At 10:00 A.M after having a luxurious breakfast, we leave the hotel and walk along the promanade. The beach is wide ,with light yellow sand and small islands as a background. After a nice stroll we walk through a decorated pedestrian tunnel takes us out of the tunnel and towards the mountain. Mount Igeldo ( height 205m) is located above Concha bay so this morning, like many others, also starts with a climbing trend (You can see the ascent profile in here) Although it is so tempting to take the funicular, we go up the winding street that ends at several tall buildings. The path bypasses the buildings and we continue to climb. A quarter to eleven and it’s already warm with 90 percent humidity. We climbed 200 meter and now stop to take a breath and look at the beautiful bay that lies below us.
Sea, sky , mountain…
The path continues to lead up the mountain, next to private villas overlooking the sea view. Everything looks quiet, well-kept and clean. There is space between the houses and tiny fields speckled with trees laden with ripe red apples and pears. Sometimes the vegetation around us is so green and dense that it seems we are in a tropical area. When we reach the ridge line (about 300 m) we sit down on the grassy side of a narrow inland road, eat some dates and raisins, drink water and watch the clouds as they change their shape from moment to moment, casting shadows on the blue water surface. It’s surprising to see many pilgrims on the path today and from many nationalities – three German-speaking women, a group of English-speaking men, two more French women and a few solitary walkers. The rain forest changes in an instant to a lighted grove and the path, sometimes the remains of a Roman road, leads us between sunspots to the source of a spring and from there down a beautiful shaded slope. It’s three o’clock, the path is strewn with golden fall leaves. It’s a pretty steep slope, a 300m descent spread over 3km and my knees feel relieved when we reach Orio.
The view going down towards Orio is breathtaking in the many shades of green, in the white clouds against a clear sky. The air is still, clear and quiet surrounding us. The road turns into a narrow asphalt road winding between vines. We stand and wonder – these vines hang on stilts so that they produce a large and continuous shed. It looks different from the rows of vines we are familiar with. The descent continues and the growling sounds of speeding trucks fill the air. We arrived at the Autostrada, a large bridge, and in the middle, like a small island, stands a tiny hotel – and this is our hotel for the night.
Night near Orio
The truth must be told – we were upset. To arrive and discover that in this magical landscape we will be staying in the middle of the highway and at a most outrageous price was a sad discovery. Despite the location, the hotel turned out to be nice (and double windows isolated any noise). The owner of the hotel, a charming guy who invests his energy to give a feeling of home. In the evening, on his recommendation, we went for a walk towards Orio and arrived at a great restaurant. It seemed as if the whole town had come to sit down for dinner at the place and the meal accompanied by excellent local wine was a great end to the day.