Sunday saw the arrival of one of the couples who'd arrived last weekend to go for a hike, Papa M's friends, and the plan was to set out on Monday to a rifugio (an inn) way up in the mountains.
Unfortunately our plans for Monday and Tuesday did not go ahead. On Sunday night we discovered that the weather, as usual, was going to change and that meant that on Tuesday it would be chucking it down - that's no good for hiking up or descending down mountains! So instead we took a long hike on the Monday.
Beginning early (now there's a surprise), we'd parked up the jeep (dammit I forgot to get a photo again!) by 9.15am and began our walk to Lago Miserin (that's a lake to you). We passed the Rifugio Dondena and then began climbing up. And up.
For what I think was the first time, my knees began to ache on the way up (the right one, anyway). My stupid knees. Previous thoughts of joining the walking society when I return to my British university next September vanished as with each step a stabbing pain shot through the joints. Not a happy bunny. However, after the way began to level out a little it got easier. And, as usual, I was rewarded with a grand view.
Yep. Wow. The only problem was the slight eyesore....
These pylons were enormous and you could hear the electricity humming very loudly above (slightly unsettling). Mama B said that they were French power lines (and not in a pleased tone).
We continued on and as we climbed the air grew colder (although maybe that was because the ground had levelled out and I was not panting and sweating as I had been previously - good god I need to exercise more). After a while the fog started to roll in.
As predicted, of course.
After just over two hours of hiking, we reached the lake, and I saw why such a fuss was made of this place: it was beautiful.
After a walk around the lake (and a lot of cows), we headed for the Rifugio Miserin, where we'd planned on spending the night. A quick discussion and it seemed we were all for a hot lunch inside the inn instead of the usual homemade sandwiches outside in the now freezing cold, for which I was very glad. We were listed the choices for today's lunch and I choose pollo e peperoncini (chicken and peppers - although I still swear I heard 'pepperoni', oops), which to my pleasant surprise turns out to come with rice and in a sort of curry sauce - like korma, which is by far my least favourite type of curry but it's been so long since I've had one that I lap it up.
Mama B had wanted to continue up for a bit after we'd eaten, but by this point the fog was descending further down the mountains towards us (and it was starting to rain) so that was a no go. We took the road down (not much of a road - I certainly wouldn't want to drive up or down it!) which was luckily a lot more gently sloped than the path up had been.
We reached the jeep and drove back down the mountain road - but about a third of the way down Mama B asked to stop so that she and her friend could walk down instead, following a path through the forest. I decided to join them (I'm still not a fan of the bumpy rides in the jeep with Papa M's less than desirable driving along mountain roads that have a long drop down on one side, surprisingly...) and I'm glad I did. It was cool but not cold in the forest although at times the fog was so thick you could barely see one foot in front of the other! It was, in a way, beautiful, and we made our way over streams, through the trees, and found wild strawberries to snack on on the way down.
The undesirable weather continued into Tuesday. The fog was thick and constantly moving, and it rained a little bit too. Yet we still decided to take a stroll around the village, which is pituresque even in such weather.
We made three enormous pizzas for lunch (much like the first time, although this time I had gorgonzola, prosciutto ham, tomato, black olives and mozzarella on my part - delish!) and, after the friends had left, we spent the afternoon indoors doing English lessons, reading, and playing Just Dance on the wii (which I'm terrible at, for the record).
Wednesday was a different story altogether. The sky is clear of cloud and has been all day! After a late start, in the morning we went up to the next village to check out the weekly market (mountainous activity (my own personal term right there) clothing; home decor; tshirts; fruit and veg; huge cheese wheels and bread). Then G and I took our English lesson outside in the glorious sunshine - although Mama B bid me wear a cap, of which I did not greatly approve.
In our lesson I decided to ask G what parts of the English language she struggled with the most, since I'm officially into my last week here and we may as well go over the hardest bits for her before I go. Normally in our lessons we work through exercises in the numerous workbooks that Mama B has provided us with - grammar, reading, UK culture etc. Plus a bit of chatting in English and her begging me to only test her on ten verbs and their forms (I agree, but for every one she gets wrong we have to do another, so normally around fifteen in total). Now we have a short list of things to go over in the next week, so that's good!
Yesterday we went on a hike that took all day - we left early in the morning and returned late in the evening, and I'll have to blog about it another time as I'm too tired to today!