I have a big breakfast in the morning to start the day, we’re going to need all the energy we can get for our climb up Monte Grona (1736m). We head into town to catch the bus which winds up the steep roads to Breglia which sits at about 750m, before we have to make the rest of the way on foot – guidebooks say its about a 2 hour hike with medium difficulty and that you will need good shoes… I only have my vans on me which the soles are all but worn out and offer no grip whatsoever.
I had never done any kind of real hike and so by 30 mins of straight uphill walking my quads were burning and sore. I thought to myself the view from up here is decent enough, why don’t I just stop here?
But I had not travelled around the world to only go halfway – to the top we go! As we climb up it is hard to tell how close we actually are as the trail is surrounded by tall trees and you can’t quite see the top, nor look back and see how high up we are from the lake below. It is only after 1h 45m that the trees start to clear, the path becomes narrower and the air becomes cooler. We then arrive at Rifugio di Mennagio (~1400m), a nice little refuge which offers incredible views along with welcome snacks and drinks.
We still had another 300m to climb before reaching the top however, and it gets much steeper as we go onwards – there are chains bolted into the side of the mountain to afford grip. There are also mountain goats up here, making their presence known with the bells around their necks. After a solid half hour of climbing we are at the peak! The view is absolutely stunning, despite being summer you can still see some of the snow capped peaks of the pre-alps. At the peak you can also see over the other side of the mountain to another set of lakes, Lago di Piano and Lago di Laguna. The climb was most definitely worth it, if not for the views, then for the feeling of accomplishment of climbing my first mountain.
It was time to head back down to Breglia to catch the bus as after 4pm they become more infrequent. It is a quick descent and a welcome rest for the legs. We head back to Menaggio for some lunch in the town before getting changed into our swimmers for an afternoon dip into the lake. The water is incredibly refreshing after a long day of hiking, some of the other hostel guests have elected to go skinny dipping! I didn’t stay for too long in the water as it is a little harder to tread water for longer periods of time as Lake Como is a freshwater lake. The beach is also a pebble beach, not very comfortable for relaxing on so we head back up to the hostel which is just on the other side of the road for some evening drinks. More guests have checked in during the day and it seems the hostel is setting up for a nice party tonight! We head in to town to dinner with some of our new friends before a night of copious drinking and dancing back the hostel.