Monday, July 16
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On the 3rd of the 5 summits, we waited for Daryl to finish his
archeological explorations. On the 5th summit, called the "Cima
dell'osservatorio" (aka "observation summit"), there was a neat
installation of hollow metal tubes, each one precisely pointed at a
geographic feature somewhere nearby or on the horizon. We spent a bit
of time peering to and fro. A neat idea.
It was now late in the day, and we still had a relatively long trip back
to our starting point. But, it was pointed out, our return route should
be much faster, because it followed the easy grade of the strada del 52
gallerie. Or so we hoped. Heading down from Cima dell'osservatorio,
we reached the very scenically situated Rifugio Papa, a mountain hut at
the far end of the strada.
The rifugio was mostly deserted, except for the staff, and we wpent some
time on the scenic and sunny outside deck, having large, good quality
and cheap (2 Euro) glasses of beer. The late day had brought clearer
and less hazy skies. The views and the setting were idyllic.
Our walk back along the strada was both educational and relatively quick
(relatively, because it was hard to get Pu to walk more than 10 feet
without him stopping to take tons of pictures!). Each galleria (tunnel)
of the strada del 52 gallerie had a plaque above it, with its name and
length. There were interpretive signs every so often, explaining some
aspect of the construction or operation of the tunnels (they were all
built in less than a year, in part during the winter, in 1917).