After the horrific Mount Blanc tunnel our first destination in Italy was a tiny town in the Valle D’Ayas. We were staying in a village near to the top of the valley called Magneaz.
Magneaz is a really tiny place, a lot smaller than we expected but really fantastic. The village is made up of maybe 20 houses and a small church nestled in the mountains behind the larger winter resort town of Champuloc. Our host, Francesca lives in a little apartment here, overlooking the valley.
Jake and I both love the mountains so to stay here is, for us, just perfect. This is place for only those who love nature and the outdoors. If you’re a city person maybe it would be a bit quiet!!
Francesca loves it here and I can see why. In the summer she hikes and in the winter she snowboards. Who could ask for more? Even though Jake can’t hike at the moment, it is still fantastic to be in this place!
Francesca was working in the afternoon so Jake and I (after a nap!) took the bike out and had an explore of Champuloc. As we’re at the end of the summer season the town is very quiet. Of the few tourists left most are Italian. In the centre there are plenty of shops, bars and restaurant but right now – at 8pm on a weeknight – it’s dead.
After Francesca finished work we went with her back to the town for a drink. It was great to chat and learn a bit more about how this season works. It seems the population of this place more than trebles in the winter for those skiing and snowboarding then goes back to nothing for the months until summer and hiking tourists arrive.
Next day she was free until the afternoon so while Jake had a look over his bike Francesca and I did a short hike up to one of the 5 star hotels in the mountain. Only an hour or so up it was like being in a different world. So peaceful and quiet, we walked up a trail through the pine trees before emerging into a clearing overlooking the valley. It was beautiful. If we had more time I’d love to do a long hike, up to the higher peaks. One day!
That afternoon, after a lovely lunch cooked by Francesca at her place we went back into town for a coffee and an hour or so planning time with the laptop. With our blog and couch surfing we need to invest some time online nearly every day.
That evening we took a ride up the valley, as far as we could go before the road ended. The light was just perfect and we had a fantastic view of the mountains behind.
Back in Champuloc we had our first Italian pizza. Only problem was that we had to get it home on the bike… It was easier than you’d think. I just had to balance it on my knee and hold on to the bike with the other hand. Easy (When you know how)!
After only two nights in Magnaez we were off again. It was typical, this morning was a glorious day and it was pretty uncomfortable jumping on the bike all bundled up with our gear for another bike riding day.