Daily Archives: August 13, 2009

Day 8: Wordsworth Alpine Adventure

Italian Trail SignsFinal Day. Well, I made it to Como, Italy—but not walking the entire distance from Chamonix, France as William Wordsworth and his friend Robert Jones did in 1790. I hopped on trains, busses, and boats in order to reach my final destination, and while all of this was good and fun, I’m disappointed to report that long-distance walking trails seem to be a thing of the past in northern Italy. My through-route became patchy after I crossed the Simplon Pass from Switzerland into Italy, but several sections of footpaths through France and Switzerland were simply unforgettable. The Col de Baume and the Col de la Forclaz stretches from Chamonix to Martigny were brilliant, as was the Simplon Pass (the absolute highlight of this journey).

Once I got to Como, I decided that I’d go out exploring on foot, even though I knew that I wasn’t able to walk a long distance to or fro. I picked a day route straight from Como’s city center, and it turned out to be an urban adventure through some side streets:

Urban Trail

The footpath led up some steep switchbacks to the town of Brunate, which sits high above Como on a hill. A funicolare (cable car) also runs from Como to Brunate, and one of the footpaths zigzags right underneath it. I suppose lots of people take the funicolare up to get a glimpse, as I did, of Como from this scenic spot:

Como From Above

From Brunate, a fantastic woodsy trail continued at a gentle slope all the way to the summit of Montepiatto. I didn’t go all the way to Montepiatto’s summit, but instead took a sidetrip to another interesting natural feature called the Pietra Nariola. Basically, this was a big boulder you could stand upon and get the same view of Como as the one above.

Wooded Trail

I made it back to Como in time to do a little lounging around at the Villa Olmo pool…

Como Pool

…and the following morning, I took a train down to Milan station (below), where I connected to another train that took me back north to Switzerland and then west all the way home to Chamonix.

Milan Train Station

In eight days, I covered a distance of around 210 miles. I was able to explore the modern landscapes that prompted William Wordsworth to write some of the most inspired poetry in the English language. I came home with raw feet and with a greater understanding of how adventurous Wordsworth and Jones were…they walked for fourteen weeks, after all, and then took a ferry back across the English Channel, where they returned like good lads to their studies at Cambridge.

Note: this post is the final one in a series of posts about my recent attempt to retrace William Wordsworth’s footsteps from Chamonix, France to Como, Italy on the walking holiday the poet took with his friend Robert Jones in 1790.

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