Parents, Cows and Butterflies

DSC_01672It is definitely summer in Italy. The temperature has been cranked up to 30 degrees and half of Turin has closed as the inhabitants of the city flee to the countryside or to the sea in search of fresh air and cool breezes.

In contrast to the locals, my parents headed to this stuffy city for their holidays. And even though they were here to see where I lived, I used the opportunity (with access to a car), to imitate the locals, and get out.

Our first weekend we drove up to the mountains. It has been a long-time goal of mine to get into the mountains properly, specifically as there are so many famous, beautiful valleys to be seen (and explored) in the area. Balancing our fitness levels and finding easily accessible locations was a little bit of a challenge. All of the accommodation out in the country was fully booked, presumably with local tourists, and we had to settle for driving out from Turin every day. This limited the destinations, because frankly we were not willing to spend endless hours in the car each day. Even though we all enjoyed driving up the winding roads and around the hairpin bends, there is a limit to our patience!

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The highlight of this weekend was definitely a trip up to the Aosta valley. Here mam had found a walk which was supposed to feature the Matterhorn from the back, a steep walk up a hill and along a ridge, largely following the path of Religious icons. Although we could not see the Matterhorn due to clouds (a return trip is necessary), it was a great trip, starting with a steep ascent until we reached the saddle of the hill and proceeded along the ridge.

DSC_01812On the way we disturbed a herd of mountain goats, ate lunch with a spectacular view of the valley, and carefully picked our way around and over boulders and rocks. Dad turned back once we met the ridgeline, while Mam and I pressed on, our final goal: a white statue of Mary, visible for miles.

Following the “we made it” photos, we scampered back down, taking small breaks to talk to the cows and try and get the perfect shot of the small blue butterflies, which danced across the fields. Final stop of the day was a dairy farm which produced and sold countless types of cheese, yogurt, milk, and ice cream. Possibly the most delicious reward ever, we savoured our purchases, eating the ice cream immediately and then buying tasters of countless types of cheese to extended the joy. (Definitely the second reason to go back!)

DSC_02132Anyone who might be interested in this walk, head to Lignod and look for paths 2 or 105. More precise information can be found here: http://de.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=12214028

The only downside I can think of was that it’s an ‘out and back’ walk, but any walking map will likely show a way to make it a round trip, as the region is covered with different walking paths.

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