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Written on: Friday May 28th, 2010

A journal entry from: Europe 2010


A short journey today took us to Lake Garda in Northern Italy.  We decided to take the Autostrada as we would have otherwise travelled through three big cities, not really seeing anything and just getting frustrated. We arrived in Sirmione which is on the southern shore of the lake at 11 am, had a bit of a walk to find our hotel as Tom didn't quite get it right but when we tried to check in we were too early and our room wasn't ready so we went for a drive around to look at the area and also pick up supplies as we were self catering for two days.  From the map I imagined the area to be like Penticton, a large lake with some communities around it but lots of open spaces where you could drive around and see the lake from the road, not so.  It's a very commercialized place and although our limited map only showed a few small towns, it's actually wall to wall housing, hotels, resorts, fantasy parks, aquariums etc.  We realized how lucky we are to have so many views of the lake in Penticton and along the roads up and down the valley. So we soon gave up our idea of actually seeing any lake and went back to our residence which was now ready for occupation.  The studio suite is quite good, for the first time in three weeks we actually have a fridge we can get more than three beers in, a living room, bedroom and bathroom and a lovely patio with table and chairs overlooking the courtyard where there's a pool that's actually open.  So far all the pools in the hotels we've stayed in have been closed for the season.  Strange though that we had to pay 6E extra for two bath towels (which are like tablecloths) and two hand towels (that are like dish towels) and bedding plus we had to pay a clean up charge of 30E if we stayed more than one night – still can't figure that one out, does it take more time to clean if we stay 2 nights rather than 1?  So we had lunch on our patio and then plonked ourselves on a sunbed and spent the afternoon lazing by the pool.  It was quite hot even though there was a haze over the sun – about 24C I think.  A bit noisy though as there are a lot of families staying here and children love the pool, mostly Germans we think but we did hear some American accents. We had a lovely meal on our patio that night of leftover steak, salad (with dressing) and corn – not a bite of pasta in sight.


May 29th

It was lovely to wake up and make our own coffee and then sit out on the patio for an hour before we went for a walk.  Our main purpose today was to find some new potatoes.  When we were in Venice we saw some for sale but had nowhere to cook them, now we did.  It took us three shops before we found any and they didn't look brilliant but we decided to give them a go anyway to have with our barbecued chicken and salad.  The plan was to then sit around the pool for the rest of the day but the weather forecast at last got it right and soon after lunch the heavens opened and it poured.  Still we were fortunate as our deck was covered so we were still able to sit outside.  I worked on getting all the photos that I'd taken into some sort of order and Roger worked on his Suduko puzzles.  We began drinking beer early as we got behind schedule yesterday and would have too many left over, well that was Roger's excuse anyway. All in all a quiet day as we wind down our three week trip.


May 30th

Drove to Lake Iseo about an hour and a half away from Lake Garda.  This is where Roger and I had our first holiday together camping by the lake with my brother and his wife 42 years ago.  We couldn't remember the name of the campground nor its location but thought it was just a small area so we could probably would be able to find it – wrong.  We did find a campground that looked an awful lot like the one we stayed at but across the road was a railway line and we both remembered there being a restaurant/bar across from our campground.  We drove for 15km along the west side of the lake and found that it was even more beautiful than we remembered but couldn't find anything resembling the area we stayed in, so we drove 15km along the west side and nothing there either.  We stopped for lunch of leftovers on a bench alongside the lake and then went for a walk, there were tons of swans there and one couple had eight babies. 


It took us about 30 minutes  from Iseo to drive to the airport to drop off the car but we had to fill up the tank first, it was a Sunday so none of the service stations were fully open and would only accept cards or cash – no problem we thought but the cards it would accept weren't credit cards. Fortunately we did have cash and after attempts at two different stations we were able to fill and drop the car off.  Roger was a little nervous that we might get charged for some damage to the car, there was a chip on the windshield that wasn't marked on the damage sheet and he'd also got a bit close to the curb on one of the narrow streets and scraped one of the hubcaps but they guy only looked to see if the tank was full and sent us on our way.  Our hotel was advertised as having a shuttle but the shuttle apparently only goes from the hotel to the airport and no the other way so we had to get a taxi,.  We thought the taxi driver took a long way around and that was proved when the next day we got a taxi back (the shuttle wasn't free and sporadic) and it was 10 minutes and 5E cheaper.  On the evening we strolled down to the town centre and had our last meal of mussels which were delicious, I had lamb chops and Roger hade pizza – didn't manage to finish it as mentioned before the pizzas are huge.


Sat around for a couple of hours at the hotel for a couple of hours before leaving for Bergamo airport which is where I'm writing this now as we wait in line for the check in to open.  So far, it looks as if the flight will be on time and we should be in Leeds for 4 pm and ready to start our time with the family in Yorkshire.  It's been a great three weeks, lots of laughs, many frustrations – which eventually become laughs.  The scenery and the history has been fantastic but we do compare it to Canada and feel that we wouldn't like to leave our quiet area with the lovely lakes and comparatively small volume of traffic.



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