We woke up to fine weather, as the above view form our hotel room shows, and decided on another tour from O.K.'s guide book. This one was to lead us to the peak called Cima del Morissolo (cima simply means mountain top, peak or summit in Italian). According to the book, this is the only place from where you can view the entire length of Lago Maggiore; 60 km in total. At 1,311 m, Morissolo was going to be only slightly higher than Monte Giove, where we had been on Tuesday.
After a hearty breakfast, we changed into our hiking clothes and boots, and drove to where the tour was supposed to start. We had both been a little apprehensive about driving there - we knew it was not going to be a long drive from Cannobio (less than half an hour, I think), but we did not want to repeat my experience with the narrow curvy mountain roads only two days earlier. So the deal was, if I feel bad again, we turn round at the first possibility, and do something else with no driving involved.
But guess what, I felt fine throughout, and when we did stop about halfway to the starting point, it was simply because the view was fantastic and we wanted to take pictures.
We followed the designated path, and while we did not have to master as much difference in height as on Tuesday's hike (880 m), the path was rough, rocky and unclear in parts. There were bits where I used not only my feet, but also my hands (just to be on the safe side), and I would not have wanted to hike there without proper boots.
But then, the view from the top! It was breathtakingly beautiful, spectacular - the photos can only give you a poor impression of what we really saw, and how it felt up there. Quiet, distant, clear. Nobody there but us.
Down there is Cannero, and round the bend, you can just about see Cannobio:
We did meet one or two people on the way to the top, and when we came back down, there were two young women on mountain bikes.
After exploring the tunnels and caves hewn into the mountain itself (sorry - no pictures; it was too dark and wet down there to pull out the camera), we continued our tour, now on an old military road. The road as well as the tunnels and caves were constructed in 1916, at the time of WWI. The idea was to create the infrastructure necessary for defense in case of an attack from Switzerland, Germany or Austria. According to one of the information signs put up near the entrance to one of the tunnels (where artillery was kept), up to 20,000 men were working at the construction at one time.
What I found interesting was that the works offered women a paid job for the first time in their lives - employed to transport provisions for the men and building materials by mule from the bottom of the mountains to the top. Up until then, women in that region and that time did not work for money, but struggled along with their families to live off what little they managed to yield from the land. It must have been a big change for the region, but was of course short-lived; once the work (and the war) ended, they had to think of other means to make a living, or return to the old ways.
The military road was very comfortable to walk on, and kept to the same height nearly all the time:
All in all, it was more a walk than a hike, with the exception of the rougher bits up to the Cima. But with the fantastic views, it was the perfect ending to our holiday.
We drove home the next day (through several thunderstorms with some really heavy rain fall) in around 5 1/2 hours. Leaving was not made easier by the clear blue sky we saw from our patio that morning: