Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hiking in the Monti Sibillini

While I was in Norcia, I took the oppurtunity of the closeness of the mountains to take a few hikes during the day.  It was a good physical activity to keep me from going stir crazy on my retreat.  

Norica is in the Southwest corner of Italy's largest National Park, Monti Sibillini.  It is absolutely gorgeous and even reminds me a little of the Smoky Moutains.

Here is a picture of me and of the trail leading up to Monte Patino which is something like 17oo meters tall (around 5,500 feet).  

The trail was practically straight up!  I guess the Italians never heard of the switchback method of climbing a mountain.

Another day during the retreat, I went up to a little mountaintop town called Ospedaletto (my poor Italian translates it as either the town of 'Guestbed' or 'hospitalbed')  That mountain was only 1000 meters!  It was a cold and drizzly day but that sometimes makes for good hiking and there were some beautiful views on the way up.

 I brought a lunch made up of 'Norcineria'   Norcia is famous for its cured sausages made from pork, wild boar (Cinghiale) and other game.  It is also famous for its cheeses especially its pecorino or goat milk cheese.  Yum, very tasty!  I had some Cinghiale and some deer meat sausage as well as little pecorino and another cheese that tasted a lot like Bell Paese (softer like Mozzarella and really creamy).  Slap all of that on some bread and you have a meal, but wait, there's more.  On my first hike I stopped by a Honey store.  They had fresh honey from Castellucio where the bees collect pollen from all the flowers of the great plain of the Monti Sibillini.  It is the most savoury honey I have every tasted!  It tasted so good I hiked it up the mountain for my lunch!

Put it all together on a slice of bread and this is what you what you get:

After lunch, I was able to rest for a while on top of the mountain looking out over the valley of Norcia.

Here is a self-portrait of me and Norcia after I had come down from the Mountain.

Again, the trail was straight down to the point where I had to hang on to the trees and gingerly step my way down so that I didn't fall off the face of the mountain.  I am glad that I had taken the long way up the mountain, that is, around the back.  If had taken the path that I took down on my way up I would have had to have some climbing gear!


Tom&Brenda said...

Oh Father, how exciting to follow your progress and offer our support through technology and the internet. I have only one criticism (it's a colonel thing, you know): you left out of your profile that you are a mentor and trainer extraordinaire of permanent deacons ...sort of like an esquire suffix. So, when we refer to you as Father David, Esq., you will know what is meant. God bless you...we love and miss you....Tom&Brenda

Tom Porterfield said...

Beautiful pictures. Great to be able to keep in touch with you this way.