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The Not-So-Virgin Mary

  DAY 3 (final day of the walk) At breakfast the morning of Day 3 I chat with a pleasant Austrian solo-hiker. She now lives in south London and is heading towards Bellagio, too. She’s the only trekker I meet over the three days who’s heading along La Dorsale in the same direction. I say bye-bye to the Ostello, pay up (65 euros including all drinks), thank the friendly and helpful If-You're-Called-Danny  and set off towards Wolf’s Farm. They’ve been pruning the trees to the left of the track, so there are a lot of sturdy lopped-off branches lying around. I weaponise. That damn wolf comes anywhere near me again, I’m going to beat his brains out. I whistle and sing loudly as I approach the farm ...  OK, let’s give Wolfy the slight benefit of the doubt: I have in the past been attacked by dogs which were asleep when I got too near them. They hear DANGER!!! in their sleep, jump awake in panic and instinctively attack. So I’ll at least let him know I’m coming … then we’ll see what we s
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The wolf grabs me in his jaws and ...

  DAY 2 (of three) I more or less sleep through – waking only once – and am woken by a dog barking. I look at my phone: 7.13. Longer than I expected to sleep. I sit up and peek out the window.   A mountain shepherd, two collies and about 100 sheep mixed with a few black goats boil over the brow. Ah. He’ll just pass through, won’t he. He doesn’t – I can see him standing just below the steps up to my hideout on the berm, leaning on his two sticks and puffing on his pipe. The guy is not exactly in the first flush of rosy-cheeked youth. Quite the opposite, in fact. The quintessential ‘mountain shepherd’, battered old hat and all. One of the collies comes up the steps and lies down directly outside my outside door. 'Er – am I supposed to be here?' I think. 'Well, first things first – better get some clothes on. If the shepherd’s confronted by a stark-naked foreigner halfway up a mountain in a building he’d thought was empty he’ll probably have an immediate heart attack and, th


  LA DORSALE DEL TRIANGOLO LARIANO A 3-Day Walk from Como to Bellagio Ralph Hoyte 2018   The purpose of this 10-day Italian adventure has been to make re-acquaint with my friends Tania and Fabrizio, who live in Milano, take in some of the ‘ Europa in Versi 2018 ’ poetry festival Tania is performing in in Como, do some poetry with her and other performers as part of ‘ Poesia Present e’ in Concorezzo, and take part in Tania and Fabrizio’s multi-cultural meet-up group they organize in their neighbourhood. Now that’s all done and dusted and I’ve discovered some of Milano, I’ve decided to leave the beautiful two to their hectic lives and take off for the hills for a few days, returning for Fabrizio’s birthday, then a day in Bergamo, then home to Bristol. DAY 1 I arrive in Como on one of the morning trains from Milan Porta Garibaldi. I’ve got a map of the whole walk in English and in German. It’s produced by Kompass; I think they’re a German company. It includes a general guide to