The morning dawned overcast with the potential for light rain later in the day. It looks like a reprise of the previous day. However, our final walk was slated to be only about 10.5km with, I believe 500m of ascent and descent. We would hike from our hotel (Bergi) to the winery/hotel Relais Santa Anastasia via the town of Castelbuono. The best laid plans of mice and men go oft awry (with apologies to Robert Burns). We had a late start after a good breakfast leaving at 09:22. Soon we were climbing up the dirt road (must be new since the notes were written) up the hill across from the hotel we had just stayed at. We found a dirt/gravel road that wound around hills past many homes with ever-present barking early warning systems (i.e. dogs). It was not a stunningly pretty walk. Just one through the countryside on a cloudy morning. We thought we found the correct turning that would take us on a narrow dirt path towards the town of Castelbuono. However we found a different path.
Our path led to a paved road. We had gone astray. We knew where the town had to be. We had seen it in the distance. Its fortress castle was easy to see. We decided to follow the paved road, based on what Google maps and GaiaGPS (mostly the former), suggested. We were about 3km from town. We began to walk; it began to rain lightly. We found our way into Castelbuono and found a bustling town with a clearly thriving tourist trade. We also discovered that we had no idea where to pick up the Inntravel directions.We had not come in the way they wanted us to and so could not leave the way they wanted us to leave. Google Maps and the paper map to the rescue. We followed minor roads, dirt roads, cobblestone roads, and even paths. We made mistakes along the way. I suspect we added a good kilometer in mistakes to say nothing of the extra length we surely tacked on creating this alternative route. We were also fortunate that locals steered us off the wrong path, usually when we were heading down to their home along what seemed like a proper path, with a combination of frequently repeated words and gestures. Our miniscule knowledge of italian fortunately included the words for “left” and “right” (well kind of).
Now and then the sporadic rains would increase. On and off went rain-gear. Maybe the weather can be blamed for the minor accident we witnessed as we walked a couple km down SS286 which is a busy two-lane paved road. More likely the curve, speed, and cars too close to each other. In time we climbed up and over a mountain, made a mistake or two, and eventually were within a few hundred meters of the entrance to the hotel. The rain decided to start coming down in earnest. Just before 15:30 after 15.2 km of walking we stepped into the reception lobby. What a day.
Later we learned that Maggie and George arrived 10 minutes after us. They had left much later and made one modest mistake that they resolved easily enough. Unlike us they managed to follow the directions. I wonder if they had a more scenic walk. I am confident they spent far less time on busy paved roads.
Where we are staying is an extensive place. Also, at least in my room, a loud one. While the rooms are better furnished than some I am less than thrilled with the shower. It took over a week but the European desire to create a shower that can easily flood reared up and bit. Still I can forgive a lot when the quality of the dinner (and breakfast) is as high as it is here. I just wish the noise from wherever it is coming did not penetrate my room so readily: not a good night’s sleep (yes, I am writing about walk 6 the following day).
Stats: Overcast with occassional rain that was generally light but at the end (last 400 meters of uphill) heavy. I think the temperature was always in the mid-60s but might have been warmer. Distance: 15.2km. Ascent: 380m; descent: 254m. We walked for just over 5 hours and took 56 minutes in breaks.
- It does not look like much but you can see the Bergi where we stayed.
- Clouds drifting over the valley Castelbuono sits in. Those low clouds would vanish but the on and off again rains would soon arrive.
- We are walking down the wrong path by this ppoint. You can see Castelbuono in the distance