"From Julie Andrews to Fred Flinstone in one day" Capo di Ponte by merockwell
Capo di Ponte Travel Guide: 13 reviews and 36 photos
By day 2 in Verona Eileen had figured out that the charger on the GPS hadn't been charging despite what the little green light had said, but it was now. From Verona we were headed to Marone on Lago (lake) Iseo which is in the ALPS. We could get there on the trusty A4 in about an hour and a 15 minutes, but now that we had the GPS working I started looking for alternative routes on the map that were a bit more adventurous. I plotted a course that took us up into the Alps first, then over a couple of mountain ranges to get there. Eileen was a little skeptical about what appeared to be a goat trail on the map covering the last 50 kilometers, but I figured it wouldn't be on the map if it wasn't drivable so what the hell. We weren't going to go directly to Marone because I wanted to go to an area called Val Carmonica which is about 50 kilometers north of the Lago Iseo. Then we'd end up at the lake in the early evening. This area has the largest concentration of prehistoric rock carvings in the world going back to the ice age 10,000 years ago. By luck the goat trail that I had picked came down right into this valley. The drive through the Alps was awesome. The higher we got the more spectacular it got. We were on small secondary roads going through little villages tucked into valleys with alpine meadows all over the place. We knew it was Italy not Austria, but we kept expecting to see Julie Andrews on a hilltop singing "The hills are alive.................." every time we came over a rise. After a couple of hours we got to the turn off for the goat trail and headed up, and up, and up, and did I say up? It was not a goat trail, but this was one narrow road. Most of the time if you met a car coming the other way (of which there were only 3, thankfully) one or both of you had to pull part way off the road or back up to find a place that was wide enough to do even that. But it was paved, well at least most of the way. So we wound our way for 50 kilomoters in first and 2nd gear up past the tree line. There was snow on the side of the road in places, up and over a couple of mountain passes and through some of the most spectacular scenery that we'd ever seen. We had a blast!!
We made it to Val Carmonica and stated looking for the signs to Parco Nationalle delle Incisioni Rupestri where all of the rock carvings were. This is a big deal. This is the largest concentration of Ice Age rock carvings in the world. This place is famous. Let me say this. There are better signs showing the way to the "Worlds biggest ball of twine" in Mayberg, Nebraska than there are for this place. We did find it however. By now we were starting to figure out the secrets to finding these kind places. The really cool stuff is down the roads that DON'T have any special signs. We parked in the lot that held 6 cars, paid the 3 euros to the ranger and headed up the trail to the rock carvings. I have an observation to make here. This wasn't the first national park/natural wonder/scenic area thing that we had sought out in our trips. This situation is not unusual. I think it is all part of the plan. They know that thousands of people mobbing these places is just going to screw them up so they don't make them all that convenient to access on purpose. You have to want to want to get there and you have to put in a little effort, but it's worth it. You get to see really cool stuff with no crowds, and no hype. If this was in the U.S. There would have been a "Cave Man" motel at the bottom of the hill, the parking lot would have held 500 cars, you'd be able to get a Bronto Burger at the Bedrock Snack Bar and stop at not one, but your choice of 2 Starbuck's afterwards. We think they got it right.
A word of warning. The path to the carvings is very long, uneven cobblestones, and uphill BOTH WAYS but worth the trek non the less. Anyway, the rock art was very cool. Lots' of ice age animals, guys with spears, bows and arrows etc. It really made you stop and think just how long people had been right here. All of human history had passed up and down this valley and there were people here living through all of it. One other thing that is different about how they do things. While this is a national park, it is also right outside of town and people live there and have their houses scattered throughout the park. I guess they weren't going to move from where they had lived for hundreds of years just because some people wanted to walk around and look at the funny pictures on the rocks. So here you are taking pictures at site 23 on the map. It's of a guy chasing a deer with a spear carved on a big standing stone while 20 feet away a family is hanging out behind their house having a BBQ (or whatever they call it in Italian) drinking wine and watching the kids drive their big wheels through the standing stones like a slalom course. From guys wearing furs and carrying spears to kids on big wheels, all on the same spot separated by 10,000 years.
We finished the day in Marone on Lago Iseo
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