Day 8 - Saturday 23-06-2012
On Saturday we decided to take it easy and visit Aosta itself. It's an old Roman settlement where you can still see some ancient roman remains. The city center was very nice and we wandered around there for a couple of hours and visited the cathedral. Before going there we also visited a small church in the town of St. Pierre where we rented our studio apartment.
After visiting Aosta we drove up in La Vallée de Rhêmes and picnicked there. We read a book and just enjoyed the peace and quite of the beautiful alpine scenery that surrounded us.
Day 9 - Sunday 24-06-2012
On Sunday Fenneke still couldn't walk because of her blisters so we took it easy again. We visited the falls near Lillaz and had a picnic up there.
Day 10 - Monday 25-06-2012
After two days of rest we decided to do one of the longer hikes. We drove to Pont (along the way we spotted a Chamois), from where our hike started. When we got there it started to rain, but we decided to start anyway. After about 10 minutes it stopped raining, but the sun wouldn't come out. We followed the trail which ascended through a nice forest up to Croix de la Roley. From there we followed the trail for 5 km across the Nivolet plains which is a beautiful plateau tucked in between mountains of 3.000 meters and higher. We also had a great view of the Gran Paradiso.
We crossed the Nivolet Plateau in about two hours and reached the lakes of Nivolet which were still partly frozen which looked spectacular. We had lunch at Rifugio Citta di Chivasso. The wind was pretty strong at times it felt a bit cold. After having lunch we followed the trail from the rifugio to Lake Rosset. From there the official trail stopped, but we continued on to the three lakes of Trebecchi through various snowfields. At the three lakes there we lots of snowfields and the sights were beautiful. At the end of the third lake we spotted a herd of Chamois.
After the three lakes we searched for the trail to the last lake, called Lago Nero. According to the trail description we were to see this last lake at the very last moment, nevertheless we felt we lost the trail at some point. However, after ascending a hill we suddenly stood before this amazing looking "hidden" lake. It looked truly beautiful in its secluded location. To continue our path we had to cross a pretty wild stream which ended in a waterfall a couple of meters downstream.
We continued the "trail" and a couple of hundred meters above the Nivolet plateau which gave us an amazing view of its magnitude. After a while we reached a pretty steep field of large boulders which we had to cross. I though it was a bit scary, but Fenneke did it without hesitation. At some point we had to climb using our hands to make sure we didn't fall. After the stone field we quickly reached the point of the original trail from where we had to descend back down to Pont.
During this hike we spotted several types of wildlife including prey birds, chamois, marmots and even a small red fox.
Bellow you'll find some pictures and a GPS track log:
View 2012-06-25 - Hiking @ Piano del Nivolet, Aosta #3 in a larger map
Day 11 - Tuesday 26-06-2012
On our last day in the Aosta valley we wanted to do the hike to Mont de la Saxe. During this hike you're supposed to have a great view of the Mont Blanc Massif. We drove to Courmayeur from where we took a bus to the trailhead. The hike ended near Courmayeur, so we could walk back to the car.
We started to ascend to rifugio Bonatti where we arrived after a short hour. The weather was both rainy and windy, but we decided to continue on to the pass of Col entre deux Sex. The hike to the pass was nice, it went along a plateau in between several mountains. There were still some snowfields there, but they were melting fast. When we reached the pass the weather was quite bad. When we saw which mountain we had to climb, combined with the weather conditions, we decided to head back to the rifugio. Although this was disappointing it was the correct choice to make, we enjoyed some hot chocolate at the rifugio before heading back down to the bus station.
Although we didn't complete our entire hike on this last day in the Aosta valley we had an amazing time. The valley is a beautiful place to stay and enjoy the alpine scenery. It's a very convenient location to go hiking in different parts of the alps and to visit the Gran Paradiso National Park.
Bellow you'll find some pictures and a GPS track log of this hike:
View 2012-06-26 - Hiking @ Mont de la Saxe, Aosta #4 in a larger map
Day 12 - Wednesday 27-06-2012
Today we left the Aosta valley and drove to La Spezia. From there we planned to spent two days visiting Cinque Terre. Before going to La Spezia we drove to Portofino, which is a nice and expensive town with a cute harbor. After visiting Portofino we drove along the coastline towards La Spezia avoiding the highway. At La Spezia we checked in at our hotel and had dinner at a nice trattoria across the street.
Day 13 - Thursday 28-06-2012
On Thursday we ded our first of two hikes at Cinque Terre. We drove to the center of La Spezia from where we took the bus to Porto Venere. We started early in the morning so we could hit the trail before it started to get to hot, the weather predictions for this day we + 30 degrees Celsius. The hike started from Porto Venere with a steady climb of 300 meters to reach the top of the cliffs. Although it was still early it was already getting hot. When we approached the top of the cliff we had to do some scarry rock scrambling with steep drop offs right into the ocean. At the top we had an absolutely amazing view of Porto Venere behind us and the town of Riomaggiore in front of us. At the top we also found a geocache.
We continued along the ridgeline through a forrest to the small town of Campiglia. Shortly thereafter we had lunch at the highest point of the hike. From there we slowly descended down to Riomaggiore, the first town of Cinque Terre, which we reached after a couple of hours after our start. We strolled through the town and the took the Via dell'Amore to Manarola, the second town of Cinque Terre. We ended up hiking over 15,5 km on this very hot day.
After enjoying the second town we took a boat back to La Spezia. During the boat trip we had a magnificent view of the cliffs we traversed earlier today. We ended the day in small local pizzeria watching Italy beat Germany in the European Championship.
Bellow you'll find some pictures and a GPS track log of this hike:
View 2012-06-28 - Hiking @ Cinque Terre #1 in a larger map
Day 14 - Friday 29-06-2012
On our second full day near Cinque Terre we started early and took the train to Manarola where we ended the day before. From there we hiked up to Groppo and then on to Volastra from where we had a great view of Corniglia down bellow. We hiked to various vineyards and descended through the woods into Corniglia. From there we took the trail to Vernazza via Carniglia which is a well known part of the main trail through the Cinque Terre National Park. We did this last part in the middle of the day while it was quite hot. When we finally reached Vernazza it stopped us in our tracks because of the amazing views from above on the medieval town. After visiting the town Fenneke took a swim in the sea in the towns harbor, just to cool of a bit after our 13 km hike.
After taking the train back we enjoyed dinner in a nice small trattoria near our hotel.
Bellow you'll find pictures and a GPS track log of our hike:
View 2012-06-29 - Hiking @ Cinque Terre #2 in a larger map
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