This trip unexpectedly turned into a fantastic food adventure. The best I can remember (outside Japan, that is). Ohhh… these black smoked gnocchi with truffel and asparagus were to die for and the gnocco fritto a surprising start into a great meal.
The actual flying place is called “La Bandita” on Monte Morcia in Marche. For some unknown reasons, modellers refer to it as Monte Catria in Umbria (even Monte Catria is in Marche). Interesting piece of trivia.
I enjoyed two days of excellent flying conditions. This is the best place for alpine model RC soaring I know.
Armenzano – a very quaint and very small dwelling on the way from Assisi to our hotel (Le Silve di Armenzano). The UNESCO site is likely home to many more cats than humans (40) …
We spent two nights at Caroline and Marius’s place in Umbria. The “place” is a piece of a marvelously renovated, beautifully lost and fantastically located, remote hamlet called “Borgo di Santa Giuliana” solely reachable through a 30 minutes gravel-road drive from Umbertide.
Marius joked, we thought, that they would close the gate to prevent wild boars from getting in. It wasn’t a joke. I sighted a small group of boars searching for food right down the castle walls.
Monte Baldo 1752m -> Bocca di Navene 1425m -> Monte Laste 1941m -> Monte Altissimo 2079m -> Refugio Graziani 1650m -> Bocca di Navene 1425m ->Monte Baldo 1752m
17.5 km, 1000m up & down
A long hike to one of the highest peaks in the region, Monte Altissimo, 2079m.
I was a bit skeptical, when Philippe said he would come along and particularly when he planed to schlepp around his airplanes 800m of altitude up and down, which, in the end, turned out to be about 1000m. I am a hard-core hiker and walk this distance and height once a while, but not with a 10kg bag containing, among others two inconvenient 1.5m wings! It is rather a crazy attempt, I thought. But he was ready and passionate enough, so off we went.
First we went up to 1752m by a tele-cabin to Monte Baldo (no sweat : ), then on foot down to Bocca di Navene, 1425m. The first part was a wide open path but soon lead into a hiking path in the forest. The tree branches hanged so low that Philippe had to carry his 2-meter long airplane bag sideways on the rather slippery rocky path.
After a short break at the friendly restaurant at Bocca di Navene, the 600m ascent waited for us.
A short car road and then up again into the low-hanging forest path. The same exercise: Philippe carried his bag sideway and braved up to the rather steep hill. We could see soon the open area of 45-degree slope of grass and scattered rocks. It is sunny Sunday and lots of rather loud-speaking Italian hikers are on the path as well.
We are walking along a cliff which drops straight down to the Lake Garda, fantastic views as a reward for the effort.
At Mount Laste Philippe found a good spot and wind, and decided to test his airplane Shinto (a crazy Japanese name for an airplane!). It was not bad apparently but the scattered stones made his airplane landing rather unsafe.
After a simple cheese-bread sandwiches on the slope, we decided to go up to Mt. Altissimo. Relatively soon we were on the large boulder of Mt. Altissimo and joined a lot of hikers who came from the opposite direction – where the car park isn’t far.
We enjoyed a sweeping view of Lake Garda (but not Dolomitens, due to the clouds) and had to head back down, because Philippe thought that we otherwise may miss the last tele-cabin back down to Malescine!
Our way back was not easy. 800m down and then again the last stretch of 300m uphill again!
Getting up to the Monte Baldo (1752m) from the lake side is easy. The Funivie (Cabin) brings me up to the top and another 10 minutes of walking to the flying spot “Colma di Malcesine”. A huge mountain shoulder with enough space to land even the biggest models.
A fellow model glider pilot told me that he was able to fly DS with speeds up to 350km/h at one end of the shoulder. But as it is easy to get up, the many day tourists make safe dynamic soaring possible only after the last cabin has gone down.
For me it was pleasant thermal flying and safe landing against the slope with a Shinto J and a Thermik XXXL.
WALSA-Weg (WALensee-SArgans Trail)
Mels (near Sargans) to Bad Ragaz, 23 km
This hike was a series of challenges from the very beginning: a wrong bus information forced me to walk from the bottom of the valley instead of from Vermol, a further 4 km uphill hike including lovely 500 m of altitude. Well, off I go.
After already walking 2 hours, the path was suddenly marked “Gesperrt (Closed off)”! While I was looking at this sign in disbelief, “why now? why this sign not before?”, a car passed by. I quickly waived at the car to stop and asked two locals in the vehicle:
Is it really closed off? Can’t I go anyway? Do I really have to walk back 2 hours the same way!?
The man told me that it was due to a landslide and the path was closed off. Then the woman who seems to be his mother looked at me from the top to the bottom and said, “If you are careful, you can manage. But you have to be careful.” With her blessing, I decided to go ahead. I could turn back if it was too risky, I concluded myself.
After walking downhill a while, surely enough, I came to a more than 45-degree slope and saw a bridge gone with a landslide.
Very slowly one step after another, without much elegance, I managed to cross to the other side and to continue on the safe ground. Phew!
Next came another dangerously half-way fallen bridge over the stream! I tried to test the bridge but it looked wobbly. The stream was narrow so not dangerous, but I did not want to get my shoes wet or slip on and twist my ankle. On this path I have not seen any other hiker yet and I cannot expect anyone to rescue me in case of an accident….. A few good stones to hop on helped me to make it safely to the other side. Second done!
As the last challenge of today (enough for one day!), several gigantic fallen trees blocked the path completely and forced me to go back to the paved street : (
But I met a delightful Swiss couple, Claudia & Gion from Chur, who used to live in Japan over 10 years and speak very good Japanese. We hiked together for more than an hour with Gion talking about his experience in teaching psychology and with Claudia about doing Nishinjin-ori in Kyoto! The couple seems to be in their 70s but they have no problem walking up 500m non-stop. Some Swiss are impressively fit!
This amazing encounter and the fantastic view of the Rhein Valley and surrounding mountains had blown away all the little challenges “on the road”!