Monday, January 15, 2007

A Walk in the Park

Well, truth be told, I have some more food photos for you, but given the reaction to my last post, I think I'll wait a bit and let you build up an appetite. In order to do this, I'd like to take you on a walk in the woods, at the Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo: Italy's first national park, founded in 1923. (Map below c. James Martin, Europe for Visitors)

We went to visit some friends of ours who have a house in Pescasseroli in the Abruzzo region of Italy (on the bottom above, even though it's mistakenly spelled "Pascasseroli"), one of the few towns actually inside the park boundaries. By the way, have you heard about the snow crisis this year? There's no snow! Inside the park this time of year it's usually covered with the white stuff. This year we were walking around without jackets, sun beating down on us, to the tune of temperatures as high as nearly 70°!

This is unheard of and is actually quite a problem for those who rely on winter tourism to make their living. In any case, that's why in these photos you won't see any snow, but Abruzzo is generally full of the stuff this time of year, especially in the mountainous areas like the park.

Animals that live in the park include brown bears (the cute symbol of the park's logo above) and wolves, but also "camosci" (chamois) which are harder to spot. And you thought it was just a funny name for that cloth you use to dry off your car! My guess is they were all away sunbathing somewhere because we didn't see any.

We're taking our walk in a part of the park called "Camosciara" and going on a short trail to the "Cascate delle Ninfe": The Nymphs' Waterfalls. It takes us about a half hour to stroll leisurely from the parking lot to the trail head. Don't worry, I'm not into heavy-duty hiking. I have to conserve my energy for eating.

There is water throughout the park and especially in this area, where we found running streams and small waterfalls everywhere we looked.

The walk takes us about 10 minutes through this beautiful wooded area, and has very few steep grades. You don't even really need to be outfitted for hiking, although we did have hiking boots because when we left Rome we figured there would be snow.

Nature lovers, Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo is definitely worth a trip. I love the Abruzzo region and I feel like it still hasn't been discovered by tourists. Have any of you ever been to this park? Any other great nature areas in Italy to recommend?


Tracie B. said...

i've HEARD of the park, does that count?

thanks for the vicarious visit! i bet 'dem bears are a lot less cute when you come face to giant clawed paw with one of 'em.

Bryan said...

Abruzzo and Marche are both full of these natural wonders. These areas remind us of Northern New Mexico with wide vistas. Here in southern Marche they are talking about the problems this summer with no snow in the mountains now.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

I was going to comment on the cute bear symbol vs. seeing one as well. LOL

It's amazing such a small country could have such a diverse geography.

Expat Traveler said...

What a lovely trip! Now have we heard of snow? Surely, just look out MY window... hehe. Yeah I guess the snow finally arrived into Eastern Canada, but we are getting our 5th of the season, it's almost a record in my mind...

Ah I've missed reading, but it really makes me miss Europe a lot more!

gracie said...

Of course I know about it, but I've never been there. On the contrary, I know very well another park, Parco Nazionale dello Stelvio, for more infos it's surely worth a visit!