Tolmin – Castelmonte – Cormòns. From Dober Dan to Buongiorno. 

​Day 23. Yesterday’s food shopping weighs heavy in my backpack… I make a note to myself to not go in a supermarket super hungry again. Before I leave, the owner of the hotel Dvorek wants to take a picture of me to put on his website as a hiker’s hotel. I’ll be famous! 😉

It’s foggy but beautiful outside and I already set myself the goal to hike today again two days in one, today is seven but tomorrow only 4h30 hours. As a big part seems to be flat or downhill, I am sure to be faster anyway. After all I am not in the Alps anymore. But first of all its going steep up and an hour after my start I’m already soaking wet from sweating! 

Again the Soče river
Looking back down on Tolmin (left) and Volče (right)

After 3 1/2 hours in forests and on roads I arrive at the Kolovrat. A dark chapter in the history, hundreds of thousands died here in the first world war, at the frontier between then Austria -Hungary and Italy. The open air museum attracts a number of tourists (who have of course arrived by car or bus not by foot as myself).  It’s a horrible feeling walking through the dugouts and thinking about all those people who left their lives here. But at the same time the nature couldn’t be more beautiful with the flowers and the last glance to the Julian Alps. 

Beautiful nature with view of the Julian Alps – horrible history
Borderstone

I am now in Italy and although I will still be very close to the border during the next day I will stay in Bella Italia for the remaining hiking days. Down it goes to the small village of Clabuzzaro where three old ladies want to know where I am hiking. In my few Italian words I explain my hike and they cannot believe that I really came by foot all the way from Salzburg. Shortly after its time for lunch in the shadow of the church San Volfango. My cheese is melted but tastes just as good on some Slovenian bread with tomatoes.

Just 15minutes later I meet a German couple who are also from Berlin and also doing the trail, just in the opposite direction! Of course I have to take another break and chat with them about the trail. The guy has some issues with his knee and isn’t sure if he can continue. I give him the tight bandage I carry since Salzburg without ever needing it. At least it can now help someone and will relief me of about 100g weight 😉 but it’s already late and I hurry upwards, almost dying at the steep hill in the hot Italian sun. I thought it’s going to be easy now! Much later than expected, at 2.45pm I reach Tribil Superiore. I feel tired but don’t really want to stay here, so I continue in a fast pace. However fast I try to hike, I am not faster than the time indicated in the guidebook. OK, I will arrive after 7pm the for the first time… 

Some nice views and plenty of churches later I have to hike down a few hundred meters of altitude,  knowing that I have to hike it up again to reach my final destination for today, the monastery Castelmonte. Somehow I gather my last energy and the dreaded hike up is much easier and faster than expected. At 6.30pm I am in the very small Castelmonte which consists of the church with the famous Madonna, the monastery, an albergo (restaurant plus hotel) and a few souvenir shops for the pilgrims. The owner of the albergo is already waiting for me (I have called ahead) and shows me my room before saying he closes at 7pm. I am lucky again to have arrived just in time and it finally proofs good I carried so much food as I won’t get any here tonight!  

Castelmonte

But first shower and then I am even admitted to the church to see the Madonna although official opening times are already past. Only a handful of people are still here. I eat something and go out again to watch the sunset. The clouds, mountains, colours and sunrays are beautiful and I am in a special atmosphere here in the silent monastery. An old lady is the only one staying with me in the albergo. We chat and watch the sunset. She is Italian but lived 20 years in the USA. Her boys are still living there. We talk about life and travels and family. I am so thankful for everything coming so well together at the end of my long hiking day and especially this incredible sunset with the lady. 

Day 24. I should have known that I feel bad after such a big hiking day. I didn’t sleep well and had some stomach issues. My body aches as I start slowly into the day. But life is simple now for me, not matter how I feel I just get up and hiking anyway. I have 28km, 500m up and 1060m down to cover today. I will just take it slowly. After the first part in the forest I finally reach the wineries of the Collio through which I will hike the remaining of the day. The sun has no mercy and I am happy for the many churches which provide some shadow for my breaks. 

After 6hours I am in Vencò and stop for a cappuccino and big acqua con gas, sitting in the shadow for quite a while,  waiting for the temperature to cool down a little. 90minutes left to the town Cormòns where I am staying tonight (and hopefully can buy new boots, mine are completely worn off now). The last part feels very long as my feet are aching even in my sandals. Finally I arrive in Cormòns and take a shower in my hotel. As I walk to the sports shop, the streets are empty. As is the shop, they have maybe 10 different types of hiking boots but none in my size. Well,  let’s see what Triest has to offer! 

In Cormòns
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