Calalzo, North East Italy

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May 31st 2011
Published: June 2nd 2011
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The Sentry Post at the Pass with encumbant "soldiers" checking out invaders from Austria
A hiking day today. We set off up to the Valley of Visdende, 30 minutes drive from Calalzo. By Italian standards, we were "in the sticks". It is a small isolated valley on the border with Austria. We arrived at a small group of buildings where we got some instructions on where to go and to get some lunch made since there was nothing open - too early in the season. The man there regaled us with the stories about when Pope JP used to visit to walk there since he love the peace. He also plied us with Grappa. The first was ok but those made with pine berries and wild asparagus were not! Needless to say, we thought we were on jet fuel to set us on our way.
After some debate about where we could park or could not, we finally drove up the valley to a parking place - they have the "Flower Police" here to ensure people do things according to the law for the area. Don't park, means don't park. Don't pick the flowers, remove plants or disturb the animals means just that. I guess a little like our National Park Rangers but with more of a policing function.
Our walking trail took us up to the Pass at 2159m next to Mt Cecido zig zagging it's way up a 4 wheel drive track until we came to a barracks inhabited by soldiers from the 1st WW guarding the border. Following a vehicle track is longer but more gradual than the walking tracks that tend to take a shorter but steeper route.
At the Pass are soldiers barracks from the 1st WW where they were guarding the border which runs along the steep mountain peaks creating a barrier against any marauders except at the passes. We stepped over the posts marking Austria from Italy to say "we've been here". And so, back down again.
While we still had time we drove the various roads in the valley to check out places to eat and also to see the lifestyles in this area which is essentially all dairy and timber milling. We're not sure how they make a living but people were certainly out and about, tending animals, cutting trees, cutting firewood, cutting logs, making cheese, and running small family restaurants and guest houses.
The area is beautiful. Full of trees, rolling pastures, then remote rocky highlands, and above that soaring peaks. Stunning


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