Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Christo's Floating Piers - Lago d'Iseo

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Christo’s Floating Piers is/was a temporary, site-specific, interactive art installation on Lago di’Iseo. The piers are a saffron-colored walkway that runs for some 3 kilometers. The floating walkway allows visitors to experience walking on water, and visitors are encouraged to take their shoes off.  For the sixteen days of the installation, Monte Isola is/will be connected with the smaller island of San Paolo and the mainland at Sulzano.

Lago d’Iseo is about a 40-minute drive from Bergamo. We drove to Iseo (town), parked, took a boat (9:30 am) to Monte Isola where we spend the day exploring the Floating Piers and Monte Isola. We had booked the parking and boat tickets weeks in advance on the advice of a friend, so it was fairly smooth sailing for us getting in and out.

We were glad we went as it was spectacular to see and experience. The piers moved a little, but not that much. They were quite wide at 16 meters (52 feet) and felt safe.  As advised, we took our shoes off to experience walking on water. We walked on water and found Christo.

Just a few weeks earlier we were hiking (see Lago Iseo, Predore to Tavernola Bergamasca Hike) on Lago Iseo with views down onto the installation under construction. At that time, it hadn’t taken on its saffron color. Monte Isola warrants another visit in the future when it’s back to its sleepy self and minus the floating saffron ribbons and millions of visitors.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

A Hike from Baite di Mezzeno to Rifugio Laghi Gemelli

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Left: Hike Route (view south). Right: View from the trail south, just before Passo di Mezzeno.
Hike Route (view south)View from the trail south, just before Passo di Mezzeno

Hike Notes

Length: 11.3 km round trip
Duration: 3 hours up to rifugio dei Laghi Gemelli (1961 m), 2 hours coming back
Elevation: ~ 1013 m ascent/descent, start at Baite di Mezzeno @ 1600 m, high point at passo di Mezzeno @ 2142 m
Location: Italy, Lombardy, Bergamo Province, Alta Valle Brembana

Overview

This hike is Sentiero 215 from the CAI Bergamo site. We had a cool and cloudy hike day. We drove with friends to the the start point at Baite di Mezzeno (a mile or so before the parking, there is a machine where you pay a few euros to park). We saw some interesting flowers along the way and had a very good meal at the rifugio. Even though we are currently living in Bergamo, I don’t often choose polenta, which is almost always on the menu. At the rifugio I did and it was a very good.

There are many hiking and exploring options at the Baite di Mezzeno starting point, including a Sentiero dei Roccoli, Sentiero delle farfalle (butterflies), Sentiero dei fiori (flowers), and the Cattedrale Vegetale.

The information board for the Sentiero dei Fiori trail head lists the following plants that are found only in the area between Lago di Como and Lago di Garda, called “insubria” after the Insubres. We didn’t see any of these plants today.
  • Linaria bergamasca (Linaria tonzigii)
  • Caglio del monte Arera (Galium montis-arerae)
  • Sassifraga della Presolana (Saxifraga presolanenensis)
  • Meringia della Concarena (Moehringia concarenae)
  • Primula di Lombardia (Primula glaucescens)
  • Campanula dell’arcidua (Campanula raineri)
  • Minuartia della Grigna (Minuartia grignensis)
  • Aglio insubrico (Allium insubricum)

Some of the plants we did see today includes:

  • [Boraginaceae] Myosotis, or "forget me not" (in Italian non ti scordar di me)
  • [Gentianaceae] Gentiana acaulis (based on green inside rather than G. clusii.)
  • [Ericaceae] Rhododendron ferrugineum
  • [Fabaceae] Trifolium alpinum
  • [Lamiaceae] Ajuga pyramidalis
  • [Lentibulariaceae] Pinguicula vulgaris
  • [Primulaceae] Primula glaucescens
  • [Primulaceae] Soldanella alpina
  • [Polygonaceae] Rumex alpinus -  We thought it looked like rhubarb and sure enough a common name is monk's rhubarb.
  • [Ranunculaceae] Pulsatilla alpina subsp.
Left: [Fabaceae] Trifolium alpinum; Right: [Ericaceae] Rhododendron ferrugineum
[Fabaceae] Trifolium alpinum[Ericaceae] Rhododendron ferrugineum

Left: [Gentianaceae] Gentiana acaulis (based on green inside rather than G. clusii.); Center [Boraginaceae] Myosotis, or "forget me not" (in Italian non ti scordar di me); Right [Primulaceae] Soldanella alpina.
[Gentianaceae] Gentiana acaulis[Boraginaceae] Myosotis[Primulaceae] Soldanella alpina

Left: [Lamiaceae] Ajuga pyramidalis, Center: [Lentibulariaceae] Pinguicula vulgaris, Right: [Primulaceae] Primula glaucescens
[Lamiaceae] Ajuga pyramidalis[Lentibulariaceae] Pinguicula vulgaris[Primulaceae] Primula glaucescens

[Ranunculaceae] Pulsatilla alpina subsp.
[Ranunculaceae] Pulsatilla alpina subsp.[Ranunculaceae] Pulsatilla alpina subsp.[Ranunculaceae] Pulsatilla alpina subsp.

Left: Snout Beetle; Right: [Polygonaceae] Rumex alpinus along the trail.
Snout Beetle[Polygonaceae] Rumex alpinus along the trail

Trail markers on the way to Laghi Gemelli
Trail markers on the way to Laghi GemelliTrail markers on the way to Laghi GemelliTrail markers on the way to Laghi Gemelli

Views along the trail (sentiero 215).
Views along the trail (sentiero 215).Views along the trail (sentiero 215).Views along the trail (sentiero 215).

Left: Polenta with cheese, mushrooms, and cheese at Rifugio Laghi Gemelli; if only all polenta dishes where this good. Right: Rifugio Laghi Gemelli.
Polenta with cheese, mushrooms, and cheese at Rifugio Laghi GemelliRifugio Laghi Gemelli

Information at the trail head, including information on the Sentiero dei Fiori, information on the Sentiero dei Roccol, and the biodiversity of the mountains.
Information at the trail head, including information on the Sentiero dei Fiori, information on the Sentiero dei Roccol, and the biodiversity of the mountains.Information at the trail head, including information on the Sentiero dei Fiori, information on the Sentiero dei Roccol, and the biodiversity of the mountains.Information at the trail head, including information on the Sentiero dei Fiori, information on the Sentiero dei Roccol, and the biodiversity of the mountains.

Information at the trail head, including information on the Sentiero dei Fiori, information on the Sentiero dei Roccol, and the biodiversity of the mountains.Information at the trail head, including information on the Sentiero dei Fiori, information on the Sentiero dei Roccol, and the biodiversity of the mountains.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Santo Stefano di Sessanio: A Day of Color

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The first day of our visit in Abruzzo was the walk from Santo Stefano di Sessanio to Rocca Calascio and back. In the space of a few hours we saw an incredible array of flowers and scenery. Here are just a few of the images we captured. I’ll resist the urge to name the flowers and just let the colors and forms speak for themselves.