Il giorno di avventure: parte I.
April 29, 2013 § 2 Comments
Day: most breathtaking view on top of a rocky mountain, after a long hike. Transition: old cloister converted into vineyard. Night: acoustic concert in a craft beer shop. Italy, you just keep catching me off-guard.
I wanted a hike. So, Italian and I jumped into the car and drove through the countryside until the gentle hills became jagged mountains. A little bit before reaching Fabriano there is parco naturale della gola della Rosa e di Frasassi. We have been inside the caves before and make an effort to stop by our favorite food stand every time we need to drive across the country, but haven’t wandered around the region yet. So, that is what we did this time. First, a stop at the presepio vivente (a real-life nativity scene that is, in the middle of the spring, clearly not in use. But still the biggest in the world).
At the top of the stairway etched into the side of the mountain is the Tempio del Valadier. It was kind of like what you would expect a temple to look like in the Zelda games; and not a little, wimpy one at the beginning of the game, but a really complex one near the end of the overlaying quest. I was half-expecting large vultures to come knock us off the cliff. Definitely not what I was expecting to stumble upon, but loved the surprise. I highly recommend it. And, to the side of the temple that appears out of nowhere is another little sanctuary- which I appreciated the most for all of the bracelets and offerings that pilgrims from all over the world left behind.
Then, pit stop at the usual food stand in the middle of nowhere for some warm crescia with ciauscolo and pecorino (this is seriously the best food in the entire world).
Then, time to ditch the car and stumble around until we find a hiking path. Which we eventually did, and followed up, up, up to the very, very top. And a you pulled yourself over the last edge, a great abyss into nothing greeted you- and, as you did a double-take and tried to catch your breath, and realize how close to death you are standing– that’s when the goosebumps and lightheadedness came. And then disappeared, and were replaced by an adrenaline that nothing else but nature can inspire. And you felt like you were on top of the world- which you were. Or, at least, standing at the edge of the foro degli occhialoni.
Then we learned the meaning behind color-coded trails: white and red, easy/intermediate. Yellow and red, climbing equipment required. Unless you’re beasts like us, and rely upon natural skill and stupidity and faith in good fortune to keep from falling.