The following morning I was awoken by the glaring sunlight shining straight into my face, which ordinarily would have annoyed me, but it was so beautiful and we had to get up early for our hike anyway that it made little difference.
I indulged in some Apfelstrudel for breakfast to set me up for the day ahead (pudding for breakfast - the day hasn't even started and I'm already winning)
We got a bit lost on the way to meet the group and realised we were going to arrive well after the agreed meeting time so decided to plot our own route to make sure we reached at least one summit of one of the surrounding mountains. And so it begins (still enthusiastic)
Don't worry, we left the road very soon to tackle the wilderness
Me feeling a bit like Meredith from Parent Trap hiking - in gym kit and totally unprepared
Worried that we wouldn't make it all the way up and back down in time for the barbecue we began to power-walk, or rather sprit, up the hill. This caused a bit of a division in our ranks based on stubbornness and pride, and resulted in a loss of two of our number to the sunbathing spot situated right by one of the many lakes around.
Issa and Cos worked on their tan and walked around the more picturesque, even fields as we began to tackle the mountain.
I think here is the appropriate moment for silence from my end so you can appreciate the spectacular views that I was exposed to, without interruption.
The path got a bit more challenging the higher we got but we steamed on through, encouraged by our quick assent
On our way up we even had a brief stint in France. I took great pleasure in standing across the boarder shouting that I was in two countries at once.
And to the victor, go the spoils - the assent was well worth it for this glorious view:
The way down naturally went a lot faster and we were also spurred on by the prospect of the barbecue below
And back at base
Ready for the BBQ, Italian style
The reason for this particular meet of this hiking group was to celebrate the completion of the new roof of the 'Capanna.' In true Italian style there was still some scaffolding up and you could see that the roof as about 90% finished. But any excuse for a party!
We enjoyed a constant flow of meat kebabs, grilled scamorza cheese, polenta, salsiche, bruschetta and more in the very unexpected sunshine. (The forecast had predicted rain for most of the day in this surprisingly tropical July).
We were even provided with some entertainment by this bouncy ball of a dog
This, although amusing, I could have done without. There were an astonishing number of semi-naked hikers, which is fine when you're in the solitude of the hills, but when you get near a more populated area, and a restaurant no less, isn't it the norm to show a bit of modesty?
The absolute best was the horse parked in the car park. We then later saw this gentleman ride off accompanied by his two dogs. A more perfect picture I couldn't have imagined.
After lunch we walked back to the car (which was a bit too much for some)...
...and headed back to Milan. A weekend escape to the country is always more than welcome, but the return to the city is also just as welcome.
To those of you who thought this blog was going to be a vanity project designed to showcase my glamorous existence, this next picture should be proof enough that this is not the case.
s**t happens, as they say.
and I have to wear a strapless dress to the opera in 3 days.... anyone have any advice?