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22 November 2011

Off the beaten path

I'm not posting much these days, I'm aware and I'm sorry. Believe me if I say that my absence is worth, though, becase the weather is extremely pleasant. We had a sunny and vibrant week and this allowed me to be out and about nearly daily. I always took my camera with me during my mission to capture the autumn charm. I came up with a glorious album and I'm sharing some of my production here in forms of mini travelogues. 

I hiked so much that on Sunday afternoon, for the first time ever, jogging became natural when I attempted it. I must have been out of my mind but, I tell you what, surprisly enough, maybe because of all the previous hiking in the woods looking for the right light, corner, scenario and colors, it wasn't that bad. I managed to run for about 20 good minutes without running out of breath. I kept walking for one more hour afterwards. For the first time ever I was backpack free. I felt as free as a bird. Well, then I went back home, collpased and I nearly had to call an ambulance LOL But this is a detail, it's part of the joys of oldhood. Oh dear, I can't believe I'm approaching my glorious 40's!


Anyway, one of the loveliest hike I had was in the Sentiero Natura that goes from Miramare to Prosecco. It was the one that Princess Sisi used to climb when she vacationed in Trieste and now that I climbed it too, I know why. Sisi excercised for 2 hours a day everywhere she was. In some of her palaces she had gym tools installed so that she couldn't ruin her perfect shape. In Miramare Castle, when she visited her sister-in-law Charlotte (Archduke Maximilian von Habsburg's wife), she probably didn't need anything but walking off this path, which is a stone-strewn one. Very beautiful and with some lovely views, but difficult.

It starts at the little train station of Miramare. It was built in the 19th century to serve the castle and recently restoerd because, to my shock, I learned it was badly damaged by vandals a few decades ago. Inepness has no limits, really :( The restoring works surely ruined the ancient charm, but it's still okay and peculiar, a little nostalgic station off the coast, sunbathed by the most impressive sunsets daily.

I started to climb enthusiastically but as soon as I ended the first flight of stairs, a little obstacle came my way. What looks like a lovely, solitary cat observing the area in a probably lazy, contemplative moment was like pure terror to me. It was the horror replica of my massive childhood trauma, when a giant white cat blocked my way on my way to visit great-grandmother first, and attacked me later.

I stood paralyzed for a few minutes, forced myself to take a pic of him while waiting for his next move. I tell you what, I sat there waiting for him to disappear, I didn't dare to go on and if it weren't for a group of people descending from the path, I would have easily gone home and end my excursion there without even starting it. I'm so ridiculously afraid of cats!

Even watching this photo still gives me the creeps!

I eventually continued (actually ran!) my way up. The beauty of the path calmed me down and made me pause several times to take shots around.

Once the hardest stairway finshes, it's all about nature and vineyards up the hills, which are more charming if coloured by the fall season. There was even a little lake (Laghetto di Contovello) and a little church, recently renewed (Chiesetta di Madonna della Salvia), where Sisi stopped praying.

From the church I decided to take another path, the one that links Prosecco to Santa Croce, but I got lost somewhere in between and ended up down a few vineyards that have nothing to do with the beaten part. They allowed me to admire some gorgeous views over the coast and the castle that I couldn't have admired otherwise. Sometimes getting lost becomes interesting ...

Problem is I was tired rotten after so many hours hiking and there was nobody to ask for directions around. Just when I was starting to look like a desperate wanderer in the desert, on the verge of precipice, literally, on a very steep rocky path (and in those dramatic moments only thinking about how to save my camera in case I fell - to my defense I can say that I'm very careful since Alfie broke my lens this summer, but I know you won't believe me, I suppose everyone is starting to guess the photomanic I became, so I leave you guys the benefit of the doubt), I saw a camper. My oasis!

There was Alice's dentist inside, to my total amazement. She gave me directions on how to go home and continued her stretching training in the woods. Wow! What kept me going back was the idea of the big, fatty burger I had later. I was so very hungry and needed something junkie and caloric after all that stress that I kept imagining burgers. I must be sick rotten. But by this time you all know the freak I am, so you're all warned and will still continue reading about my adventures, right? :)

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