Summit number 4, and in the 4th different country – sounds pretty cool no? Well this one had even more significance than the others as we had swapped the car rentals; for plane tickets – we took to the skies, and landed just outside of Madrid.
Okay, so I lied about the car rental – Mike was self-nominated Euro-Driver, and after turning down the seemingly extortionate “super insurance” as soon as we hit the motorway we instantly regretted it! The 20 minute drive to our apartment, in Paratico, went without any problems, and not even a map.
In the week leading up to the summit weather reports had been varied, but generally signalling that we would have mostly rain and storms – so we prepared thoroughly …we’d learnt our lessons from Nevis!
Summit day came round and what-do-you-know blue skies, bright sunshine…guess what, no sun-cream, and apparently Italians don’t use it either because we searched high and low in every shop we came across, to no avail.
The hike went without issue, well, if you ignore the trespassing on the lumberjacks yard – hopping the electrical fence and dodging said lumberjacks donkeys…yeah, without issue. The other side of the electrical fence we found trees, lots of trees. At this point our navigation was reduced to – “Well the summit will be in an upward direction, and well, we will be closer to it if we go in an upward direction.”
then…call it devine intervention if you like, a man appears from no where walking in the opposite direction…in that moment our minds froze – so to attempt some form of communication we just sort of made a noise.
We managed to communicate with erratic pointing where we wanted to be, and some pointless conversation and useful drawing with sticks on the ground, we had broken the language barrier and with parting instructions of “Strada Strada Strada!” we knew we were good to go…Bronzone was in our sights.
The following day, nursing amaretto and limoncello induced headaches, we explored the area, which was full of stunning views, cliffs, mountains, and lakes. A genuinely magical little corner of the planet, and one I would urge anyone who enjoys walking to visit, we’re definitely going to head back, for some of the 2000m peaks.