we met here.

A "before and after" is always interesting, isn't it :-D 
Having covered a height difference of 880 m was no mean feat for me, but I enjoyed every minute of it!

On our way back down (on a different route) we spotted the gorge of Sant'Anna, where the river Cannobino comes through on its way to Cannobio and, ultimately, the lake. We were going to walk to the gorge on another day that week.