We drove to Abruzzo this weekend to hike to the Corno Grande, the highest peak in the Apennine Mountains. I had never been to that part of Italy (the northernmost part of Southern Italy–I’m guessing that’s like Maryland is the northernmost part of the American South) and I was struck anew at the amazing variation in Italian terrain that can be found within a two hour drive in any direction. Italy is just stupid beautiful. It’s unreal. This particular trip looked like we were in Middle Earth. Sometimes it was Middle Earth with a quick little quintessential Italian village thrown in: older women hanging out windows; laundry blowing in the wind; olive trees and overflowing flower boxes; and sometimes it was Middle Earth with the type of sharply winding narrow roads found on the Amalfi coast–the kind that make your toes hurt as you stare fixedly out the window to the side of the road that doesn’t plunge to your death–but it was soaring mountains covered in green and hobbits all the same. And truly, you can really only marvel at the people of yore who managed to cram a town into any place that was a jutting side of the mountain. It defies all logic. I’m not Isaac Newton, but I do know that when a town is built into the side of a mountain there is no reason why it should stay there. If I put a paper clip against a wall, it falls to the floor. It does not somehow superglue itself against the wall and become a place where people can drink coffee and eat panini and go about their day.
My husband’s had hiked the Corno Grande while I was in America (I was probably eating Mexican food and shopping at Target) and his photos were gorgeous. So you can imagine how bummed we were when we emerged from a very long tunnel and the sky was no longer blue and the mountain peaks were wreathed in clouds. We went to the top anyway, but it was like being in Cloud City. We couldn’t see a darn thing and so it’s entirely possible Lando Calrissian had betrayed us all. We’ll have to head back in the spring. It’s on, Lando.
|one of the many Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure winding road maps|
|we did not see any cows, but on the way home from the beach last weekend we DID see a wild boar and two boar-lettes (scientific term) chowing down on the side of the road,which was very exciting. They had tusks and everything.|