Category: Italy

Hiking in the Graian Alps, Parco Nazionale Gran Paradiso, Aosta, Italy

Gran Paradiso National Park (Italian: Parco nazionale del Gran Paradiso) is located in northern Italy, between Aosta Valley and Piedmont region, at the border with France. It was the first national park established in Italy. A land of beautiful mountains, endless woodlands and rich wildlife. It is named after Gran Paradiso mountain (4061m) located in the middle of the park.
This destination was always on my bucket list but I didn’t know that the mountain range where the park is located is called Graian Alps. Even Mount Blanc belongs to this mountain range… A significant gap in my knowledge about the Alps.

As a base we have chosen La Maison du Guide located in a small village Rhemes-Saint-Georges. It is more like a Bed & Breakfast with several apartments to rent. Beautiful place. Really worth visiting. Located only 10 km from Thumel parking lot where the Thumel-Benevolo trail starts. The city of Aosta is only 25 km drive from Rhemes-Saint-Georges.

La Maison du Guide




Booking.com


Our plan was to hike the Thumel-Benevolo trail up to the Rifugio Benevolo (2287 m) and then see if we can reach one of the lakes located higher in the mountains: Lago di Goletta, Lago Granta Parei or Lago di Tsanteleina. It was the end of May with lots of snow still covering the peaks and we knew that we may not get there.
We started our hike at Thumel parking lot (4km after Bruil village) where we followed trail no.13 to Rifugio Benevolo. It takes normally about 1h30min to get to Benevolo. We hikes with kids and the trail was covered/blocked my snow in some places so it took us little bit longer.
What makes this trail special is no only the beautiful surrounding but also the wildlife around you. And in particular the undisputed rulers of this trail: Marmot (Marmota). They are everywhere ! Some of them are very shy and would hide just after you spot them and some would just sit near their holes/pits and pose for pictures. I have never seen so many of them before in one place. They really make this trail enjoyable, specially for the kids. There also lots other animals such as Steinbock (Ibex) or Chamois (AlpenGämse).




Marmot (Marmota) – large squirrels living in Parco Nazionale Gran Paradiso


On this photo I caught 2 couples of different species in 1 shot. Front left is a couple of marmots and 2 Steinbocks further up.



Last section of the trail to Rifugio Benevolo was fully covered by snow

After a short break at Rifugio Benevolo (it was still closed and the summer season has not yet begun) we split into 2 groups from which one went back to the parking lot and the other continued the hike. After Benevolo trails was fully covered with snow and it was difficult to follow the proper path. We were fighting our way through the snow, trying various paths leading up. At the end we didn’t reach any of the lakes but hiked up to the foot of Roc du Fond and had lots of fun in the snow :). Have to come back here in the summer and do a multiple hike like I did in Lepontine Alps.


Rifugio Benevolo in the background



Stinbock (Ibex) at slopes of Rhêmes Valley




GRAIAN ALPS – PHOTO GALLERY

LINKS
www.pngp.it – Gran Paradiso National Park official website
www.pngp.it – Hiking Trail Thumel – Benevolo
www.parks.it – Gran Paradiso National Park
www.cai.it – Club Alpino Italiano
www.summitpost.org – Truc Saint Hélène and Tsantèleina Lake

ACCOMODATION
www.rifugiobenevolo.com – Refuge Benevolo
www.caipiemonte.it – Mountain huts in Valle d’Aosta
www.booking.com – Hotel La Maison du Guide

Discovering Sicily. From Catania to Palermo.

Etna

Sicily (Italian: Sicilia) is the largest and the most attractive island in the Mediterranean Sea. This beautiful island is a mixture of natural beauty, history, amazing islands, top beaches, lovely towns, tradition and delicious gastronomy.
If you are looking for a place for an active honeymoon then Sicily should be your choice and if you want to do it with style just look for villa rentals in Sicily and let the time pass very slow… READ MORE !!!

Solo hike in the Lepontine Alps, Ticino/Piedmont, Switzerland/Italy

Calonge 001

Late autumn is the perfect time for hikers who wants to get some “Into the Wild” feeling. The snow has already covered the higher parts of Alps, most of the mountain huts are closed, days are short and temperatures during the night are around zero or less. Only very little hikers decide to go into the higher parts of the Alps which makes it almost a wilderness area. The landscape during the spring is fairy-tale-like and colours almost unreal. With a great weather forecast for the next few days, it was a perfect time for a nature-lover adventure. I packed my backpack with everything I need for 4 days and went to swiss canton of Ticino in the Lepontine Alps region. READ MORE !

Sardinia, Italy 2014

Sardegna 001It was again the time of the year when we usually go on our October family holiday. We decided to visit a place where we have already been 13 years ago. At that time we were students with very little money to spend and we didn’t really see anything of the Island. Now it was time to discover some of the hidden treasures of Sardegna. Our flights were booked 8 months before and we landed on 5th of October in Cagliari. We have decided to leave the north side of the island in peace and discover some places located in the south/east. Our trip was divided into 3 stages and for each stage we have chosen a camping place located in the area of our interest. READ MORE !

Sardegna, Italy 2001

Sardegna 002
During my abroad semester at Politecnico di Torino in Italy, I managed to save some money and do a low budget trip to Sardegna. The trip had to be well planned because the budget available was really limited… I was a poor student at that time 🙂 We took a train from Torino to Genova and then walked to the Genova port. We were really sweating when we arrived to the port where our Tirrenia ferry to Alghero was just about to depart ! The breeze coming from the sea and a bottle of white wine which I got for my birthday from my friends from Chile made us forget all the sweating. Thanks guys for the wine! This is still one of the best wines I had so far. READ MORE !!!