Monday, 16 June 2014

Our Pilgrimage to Madonna del Ghisallo

A beautiful day in Bellagio.
So feeling well rested (though Garrie did seem to have the sniffles) we decide to take a trip out today.  Friends Helen and Harry had told us of a little known attraction here, but it was over 12km away, so we investigated and discovered there was a bus, so we headed for the bus stop at the water's edge.  The road down.
The stunning scenes at the bottom. Including the first photo on today's post.
Little alleyways run through the town centre.
And there is a beautiful lakeside walkway.
A Brazilian family ask us to take their photo, so we ask them to do the same for us.
Time to head to the bus and the C36 to Asso is now part of my "Best bus rides in the world" book draft. (Love the bus to the peak and to Stanley markets via repulse bay in HK amongst others but I digress). The narrow road up is full of hairpin bends and wonderful views and I try to catch the feeling for you.
That was about the only place two buses could pass.  Finally we are there.
This is the Church of Madonna del Ghisallo, patroness of cyclists! It is in a wonderful location and there is a statue nearby, also dedicated to cyclists.
The start of this plaque says "...then God created the bicycle...." 
Cyclists arrive at regular intervals and we are impressed with their ability to ride up this mountain.
Inside the church is filled with cycling memorabilia.
Eat your heart out Pavo!  And there's a jersey from the great Miguel Indurain
And one of my favourites The God of Thunder
But there are better yet!

But wait there's more..
Cadel's shirts!!  Even more exciting than knowing George Clooney might be near by is realising we are close to the home of one of my Heros Cadel Evans, who lives just over the border in Stabio, Switzerland.  
The views up here are magic too.
And of course, what would you find in front of such a church?
Nearby is a cycling museum, but sadly they are having financial problems (someone tell me how in such a rich industry?) so are currently only opening on weekends, and we didn't know this yesterday. Here is what we could peek through the windows.
Ah well back to the view.
We walk into Megreglio but nothing much is happening though we do see this interesting sign for real estate, all the houses are measured for their energy use - great idea!  
and a cheese vending machine...
So we eat our picnic under a shady tree near the church, where this bird is busy feeding her new family
It's an hour and a half until our return bus, so Cheryl has an idea. ( I hear you all saying "oh oh!). "Let's walk down." I say. Garrie takes a bit of convincing and then we are striding, carefully, down the winding road.  Yes it's over 12km and we've probably already done a couple walking to and around Bellagio, and down through Megreglio, and then we keep criss crossing for safety, and then there's that short cut we try, that isn't...but the views
We really did come up those in that bus!
And every so often there's a shrine.
And could someone please explain where the heck this crossing is going???
More fabulous views.
However it is now over an hour and a half of walking and I am thinking we'll catch the bus at the next stop when the bus sails past...next sign "winding roads next 2km" hmm so not near home then? But then we would have missed this view
And a feast of mulberries by the roadside
And Garrie seeing his first cow with a proper cow bell
And this church.
So about 2.5 hours after leaving the Madonna we reach our flat, take a short break then walk back into town for a treat.
We browse quite a few lovely little shops and come across this church bell
And a family of swans. Mum and Dad busy providing dinner.
We find a waterfront cafe, shaded in grape vines
With views..
And I try gelato with amaretto, macaroons and cream
And the beer of the day is Heinekin
After about 15km we feel we deserve them. Home for me to do this and Garrie to whip up a gnocchi entree and a pizza main, all washed down with prosecco! Think we'll sleep well tonight! Ciao. Xx