Mountain Music(Alabama) - Riding the Laveno Cableway in a Bucket -28th May 2016

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May 28th 2016
Published: June 2nd 2016
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The fine weather is holding for us and even if the mountains in the far distance have disappeared from our view because of either a greater haze or lower cloud than yesterday it looks like it should remain dry for Gretchen’s sightseeing tour of the day.

Surprisingly our tired muscles from yesterdays walk in the forest have recovered remarkably well which perhaps does prove that our fitness is not too bad at all. Gretchen has promised no long walks today so the muscles won’t be tested for two days in a row.

Our view of the lake is expansive and we have looked at various spots within our visibility range and wondered what was actually there. And it was one of these spots that Gretchen has got in mind as our main destination.

Because the lake is so large our drive today will be quite a bit longer than the last two days and so we planned a departure a bit earlier and had a bigger breakfast than usual so we don’t have to have stop for lunch.

Saturday in Italy and Europe generally, brings out cyclists in their droves. All kitted out in their ‘racing gear’ wearing their favourite team colours they peddle along the narrow roads as if they were in a race, often two abreast, and create another challenge for car drivers. So far we haven’t managed to knock any off their bikes and hopefully we can keep that record clean today too.

Our drive took us around the bottom of the lake and then up the eastern side. Initially Gretchen had Angera in mind, which appears to be the town on the opposite side of the lake that we wanted to explore. However we decided to go further to see what was a bit further up the lake side and then drop into Angera on the way home. Gina wanted to take us on a road that was well away from the lake but we ignored her and instead took other roads mostly within view of the lake and ignored her protestations.

We arrived into the picturesque town of Laveno and Gretchen spotted a cableway that went steeply up the mountainside right behind the town and thought we should explore the options of taking a ride especially as the weather was holding fine and the temperature had warmed up into the mid 20’s.

We found the cableway starting point and purchased our return tickets. We were not sure who would ever buy a one way ticket as the terminal was 1000 metres up the mountainside and it looked a steep and perilous descent on overgrown paths and a series of steps and steel ladders where there was no other option that straight up.

Then we had to make the decision for the ascent. Closed bucket or open bucket? We had little time to choose or think about whether our Travel Insurance policy covered us for an accident travelling in an open bucket on a cableway in Italy!I said ‘closed and Gretchen said ‘open’.And open it was!

The guy managing people getting into the buckets slowed the machine down, held the half door open for us and we virtually ran and jumped in. The door was slammed shut and we swung out over the edge and quickly started to rise.

The bucket was surprisingly stable even when we passed over each pylon.

There weren’t many takers either going up or down on what turned out to be an exhilarating ride and we were glad that we had done it.

The ride up lasted about 15 minutes and it was amazing just how steep it was, especially the last 200 or so metres.

At the top we had wide views of the lake over to Stresa and all the area and towns on this side of the lake that we had driven through to get here. The terminal for the cableway wasn’t quite at the top of the mountain and we stretched our legs to go part way up to the very top before realising that there probably wasn’t anything else to see anyway.

We also discovered the reason why someone might want to buy a one way ticket. People were jumping off the top of the mountain and paragliding down to a field we could make out at the bottom of the mountain. On the way down in our open bucket we passed a guy coming up sharing his bucket with his paraglider on a one way ticket to the top.

Back at the bottom we took a stroll around the town and found a Gelateria which served as our lunch. Gretchen stayed with her chocolate and yogurt while I tried an orange flavoured sorbet which lacked a bit of intensity. Still you have to try all the options and I think that by the time we leave Europe there won’t be many, if any that I haven’t given the taste to.

When we walked down to the town for our stroll we had passed a man and a woman with a sign directing cars they recognised further up the hill. We had wondered what it was all about in this quiet little town and it was only after we walked back up the hill and saw them still there and then another two guys with signs directing traffic into the car park we were leaving that we decided there must be a big party happening somewhere close by with attendees from out of town who did not know the area.

On the drive towards home we diverted to the town we had actually set out to visit first.

It was now heading towards mid afternoon and the market that had been going on for most of the day was now very quiet with just a few people including ourselves strolling by the stalls checking out the local produce and handicrafts. One of the things that we have learned about strolling around markets is that if you can’t eat your purchases before our next aeroplane ride then don’t buy it. We simply do not have any room in our suitcases for anything that has to fly back to New Zealand with us. It is a great way not to spend money too!

We walked down to the lake edge to try and get a perspective on where our apartment was in relation to Angera but couldn’t work it out at all.

It was only when we got back to the apartment that we reviewed the location of Angera from our terrace and found that we could not possibly see Angera from our place and that the town we can see has another name.

It will remain a mystery as tomorrow we take a quick trip over the border into Switzerland after a last minute decision to satisfy a long time desire to visit Luzern.

With night closing in we witnessed a spectacular lightening display as a storm moved through the area.There were few direct flashes of lightening but rather flashes that lit up the clouds making it seem all that much more dramatic.

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