Much as I enjoyed my first day in Milan, one day was enough. I had found all the maps I needed to head to the mountains and I was feeling inspired, so I caught the train to Canzo, the friendliest place in Italy, and set off for a hike.
Despite the smog and the rain in Milan, I was still optimistically hoping for stunning views of snow-capped mountains. Unfortunately, it was raining in Canzo too and as I walked up through the village, I stopped to add waterproof layers as often as I tried to take pictures of the rapidly disappearing mountains.
I started off on the path that Mum and I took last summer, following the signs for the 3 Alpi. After the first alp, however, I left that path and headed steeply up hill on the walker's path to the Corni di Canzo. (There are two paths, but one of them involves a via ferrata, and it wasn't the day for experimenting with that.) As well as being over optimistic about the weather, I was hoping to do the 5 hour walk in 4 hours in order to catch the train back to Milan in time for aperitivo with my former colleagues, so I pushed myself hard to get up the mountain in the snow in record time. As a result, I was slightly breathless and this, combined with being surrounded by bare black trees, fog and a thick blanket of snow, contributed to a very other-worldly impression. I did want to arrive “somewhere” before going back down the mountain, however, so I struggled onwards and upwards, stopping every so often to try to figure out how far I had gone and whether I was going to make it or not, which was tricky given the snow underfoot and the total lack of visibility.
I didn't make it right to the Corni themselves, but I reached the rifugio, which made a satisfactory end point to the climb, and let myself rest for an inadequate two and a half minutes before turning round and heading back down the path.
The whole effort became worth it, though, because just at that moment, the mist and clouds began to lift and suddenly gorgeous views of the Lago di Lecco and the Triangolo Lariano began to appear through the trees. In the distance, I could even see the snow-capped mountains.
I caught the train back with minutes to spare after jogging gently down a large section of the track. and arrived at the bar in plenty of time. I peered through the window, but couldn't see anybody I knew inside. Three of my friends were already there, however, and my loud friend Rachel must have said something loudly because just as I was turning to cross the road and check at the other bar, the Chinese bar girl came running out, calling my nickname after me in her very Chinese Italian. And once again, I felt back at home in Milan!