By the time the boys were headed back to school after the Christmas holidays I also felt the need for a change of routine. With a bit of last minute planning Dougie and I headed into the mountains for some play time…and to check out my translation skills!!
I chose a relatively easy route (N1 on the Majella National Park map) partly because I wanted to see if our boys would be up to it in the spring. We left from Pescocostanzo, on a mule track just past the former Rivisondoli-Pescocostanzo railway station which is the second highest in Italy, and headed over and round the mountains to Pietransieri.
It was more like a wet, windy day in Wales compared to the 21 degrees and sunshine we’d had the day before, as we trudged off through the mountain grazing pastures and up the slopes through the beech woods flanking the side of Monte Tocco (1691m). As we weaved our way through the woods, sometimes calf deep in snow, but too patchy for snow shoes due to the unseasonably warm weather we’ve been having, there was an eerie stillness, broken only by the beautiful sound of running water from the mountain streams. We came across recently made wolf foot prints in the snow, but sadly no wolves, and deer foot prints, the prey it was following.
As we popped out into a clearing we came across a fountain and knew that just round the corner, according to the translation (!), we would come to the Omonimo Mountain Refuge, and there it was, just where we had expected it to be. After a brief stop we carried on the path and finally dropping back down into Pietransieri in time for a cappuccino before lunch…yes my Italian friends, I did just say before lunch…and a taste of the local cake made from nuts and figs – it was delicious.