Our Italian friends had warned us that there was a two day heatwave on the way of 42 degrees. They were right. What do you do when you can't stand the the heat? Drive to the top of the mountain and cool down.
We drove out of our village and kept on the main road (the Passo Lanciano) and kept heading up until we reached the ski cafe.
Will has cycled up the pass many a time and it is quite an achievement. Pro-cyclists always say it is one of the toughest climbs. We saw many cyclists that day, even in that heat, which was slightly crazy.
A lot of work has been carried out here over the last couple of years because the skiing is so popular. There are tourists who come to ski, but most people (at the moment) come from Pescara. If you love skiing, it is a very cheap, unspoilt place to ski, which is mostly undiscovered outside of Italy. The Pescarese drive up on a Sunday morning, ski and then that afternoon can be back walking along the sunny seafront eating a gelato. One of the few places in Europe this can be done. Brilliant.
|One of the slopes|
The view (as always, in Abruzzo) was fabulous. More importantly, the air was fresh, clean and cool.....well, it was 21 degrees, which compared to the heatwave below in the valley was marvellous.
As you near 'the end' some of the top looks almost lunar in appearance. I love how the mountains change depending on what side you are standing on. Some are 'carpetted' in fluffy trees. Others are rugged and volcanic. No mountain looks the same.
|Alfie near the top|
|One very fit, but tired cyclist!|
|The Mamma Rosa Hotel|
Other people had clearly had the same idea as us and there were many hikers who were continuing over the top to walk to the Corno Grande, families having picnics, motorbike enthusiasts and one very brave cyclist (most stop at the ski cafe below on a hot day) who insisted on cycling to the very top. We applauded him as he went past us and said 'Sei molto bravo!'.
Whilst my parents had a look around. Will, Alfie, Ralph and I took in the views. We love Abruzzo very much and I understand the following quote very well indeed.
|Will, Ralph and Alfie|
"You may have the universe, if I may have Italy" Giuseppe Verdi, Italian composer 1813-1901