I’m one of those people who’s always looking for unique things to do. I LOVE the energy, food, people watching, museums, farmers markets and festivals in cities that I visit; but for me, no visit to a new place is complete without getting a taste of what locals living in these cities do for fun, especially outdoors. If you need a break from devouring all that amazing handmade pasta, creamy gelato and pizza topped with fresh, melted cheese, here’s something I recommend that I promise will be equally worth it: a hike in the absolutely spectacular Alps!
It was my 33rd birthday, and I wanted to gift myself a memorable experience that would involve a bit of a challenge and adventure! I ended up booking a “tour” with the company Trekking Alps to hike up to Punta Cialancia (2.855 m above sea level) in the Germanasca valley to check out 13 alpine lakes! Our extremely friendly guide, Enrico, and another woman who joined us on the tour met up early in the morning at our hotel in Turin; and we drove to Prali (a ski resort about an hour away). On the way we were greeted with sights of tiny hamlets, churches, meadows and pine forests!
We picked up some fresh baked focaccia bread from a tiny grocery store and hopped on a chair lift that dropped us off high up in the mountains (at a height of 2200 m above sea level).
If you’re really in shape, the hike is super easy! There are quite a few steep sections but overall I would say that this hiking trail is considered to be of easy to medium level. Basically, once we began our hike, we soaked up everything the valley had to offer: pristine wilderness, sparkling lakes with turquoise green water shimmering in the sunlight and insane views!
Once we arrived up to Punta Cialancia, it got cold very quickly and we needed to warm up, with some emergency liquid sustenance, obviously!
People have encountered larger animals such as Ibexes and Chamois on their hikes but we didn’t spot any. We did, however, find several marmots on our trail that had the most amusing alarm calls that sounds like a bird twittering very loudly! Enrico told us that their calls sound different depending on whether a predator is running downhill or uphill! After a quick break to eat our lunch inside the clouds on the mountain top, we scrambled to pack our things and make our way down again because it started pouring! I’m not going to lie; it was pretty scary listening to thunder and seeing lightning from a mountain top. It felt like we could be struck any second!
On the way back, the sun came out again and we walked in a zen like state taking in the pleasant, earthy scent of petrichor. We also requested several cows to kindly let us pass so we could continue our journey. At the end of our long (and exhausting) 5-hour hike, a single vibrant lupine flower in a sea of green completely brightened my spirits! Well, that and a cup of chocolate melted in hot coffee!