Walking From Iseo – September 5th –September 12th
The forecast for the week was not good – an increasing probability of rain until Wednesday, when over 40mm was expected. However, if it hadn’t rained, we wouldn’t have experienced the amazing sight of the vertical, jagged-topped mountains poking through the thick layer of cloud, completely hiding Lake Iseo below. Everyone seemed to have a preferred way of keeping dry, few of which were entirely successful, and when we stopped for lunch, steam could be seen rising from members of the group as their clothes dried out in the sun.
The weather changed mid-week in time for the “free day” in Bergamo, with the excellent historic buildings and sights of the città alta – cathedral, baptistery, campanile, fountain, sundial/analemma. A range of food was on offer in the shop windows crammed with appetizing pizzas, or the more leisurely dining at the Al Donizetti, and restaurants around the piazza.
Back to the walking from Sale Marasino, where the brochure promised “elements of vertigo” on the Corna Trentapassi walk, but strangely not for the ascent of the Punta Almana, 1395m, which was billed as the (demanding) highlight of the week.
Climbing the Almana, we met a walker making the descent, shaking his head and making gestures indicating the steepness each side of the ridge walk. However, at the top was a family with very young children who seemed to have far fewer concerns.
Some of the group had chosen the alternative walk – an advantage of the 2 leaders/two grades arrangement – but those who decided to make the ascent, even opted for the additional 1½ hour walk back to the hotel from the café, rather than arranging a minibus.
Throughout the week, villages around Lake Iseo were preparing for their local festivals, the one at Sale Marasino featuring a pumpkin competition, previously won by one weighing 440kg. In addition, there was a variety of small pumpkins to buy, stalls selling local cured meats, liquorice, pasta, and cheeses, and restaurants & trattoria offering pumpkin-based dishes.
The late afternoon flight on the last day permitted a leisurely walk around Sale Marasino, which had been closed to traffic for the day, or to take the ferry to Carzano for lunch.