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Wojciech's Travel log

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You can lose everything, but nobody will take away what you saw and what you experienced...

Log entries 71 - 80 of 2443 Page: 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Oct 02, 2020 12:00 AM Corno Grande - 2912 above the sea...

Corno Grande - 2912 above the sea... You know that I love the mountains. Today, in the sunny day I tried to climb go the top of Corno Grande - the highest peak of the Apenines.
It looks great at approach - see the picture. The trailhead is at the observatory on Campo Imperatore. It is disappointing : no maps, no info desk, no trail scheme. I started my walk at 9.30. Half an hour later I reached first pass - around 2300 m. On tbe other side of the pass first
wet snow appear. Snow was fresh - snowfall was few days ago. Not easy to go without crampons... views are great... After steep and risky climb I reached the ridge on the level 2500. Strong, icy wind here.. the panoramic views are great, but you should rather look where do you step. More snow... No chains, no security ropes... In the summer it could be OK, but today you can easily slide down.... Before final, steep climb to the summit I decided to give up. I do not beat any records and there is a limit of the risk I can accept. 2700 m - more than enough! . The descent was not so easy too... But what a views!

Oct 01, 2020 12:00 AM Romantic Castle, medieval Santo Stefano...

Romantic Castle, medieval Santo Stefano... Old Italian lady - funny owner of the bed & breakfast I stay in Sulmona had a mercy on me: for "included" breakfast instead few dried biscuits with jam she brought (after short explanation on Polish cuisine) from the shop few slices of ham and a flat rolls... I was feeling much better, starting today's journey... Soon I started to climb mountain roads, enjoying the views of the little townships located on the top of the hills. The main attraction of today's route was the romantic castle of Rocca Calascio - see the picture. Built on the level 1500 m in the 15th century offers great, 360 degrees panorama. The highest peak of the Apenines was also visible.
To reach the castello you must leave the car in the park and climb to the ruins by foot a bit more then 20 minutes... It is worth! The same mountain road took me later to San Stefano di Sessanio. This little town was founded by Medici family. It preserved medieval character - it is the stone labitynth without any inclusions... Restauration works are in progress... It will be a jewel for the next season! I stay at empty residence "Belvedere" enjoying really great view from my window and resting before tomorrow's heavy hike. :)

Sep 30, 2020 12:00 AM High passes, canyon, snowy mountains - all in the sun!

High passes, canyon, snowy mountains - all in the sun! Nights are cold in the mountains, but when the strong sun appeared today it is gets much warmer. At 9.30 am I was ready for departure. Soon my rented lancia ypsilon was climbing the narrow, mountain road heading to Scanno. From the pass on the way there were great view of the surrounding peaks. I must confess that very often I stop the car in the dangerous places to take the pictures. Shame on me! But the traffic on this roads is so weak that I decide to break the law :) Today the car of "carabinieri" were passing by, while I was taking video and they even didn't stop!
Picturesque little town of Scanno lies in the valley, close to the beautiful mountain lake. (on the picture) From the lakeside narrow road goes down to the deep and very impressive canyon. This canyon is the challenge for the driver... So many dangerous turns...
I was happy to drive back on the regular road to the old city of Sulmona, located at the bottom of snow-capped mountain range. Sulmona is a city of artists, and has really wide Piazza Maggiore, where local people promenade in the evening. Most of them in the masks...

Sep 29, 2020 12:00 AM Hiking to Monte Tranquillo

Hiking to Monte Tranquillo Lovely sun since the morning! At 9.30 I was already on the trail - accompanied by a friendly white sheepherd dog. Can you kmagine that he was following me 7 hours - to the pass on the lewel 1717 m and back? OK. Italian mountain trails are marked, but it is very poor marking. Climbing to the Tranquillo I was forced to use GPS to find my way... just below Tranquillo there is a lonely, locked church Santa Madia de Monte Tranquillo with a great view. - see the picture. It took me 2,5 hours hiking to get there. But it is worth to continue the hike to the pass between Tranquillo and Pietrooro 1717 m to see the view of the range and the valley on the other side of the pass. I didn't see any path to the summit of Tranquillo. You can continnue the hike along the range, but remember that the next path down into the valley is after the 3rd peak... I returned home after 7 hours on the trail - tired but happy...

Sep 28, 2020 12:00 AM It is raining in Apenine Mountains!

It is raining in Apenine Mountains! I spent the night in the lovely, Alpine-style, cozy hotel "Garni Astoria". It was nice to see the blue skies ovef the mountains from my balcony. But is was already cloudy when I was departing at 9 am. Uuuu... But the views were still great when I was driving down to Castel di Sangro (discounted supermarket is here to buy the food before going up to the villages) and then along Sangre river to the nice and long Lake Barrea - see picture. Village Barrea, overlooking the lake is very picturesque. Think about staying here for the night, if you will come here. Then I made a stopover in the little hill-village of Opi. The cobbled streets of Opi are really steep! They describe Opi as "borghi piu belli d'Itali" - one of the most beautiful townships in Italy. I liked especially flowers in the windows. At the top of the hill there is a viewpoint "belvedere" offering panorama of the valley. But it was raining and mountains were covered by clouds.
So I drove to Pescasseroli - little resort town, center of Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo, Lazzio e Molise located on the level of 1200 m. Many trails go from here to the peaks and passes. In the park office they offer detailed map for 12 euro... Thank you... What I really want is a good weather for hiking. Maybe tomorrow?

Sep 27, 2020 12:00 AM Back in the mountains...

