The Grignetta, Lombardy, Italy

The Grignetta or Grigna south or Grigna of Champion is a mountain in Lombardy (2177 meters) and is part of the group Grigne, being the highest the Grigna or Grignone. Its form is quite regular and there are two sides: one to the south (with a view of Lecco and the Resinelli valley) and another to the north (which connects it with Grignone). There are also other well-defined ridges such as the Sinigaglia Ridge (it can be reached from the Porta refuge) and the Segantini Ridge which connects the Valsecchi hill to the summit, showing a degree of difficulty III. It is a very important place well-known by local and international climbers. The torrent Grigna, born at Canalone Porta, flows into the Caldone and ends at Lecco. The normal route of ascent is the Cermenati ridge (easy walk). The Cecilia trail connects with the Rosalba hut at the top and there are trails with chains. The highway connects the summit of Grignetta to the summit of Grignone.

Tips

The paths for regular walkers are marked with the letter E, while those for experienced climbers have a double E. These are very difficult and physically demanding tracks, it is necessary to calculate an average of three hours to climb and two hours to go down.

Trails are free and there is no control to record climbers; so be careful if you do not really have experience; taking the trails is just at your own risk.

Karlstein Castle, Czech Republic

Karlstein Castle (Hrad Karlštejn), located 30 km from Prague, is one of the most important castles in Bohemia. It was founded by Charles IV to preserve the jewels of the Imperial crown of the Holy Roman Empire, the royal crown of the Bohemian states and the various holy relics. The original castle was of Gothic architecture but after being abandoned for over a century, many Gothic elements were replaced by others of the Renaissance type. It is known as the most visited castle of the Czech Republic. It has 5 levels with several towers and the large dungeon has 60m.

Tips

Prepare for a walk of about 20 minutes to get there, as the access by car stops in the parking of the main road, the rest of the ascent must be done on foot.

Do not miss the Saint Croix chapel in the upper tower. Generally it is necessary to make a reservation to visit it because of the great affluence of tourists. It has 4 partially glazed windows of gems, a cross of ogives and frescoes illustrating the life of Christ and 129 paintings representing saints signed by Theodoric.

You will also find a well with a depth of 80m where the bucket is raised and lowered by a wheel once driven by people who walked.

It is possible to book a guided tour in different languages. For visits in Czech, German or English it is not necessary.

St. Joseph’s Oratory, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

St. Joseph’s Oratory is the largest church in Canada, located on the northwest flank of Mount Royal in Montreal. The secondary element of the site is the Catholic basilica whose dimensions, its cross and the dome (60 m high and 39 m in diameter) are remarkable. The place has gardens where you can take a holy path with several sculptures that represent the Passion of Christ. Brother André took the initiative for its construction which started through donations and in 1904 a small modest chapel dedicated to St. Joseph, was inaugurated but it could not contain all the faithful while its doors were open and the faithful were praying outside so they decided to expand the place and the same was extended twice for the present appearance that can accommodate 1,000 people. The walls are covered with silver granite and the dome is covered with copper. There are several sculptures, paintings, stained glass windows, a chime and a large important organ. There are 283 steps to climb to the oratory and nearly a hundred are in wood for pilgrims who want to get it on his knees. Outside the church there is the Chapel of Brother André that is also his grave. He was beatified in 1982 by Pope John Paul II. Father André was known to receive sick people and heal them through his prayers to St. Joseph so there is a chapel where you’ll see the canes, prostheses, corsets, etc., which left the sick who felt healed.

Tips

At Christmas time, you can visit a part of a collection of more than 900 nativity scenes in the Oratory Museum.
The heart of Brother André is exposed behind a wrought iron gate in the exhibit room dedicated to his life and his work.