It’s not about the numbers, it’s about the places you see. Part 3:
Bella Italia – high mountains, caves and great lakes…

In Italy it was tricky to find a place to park for the night. I was so tired, so eventually we stayed at the entrance into a vineyard. At six the next morning the vintner came with his tractor, but lucky for me, I wasn’t blocking his way into the field.
After some breakfast we headed off to some lakes. Lago di Santa Massenza was the first lake we visited.
But we just searched for a cache, the water wasn’t really inviting.
Campsis radicanscampsis
Some people have really lovely flowerpots at the front door.
This was in the tiny mountain village of Santa Massenza.

A nice serpentine road lead us up a mountain, partly new built, the old road in parts a footpath now.
The cache Romitorio del Casale seemed to be only 158m from the availlable parking spot.
But 158m as the crows fly can be so excausting, it’s unbelievable.
I parked on a spot at the serpentines and we took the old road along the mountain. The view into the gorge is amazing, how hard it must have been to build this road.

the long way
Along the old road, I wouldn’t like to be a builder here…

A steep, steep gorge, notice the tiny houses at the river edge…

The little church offered a great view over the fields far down below. I especially liked the cross, it gave me the feeling of being at the top, which by no means was the case, I’m sad to say.

open air service outdoor church
By no means was this the top of the mountain, here was just a place for prayer and appreciation.

The chapell was closed.

After this rather excausting tour in the heat, we headed towards Limone, where I knew of a nice camping site. We had stayed there several years ago.
Lucky for us, they had availlable space and so the afternoon was spend lounging in the warm waters of Lago di Garda.
There is nothing more relaxing than floating on ones back in the waters while enjoying the view of the steep mountains around.

Sunrise of Lago di Garda

The next morning we had made arangements with Maacher from Trier, Germany to go on a caching tour.
He wanted to go climbing and into a cave. So my kids were looking forward to this.
The first cache of the day was outside a cave at a mountain side. No path lead there, we had to find our way over boulders. My dog didn’t manage the way up the rock face and I had to tie her to a tree halfway up. The last few meters we only managed on our hands and knees and with the help of a rope, someone graciously left there. I was amazed to learn, that the traditional cache in front of the cave entrance had only a rating of 3,5 Terrain stars. I would have given it 4,5 or at least 4 stars Terrain.

what path

Finding our way through rocks uphill… Not much of a path to see.

the rope
Thanks godness for the rope, those last meters would have been quite a challenge otherwise.

After finding the traditional, Maacher wanted to go inside the cave to find the multi cache there.
We all put on a climbing harness, as it said in the description, that a rope was needed.
But after taking a good look at the dark hole, I opted for going back to the dog and waiting for them outside. I’d rather be a Sissi than a hindrance. And cavities are just not really my world. I’m much more for the wide open spaces, I’m afraid.

getting ready
Maacher is helping Finnuala to put on the climbing gear.

getting down
The first steps into the cave. My turning point, I have to admit.

The following pictures are courtesy of Maacher:
KS-HTK inside
KS-HTK inside the cave. It’s a good thing, he’s so skinny… Photo courtesy of Maacher.

narrow part
Finnuala and KS-HTK fit there nicely, well they are teenagers… Photo courtesy of Maacher.

The Tongue: tongue
This stone formation seemed like a giant tongue. Photo courtesy of Maacher.

It’s really a pity they weren’t able to locate the box, later it turned out, they had missed it by some two to five meters. The owner gave them permission to log, though.

We than headed of to find a bridge of the Roman times, which lead Maacher to give us a great history lesson, he’s living in Trier, the northern Rome as it used to be called. I had great fun to listen to his enthusiasm and he really wetted my appetite to visit Trier some day.
After finding another cache at a herimitage, we headed towards Castel Drena, where a via ferrata leads up to.
As Maacher had only three via ferrata kits, we agreed, that he would take my children along and I’d drive the car up the mountain to pick them up at the castle.

view from top
View from the tower to the apple plantations, pitty it’s so hazy.

castle ruin
The tower and the castle ruin of Castel Drena

While my kids went with Maacher the route along the via ferrata up towards the castle, I took the opportunity to drive the car up there. Much easier and less sweaty experience…
The time untill the others came up the mountain I spent with the dog in the shade. But as dogs are not allowed inside the castle, I tied her to a tree shortly below the entrance and then paid the €2.50 fee to have a look around the castle. Some modern pictures were shown in the gallery, one of them I actually liked. That is saying something, usually I prefer impressions not abstracts.
The warden was able to speak English and asked me, if it was my dog. Turned out, he could see through one of his open windows down there were my dog stayed in the shade of the castle tied to her tree.
He than opened the door of the high tower for me and let me climb up all the steps. The view is spectacular and I took pictures on all directions, even though the weather was quite hot and the view obscured by haze.

It was great of the warden to offer me the visit of the tower and he was delighted, as I came back and praised the view.
The cache than was easily found outside the castle, by that time my climbers had returned, sweaty but happy. And with loads of impressing pictures…

via ferrata
Up towards the castle along the via ferrata. Photo courtesy of Maacher.

It goes deeeeeep downdeep down
Mind your steps. Photo courtesy of Maacher.

in motion
In motion along the via ferrata. Photo courtesy of Maacher.

rope bridge
A bridge out of three cables. Photo courtesy of Maacher.

Narrow pathnarrow
Photo courtesy of Maacher.

In German these tiny cairns are called Steinmännchen (little Stoneman). These were found along a river at the via ferrata. Photo courtesy of Maacher.

As it was really hot, we decided to call it a day and headed towards Maachers hotel in Riva del Garda for some much deserved ice cream.

The next day we headed back towards the Brenner and Austria.
We tried to find some caches in Riva del Garda before we left, but city caches from owners who don’t live in the area turned out to be badly maintained. From three tries we only managed to find one. But that was in a nice spot near the official bathing area at the lake.

Lighthouse riva del garda
in Riva del Garda. The northend of Lago di Garda.

A blonde mermaid was sunning herself in the shallows, alongside the swans.