Penne Lake is not in my ears and in my eyes.
At Penne Lake there was no barber showing photographs.
And on January 1st it certainly wasn’t beneath the blue suburban skies!
Nobody calls it Penne Lake. It’s Lago di Penne. But sometimes songs, even songs with the wrong lyrics, can burrow their way into your head and they just won’t go away.
(And sure enough it’s back again, as I write this post.)
On January 1st I was feeling a little under the weather. Only a few hours earlier I’d eaten way too well, and certainly way too much, as we counted down the hours to 2011.
A little wine was had too. Not too much though, so I wasn’t even close to having a hangover, but I still felt a bit dodgy the next morning.
I think my body was just rebelling because it couldn’t believe I was seriously going to continue eating after the second course. There were five courses.
Walking I’ve found is the only solution, get the body moving again, let your system know it’s alive. I’m not talking about hiking or trekking (although I do like a long walk in the hills) I’m talking about a gentle stroll by the sea, through a forest or beside a lake.
That’s where Lago di Penne came into play.
It’s not a natural lake. It was created by constructing a dam on the Tavo River in the heart of Vestini country. It’s protected by law and has Botanical Gardens, an Otter Centre and a Butterfly Garden, as well as various wildlife areas. We saw some deer feeding as we wandered around. There’s nothing like seeing deer doing deer-like things to take you mind off the night before. I just wish they weren’t feeding.
We had a purpose. Our plan was to walk along the woodland trail beyond a point where the lake narrows to wooden rope bridge. I wasn’t looking forward to crossing the rope bridge. I’d crossed it before a couple of years ago and found that I wasn’t fond of the way it bounced up and down as you approached the midpoint.
But our Swiss friend M hadn’t seen it or crossed it before and it’s a nice walk through the woods so I distracted myself with a song from the 60’s (that song again) and after a couple of false turns we found the bridge.
It was a perfect day for recovery. There was no wind, no sun (sometimes bright lights can hinder recovery) and no rain. Apart from the wildlife I think we had the lake to ourselves.
As you can see from the photos it was grey and slightly misty. For a few moments the light changed a little and a green sheen rippled on the surface. But mostly we saw grey skies and grey water.
This isn’t a tough walk, nor is it a long walk, but there are a couple of steep and slippery places where good footwear helps.
If you want to find the rope bridge yourself head to the Riserva Naturale Regionale Lago Di Penne, (this Google Map might help). If you’re approaching from Penne you first cross the dam bridge and then you follow the road and cross a second bridge, head right and there is parking near the visitors centre.
Leave the car and walk under the second bridge (back the way you drove) passing tiles with pictures of birds, keep following the path with the lake on your left. Soon after the point where the lake narrows to a river you’ll see the rope bridge. You might want to walk across it one at a time – it was my preferred option that day.
Don’t forget to visit the Nature Reserve. You’ll have to pay in but you can get lucky and see deer, otters, wild birds and maybe some cool butterflies depending on the time of year.
After we drove away I was ready for icecream and coffee, just to aid recovery.