Back in the mountains... Oksana, my friendly host for goodbye offered me a jar of her home-made jam. This is not an Italian behaviour! You have to have Slavic soul to be so generous to the stranger! Thank you my dear !
Driving initially in the direction of Napoli soon I turned left and started to climb the slopes of the Apenines. The road was empty on the Sunday morning so I stopped several times for the pictures, especially to photograph little, remote towns and settlements stuck to the green mountain slopes.
The only bigger town on the route was Castel di Sangro. Then the road became steep and I found myself on the level of the clouds...
In the middle of the mostly cloudy day I reached the historic town of Pesconstanzo. It is small, but has roman-baroque basilica Santa Maria del Colle. Sunday service was just going inside... There are more stylish houses in the narrow streets and Piazza del Municipio.
Rain arrived and I escaped to look for my accommodation for the night. I will sleep on the level 1400 m above the sea! Let's pray for the sunny weather for tomorrow :)

Sep 26, 2020 12:00 AM Monte Cassino - where Polish heroes sleep

Monte Cassino - where Polish heroes sleep In the morning I rented a car in Pescara (expect to pay 20 euro per day with basic insurance and unlimited mileage). Then I drove 200 kms through the picturesque Apenine mountains to the little town of Cassino. A huge mountain, 500 m high, with monastery on the top is overlooking the town and main road Rome - Naples. To control this important road during WW2 Germans fortified the monastery. It was taken only by Polish troops after heavy fights. 1050 Polish soldiers died in action - they are buried on the war cemetery below the monastery.
For the Poles it is like pilgrimage place.
I was in Italy 6 or 7 times, but Monte Cassino was always of my trail. Today the day arrived to salute the heroes... They died here for the freedom of Poland...
The huge Benedictine Monastery containing the grave of St Benedict was rebuilt and is open for visitors. Entry is free except the museum. If you do not have a car public bus go there few times a day... Otherwise it is sternous climb. I was lucky regarding the weather: after mostly cloudy day the sun was shining just before sunset,when I was there...

Sep 25, 2020 12:00 AM The lack of the luck...

The lack of the luck... Termoli, Italy. My "included" Italian breakfast consist of one cup of coffee and one croissant. Never mind! I put into my bag sandwiches and bottle of water and went to the port. In front of the ticket office some 30 people was waiting. Why they don't sell tickets? After 10 minutes they announced that today's sailings to Tremiti Islands are cancelled due to the bad weather....
I always repeat: even the experienced traveller need also a bit of luck!
Next time, maybe..
I decided to visit instead the coastal town of Vasto - some 37 kms away to the north (Tremiti are 37 kms to the east -in the Adriatic).
Train ticket cost me 3 euro each way. Vasto is one of the hilltop cities with medieval history. Stazione ic on the sea level (there are wide, sandy beaches) and some 3 kms away, so I was walking first to the bottom of the 150-m hill and then climbed to the old city for the nice views of the Adriatic. There are churches, the castle and a nice promenade - a kind of the big balcony overlooking the beaches. They have also the monument of the mermaid, staying on the rock rising from the shallow water....

Sep 24, 2020 12:00 AM Sipping wine in Termoli

Sipping wine in Termoli Again I started my day in Impero Bar - buying the bus ticket for the ride Manfredonia to Foggia (2,90 euro). The bus was delayed 15 min, but I was still on time at Foggia station. Self-service ticket selling machines are in all Italy are great source of info about rail connections and price options. They will show you timetable A to B for the chosen day including the buses operated by railway companies and there will be the price shown for every connection. The prices vary. I go to Termoli on cheapest regional train (look for the R in train number) paying 6,50 eu, but the next train cost 3 times more... Well - the bad thing is that A is always the station where you are. The other bad thing is that sometimes the machine is broken (Italy!) - that's what's happened to me today :) But Foggia is a big station so I bought my ticket in the window.
After an hour on one-carriage train I disembarked in a charming coastal city of Termoli. It is already Molise Province. Termoli has interesting Swabian Castle (see picture) but the reason I am here are the ships going from the little port to Tremiti Islands. My host informed me that the next one will sail tomorrow at 9.00 But this is Italy so you have to check double. I went to the little harbour to recognize that tomorrow departure is at 8 am.
I stay in the lovely apartment in the old town.
In the supermarket around the corner the 1l box of the acceptable red wine cost 1.5 euro, while the kilo of bread - 2,50. Let's drink for tomorrow's weather! They say that there will be strong wind and the sea will be rough! :)

Sep 23, 2020 12:00 AM Gargano Peninsula

Gargano Peninsula They wrote that it is one of the most beautiful regions of Italy.
Based in the lovely town of Manfredonia in the morning I went to Bar Impero. No, not for a drink but to buy the bus ticket to Monte Sant' Angelo, which lies on the mountain, 800 m above sea level. In the 5th century archangel Michel appeared there to the local bishop and since then this is the pilgrimage site. Even emperor Otto was here... Our bus survived the long climb, then I was walking up about 2 kms to the sanctuary. Surprisingly it is not the church but the grotto reachable via the stairs and corridors. Silver statue of angel stands on the footprint of the archangel. Few people only because of the pandemy... Norman castle is overlooking the sanctuary, but the sea down there is in the haze - it is so high here.
In the afternoon I took another bus to Vieste, on the end of peninsula. The ticket costs 4,30 euro. Fortunately the bus was going via the spectacular coastal road ("littoral") opening the great views of the white, limestone cliffs, beaches, green forests. The mosts beautiful area is around Matinetta. Yes, Gargano Peninsula is beautiful! I returned hungry but happy after sunset. What a day!

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