June to September is a heavenly time for hikers in Italy since the weather is consistently nice in these months.
It seems like only yesterday that it was October and I was heading back to the States wistfully saying goodbye to Bologna, knowing that hiking season would be over by the time I returned. Now, March is here teasing us with some Spring-like, blue sky days (interspersed by frigid, rainy days albeit); and Bologna’s trekking program Trekking col Treno kicked off their 2013 hiking season last weekend. Could it be?! Is it time to hike again? Continue reading
Luke and I had been hankering to visit the Dolomites since we first heard about them. The Dolomites are a section of the Alps in north-eastern Italy recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage sight for its beautiful mountain landscapes. So when we found ourselves with a free weekend in between our Summer and Fall visitors, we sped North in our Fiat Panda rental to take action on a hiking itinerary recommended to us by a friendly Dolomites mountain guide.
The hike brought us to the famous Tre Cime, one of the best-known mountain groups in the Alps. The recommended hike was a 3-day hike, but we skipped the last leg for a 2-day hike, sleeping overnight in the popular Rifugio Locatelli at the base of the Tre Cime.
Since moving to Italy, I’ve been eager to visit an Italian refugio. A rifugio is a mountain hut where hikers, skiers, mountain bikers and the like can find food and often lodging at a reasonable price. A “true” rifugio is located in the middle of the mountains and can only be reached by foot. Many people will do multi-day hikes (sometimes 10 days or longer), hiking from hut-to-hut as they go.
When our plans for an overnight hike to a hut in the Dolomites were foiled this weekend, we set out to recreate the experience closer to home in Parco Regionale del Corno alle Scale. Continue reading
This past weekend we made a last minute attempt to plan a trip to the famous Dolomites using a 2-3 day hiking itinerary that we had tucked away for a free weekend. Alas, last minute planning doesn’t really fly when you are planning a trip to one of the most popular attractions in Italy during prime hiking season. Once my inbox was filled with e-mails from completely booked rifugi (the mountain shelters we were hoping to sleep in), we quickly started formulating our plan B. With the help of a 9-year-old guidebook I checked out from the library, we landed on a weekend trip to Parco Regionale del Corno alle Scale. Continue reading
In the beginning of July, we accompanied a friend on a family vacation to Portofino, where we stayed in the hills on a former olive tree farm (yes, we are molto fortunati). One of the highlights of the trip was hiking from Portofino to San Fruttuoso. In fact, I liked the hike so much that I did it twice in one week (once with others staying at the house and again with Luke when he joined for the weekend).
Like many Americans, I had heard of Portofino (a former fishing village and now upscale vacation spot located near Genoa). I had never heard of its neighbors, Santa Margherita Ligure and Paraggi (where we visited frequently during our stay). And I had never heard of San Fruttuoso (a tiny village that can only be reached by foot or by boat). And so, when I agreed to walk to a place called San Fruttuoso, I had no idea what was in store at the end of the 2 hour trail. Continue reading
As I mentioned in my last post, Luke and I have been trying to spend less time at Ikea and more time hiking around Bologna. So we pulled out a map (okay, Google Maps on our iPhones), picked out a Regional Park nearby, and jumped in the car. We ended up heading to Parco Storico di Monte Sole.
At Parco di Monte Sole, we found what we were looking for. A nice day. Peaceful surroundings. Hills to hike. Good views.
It’s time to get serious. Serious about hiking that is.
One of the perks of living in Bologna is that it is surrounded by beautiful hills. It’s also not far from the Apennine mountains, two National Parks, and 12 Regional Parks. Our schedule over the last few months has been packed and has left little time for hiking near Bologna. We’ve been travelling a lot, and when we haven’t been travelling, we’ve been spending a good portion of our time in the Bologna Ikea, carrying Ikea purchases down the streets of Bologna, or assembling Ikea furniture. Thank goodness Ikea offers a decent lunch or we wouldn’t have survived. But with summer in full swing, it’s time to forget about curtains, plungers, and ice trays, and it’s time to start hiking.
As I was researching hikes near Bologna, I stumbled across CAI 902, an hike that starts just outside the walls of Bologna Centro. Continue reading
A few weeks ago, we went to Zermatt, Switzerland (home of the majestic Matterhorn) to meet up with a buddy for some hiking. When I reflect back on the trip — the week leading up to it, travelling by train, hiking, and meeting the Matterhorn — I am incapable of visualizing Luke and I experiencing these things. I, instead, visualize two Muppets. Hint: one’s pink and one’s green. This is thanks to my oldest sister, who has an innate ability to turn any situation into a plot for a Muppet Show sketch. During some past stressful experience, my sister cunningly Muppified the situation casting me as Miss Piggy (the Missy Piggy who might karate-chop the nearest person) and Luke as Kermit (not the cheerful Kermit singing the Rainbow Connection, but the one distressed with taming Miss Piggy). And so, now, whenever Luke and I are in a stressed state, I alternate between being stressed out and visualizing ourselves as Muppets (which, fortunately, is a good technique for reducing stress).
Our last post was titled “Happy Spring, Everyone!”
I spoke too soon.
Just moments after uploading that post, Luke and I headed out to explore the hills of Bologna, and it was the PERFECT spring day. There’s no day in all the days that have ever been that could be better suited for a blog post titled “Happy Spring”. In fact, when we checked in at our first destination on FourSquare, one of the comments read “If you are there it means only one thing: springtime has come!”
Due to our lack of Internet during the week, we weren’t all out prepared for our first weekend in Bologna. But we had a guide book in hand. Actually it was on my PC since it was the E-book version. It was titled “101 cose da fare a Bologna almeno una volta nella vita” (“101 things to do in Bologna at least once in your life”), and as you might have guessed, it was written in Italian. I couldn’t understand much of what the book was instructing us to do, but I knew that #81 sounded intriguing. It included words like avventurarsi, parco, monte, splendidi panorami, punto panoramico, bella passeggiata, una splendida vista, and picnic. Continue reading