One of the beauties of travelling without a set schedule is that you can change ideas quickly. With the lake boring and sad we moved on. I didn't real have a destination in mind until I saw Terranova di Pollino on the map. It's position as a town at the end of the winding mountain road well inside the park seemed like a good place to be to start a hike. We would find out later the road continues but there's a good reason it's not on the map. So Terranova was agreed on as the place to stop for the night, if we could find a place to sleep. We arrived in town and actually were very lucky to find one of the two hotels they have, the Hotel Picchio Nero. Hey it's good enough for Robert MacNamara and Whoopi Goldberg so we thought it was good enough for us. We dumped our stuff and headed into the town. It was late afternoon and the town just starting to stir again. I've grown very attached to watching Italian towns come back to life after the afternoon siesta. Watching the shudders roll back and clerks put out their little displays or potted plants outside the doors. Tables and chairs appearing on what was once a barren piazza. I need a caffe just thinking about it.
I took this photo of the center of town because I loved the "Bar 007". Lori liked the roundabout.
The sun was going down and we were getting hungry fast so we headed back to the hotel. Lucky for us the hotel owner is some kind of master chef because he whipped up a dinner fit for kings. I can't believe I didn't get picture of pasta dish. It was homemade spinach pasta (green) with local type of ricotta (white) and secret tomato sauce (red), so Italian! The only thing is that I found out that I don't like truffles. I'm sorry but there is just something about the taste that I don't like. I made sure he didn't see me scrape the finely grated truffle from the top of second dish.
I woke up early the next morning because people in these parts get up at the crack of dawn (that's around 5:30 AM) and then proceed to a beat big steel fender back into shape with a huge hammer. That's what it sounded like to me. After breakfast the hotel owner highlighted on the map exactly where we should go. I loved it because it involved driving down a road that doesn't exist on normal maps (we bought a local topographical map) and then starting our hike from there. He frowned as he had to give us an "easy" hike because we didn't have proper hiking boots.
Kent took this photo of Terranova as we said goodbye to the town on the street with no name. He used my camera because he's in love with my lens that goes down to 18mm. It lets him get in the sky and give the photo depth. Meanwhile, I was watching the road because it was in many wonderful states neglect. I think my Alfa Romeo has done more offroading than any 99% of the SUVs in the States. So it was huge surprise when we arrived at the trail head and the place was packed. I forgot it was Sunday and there were tons of families up there having picnics. We went straight to the trial and the noise quickly died off until we were alone with the only the shuffling of our own feet and the random buzz of a fly or mosquito harassing us. I took this photo of a typical trail scene.
The next part will be photos from near the top where the forest opened up to some nice views....