Juan:'How was your holiday?'
Peter:'It was really good. We went walking in the Alps for a week.'
Juan:'Cool. I've never been, but I hear it's beautiful. Did you see any volcanoes erupting when you were there?'
Peter:'There are no volcanoes there. The only volcanoes in Europe are in the south of Italy. In the Alps there are only mountains.'
Juan:'Did you walk up any of them when you were there?'
Peter:'Yeah, we walked up 4 mountains when we were there. They are so high, over 2,000 metres tall.'
Juan:'Not like here in England. The mountains here are a lot smaller.'
Peter:'Well, we don't really have any mountains in England. They are too small. We call them hills instead.'
Juan:'So, a small mountain is called a hill. I didn't know that. How long did it take you to walk to the top of the mountains there?'
Peter:'It depends on the mountain. But to get to the summit of most of them from the bottom, it takes around 4 or 5 hours. And it's hard work as well when you are walking up them. The slopes of the mountains are very steep, some of them are at a 60 degree angle.'
Juan:'I've seen what the slopes are like when cyclists are going up and down the mountains in the Tour de France.'
Peter:'And as you are going up the slopes of the mountains, you see boulders next to the path. Really big rocks that have fallen off the mountain which you can climb on.'
Juan:'It doesn't sound like a lot of fun to me. I think I would prefer to relax on a beach.'
Peter:'It isn't easy getting up them. But the views from the tops of the mountains are amazing. You can see for miles and miles. And also in the Alps near the summits you'll see some glaciers, very large pieces of ice moving down the mountains. It's spectacular!'
Juan:'But isn't it dangerous walking in the mountains?'
Peter:'Normally no. But on one day we reached the summit of one mountain and the route we were taking meant that we had to walk along a long ridge that went to the summit of another mountain. It was really windy. And if you fell either to your left or right, you'd drop a hundred metres or more.'
Peter:'A ridge has a shape like a triangle where the two sides/slopes of a mountain meet and it often continues for a long distance.'
Juan:'Isn't that called a cliff?'
Peter:'No, it isn't. Because a cliff is a vertical piece of rock which is normally very tall.'
Juan:'I think I understand. I don't like heights, so I don't think I'd like to go to the Alps.'
Peter:'You don't have to go up the mountains if you don't want to. You can also go walking in the valleys at the bottom of the mountains.'
Juan:'You mean the things which look like a 'V' or 'U' with two slopes/sides going upwards and a river at the bottom of them.'
Peter:'That's right. That's what a valley is. There's one place where we went where there's a beautiful gorge. It's like a valley, with a river at the bottom, but the sides are cliffs, tall vertical pieces of rock.'
Peter:'Also at the bottom of one of the cliffs in this gorge, there's a cave that you can go into. It's dark inside the cave, but it's cool being actually under the big cliff.'