Making it to the Frontpage

Wow! We have only seen recently that Jack Wolfskin chose one of our shots from Val Grande for their front page!! In fact, it’s the FIRST video they show! What an honour 🙂

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A screenshot of the front page. We captured this stunning view from the Alpe la Colma (1,726m above sea level). Read here about the wet hike up there.

 

And then, only a couple of days later, we saw the same ad on facebook. It feels REALLY weird when you suddenly see your own footage popping up on your timeline. Technically, more than 700,000 people have by now seen one of our travel videos – even if it’s only these 2 seconds. Crazy.

 

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Screenshot of Jack Wolfskin’s facebook ad (16.09.2017).
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Ciao, Val Grande!

IMG_2751-2A long day lay ahead of us. Our long descent back into civilization was additionally slowed down because we just couldn’t walk past all these bushes full of juicy, ripe  blackberries before we had picked a good couple of kilos of them. A rare treat before autumn!! Eventually, we hitchhiked to the campsite at Lake Mergozzo because we figured it might be nice to spend the last night of our trip in our tent at a lake.

We were wrong. It was horrible. Truly horrible.

Continue reading “Ciao, Val Grande!”

Ghostly Solitude: Val Grande Part 3

Route: Cicogna –> Valley Val Grande

 IMG_2498-2We started the final part of our trek on a crisp and sunny morning. And I’m glad we did because in foggy conditions, I would have been really spoked out by the spider-webby ruins we encountered soon. Over the last few days, we had already seen quite a few of them but the old village of Montuzzo was by far the largest and most impressive sight of our trek.

Before going to Val Grande, Sebastian had told me that exploring some old, abandoned villages in the mountains had always been one of his childhood dreams. And here we were, carefully opening crooked doors on squeaking hinges, peeking through dirt-smeared windows, scrambling through collapsed stone huts. If you are into these kinds of treasure hunts you will have the time of your life in Val Grande, especially in that area. While Sebastian clearly enjoyed the exciting site, I was rather busy making myself think of anything EXCEPT vicious killers hiding in those ruins… Although these villages are long abandoned, there are still many signs of their former inhabitants: old pieces of furniture, broken tools, rusty crookery, … Sebastian’s #GoBackpack video really catches the scary atmosphere.

Due to these explorations, it was already past midday when we finally reached the junction into the wild heart of the National Park: The actual Val Grande. This valley truly lives up the reputation of the National Park. In fact, the path was blocked with this big sign:

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Mh…. bugger. We discussed for a bit and then decided to keep going to see just HOW difficult it was. After all, we both are quite experienced hikers and felt sure-footed and fit after our first week of hiking. So, off we went. Down the forbidden path.

Continue reading “Ghostly Solitude: Val Grande Part 3”

Edging forward: Val Grande Part 2

Route: Agriturismo „Valle Loana“ –> Cicogna

IMG_2225-2After this delicious break at the restaurant, we went back deep into the National Park. Stuffed indeed, yet ready and motivated to tackle our next summits after the rather miserable weather at the beginning of our trek. The storms from the days before were not truly over though and we had dark clouds gathering in our backs for most part of this hike again. But sometimes, travelling fulfils the cheesiest sayings… “Ohne Regen gibt es keine Regenbogen” – indeed. And we spotted a truly stunning specimen: A perfect, uninterrupted half-circle in the most vivid colours. It even turned into a double-rainbow for a bit. Amazing!

We arrived at the next shelter (A. Cortechuiso; 1,883m) in the afternoon, unfortunately it was a rather miserable and drafty thing. We really had to do some laundry though so decided to stay and make ourselves comfortable. Little did we know that we would have to share the view and the shack with 8 other hikers soon… After the first few days of almost complete solitude, we felt like we were sleeping in a crowded hostel 😀

Continue reading “Edging forward: Val Grande Part 2”

Tempest-Tost: Val Grande Part 1

Tour: Premosello-Chiovenda –> Agriturismo Valle Loana (close to Malesco)

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After a 16h bus ride to Milano and another 2h journey on a hot and crowded train, we finally arrived in Premosello-Chiovenda which is one of the possible starting points into Val Grande. The clouds already hung low and heavy on the mountain tops, reminding me of tropical regions rather than the Italian Alps. We were both super exhausted which is why we decided to spend the night in a local B&B. That night, the thunderstorms raged violently for hours and we were glad to have a proper roof over our heads. The next morning, however, we couldn’t wait any longer. The forecast had predicted bad weather for the next three days but since we had appropriate gear and experience, we decided to start our trek despite the rain. We then hitchhiked to Colorro, the last small village before Val Grande’s borders.

And here’s the odd thing about trekking: It usually requires a decent chunk of work beforehand (researching, planning, booking, shopping, packing, …) but once you’re at the beginning of your trail, you set foot on it and your duties immediately shrink to the very basics. And the main duty of course is to walk. One step, two steps, three steps. And 5minutes later you look back and the forest has already swallowed all signs of civilization. I love them, those first few minutes on the trail, they are magic and smell of adventure. Less magic was the sobering fact that we were walking right into a storm.

Continue reading “Tempest-Tost: Val Grande Part 1”

#GOBACKPACK Val Grande

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For those of you who have been wondering about the “GoBackpack”-flags in our recent pictures, here’s the explanation: We took part in Jack Wolfskin’s new campaign and scored a 200€ cashback each with our travel videos. Fantastic opportunity, so make use of it yourself if you need any new equipment.

Anyways, here are our TWO videos giving you some impressions of our wild trek:

Continue reading “#GOBACKPACK Val Grande”

The Alps’ culinary highlights

Trust me: You won’t regret learning some basics about edible plants if you’re into the whole outdoor-thing. This skill just adds so many great flavours, vitamins and minerals to your bland camping food. We loved coming across yummy greens and always paused long enough to gather a few handfuls of them. In Val Grande, we found and used the following plants (I suppose they will grow in other parts of the Alps as well):

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Continue reading “The Alps’ culinary highlights”

Sneak-Peek of Val Grande’s Snappy Peaks

We’re back! After 8days in the Italian National Park Val Grande (and two more days at Lago di Mergozzo to soak our wretched feet and sore muscles), we’re back in Berlin. The crowded subways and busy masses were a big, smacking slap in our sun- and windburned faces, but we are used to that from other returns. Which is why today, I preferred to hide away in my flat on a Friday night, providing you with a first sneak-peek of our adventure. We’ll probably need a couple of weeks to sort out all our footage, but I promise there will be more visual input soon. So, here are our first flashbacks of this wild “big valley”:

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Continue reading “Sneak-Peek of Val Grande’s Snappy Peaks”

ULTIMO PARADISO

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This particular picture is not a recent one. Far from it – it was taken before we set out for our 3week hitchhike-trekking-adventure through the Pyrenees in 2015. Since then, we’ve been to many other destinations but not much felt as exciting as this unique trip. Which is why we’re doing it again: Today, we are setting off for a 10-day trek through the biggest connected wilderness area the Alps still have to offer: The national park Val Grande is comprised of 146 km² and the only signs of humans are abandoned villages and faded tracks. It’s an insider tip amongst Italian hikers who call it ULTIMO PARADISO. My darling – tie your boots and shoulder your backpack! I’m in the mood to find out if this natural gem can truly live up to its reputation… Ahhooooouuuuuuuu!!