October 28 – November 4, 2020
The allure of Locarno is that it is warmer and sunnier than Basel. Normally I’m not a fan of “warmer and sunnier”, but when you’re talking about late autumn weather, then this is my preferred forecast. Today’s plans were to take advantage of this: we would take a cable car to the top of a local mountain and hike down. Easy peasy!
The day started with a quick ride up the local funicular (Locarno Funicolare) to Madonna del Sasso, and then transfer to the Orselina-Cardada gondola. We were packed in pretty tight and everyone had their face masks on. At Cardada we continued up to Cimetta in an open seat lift, so it was just Dan and I, with no social distancing required. The views on the way up were amazing, and I was looking forward to seeing them change from the various view points we’d pass on the way back down.
There weren’t many people at the top of Cardada, which was quite chilly at 1,670 metres. The sun was shining brightly and Locarno and Lago Maggiore were glistening in the distance. What a great way to start the day!
The hike down started off easy enough. It was a gentle decline that snaked along the south and southeastern facing slopes. We didn’t see anyone else on the trails until we reached Cardada, where we had originally transferred to the chair lift.
We passed through this area and continued down. Down, down, down…. and then it hit: the tendon behind my knee shrieked out in pain. Every step had become a chore. I tried so hard to shift my weight so as to ease the ache, but the trail just kept on going.
And the trail changes to steps. Lots of steps
We finally reached the neighborhood of Orselina and I asked Dan if we could wait for the next bus. He checked the schedule and it would be a long wait – longer than even I wanted to wait. After a short break I said that I’d be up for the continued hike.
A most ingenious parking solution
We eventually limped all of the way back to the hotel. I was deeply disappointed in myself. I normally thrive on downhill hikes and it was not a good way to start the holiday. We relaxed for a while and then Dan found us a decent pizza place, Ristorante Pizzeria Al Torchio, not too far from our hotel.
5G really does kill!