Well this time I'm on a train travelling from Lake Garda to Venice. You have to catch 'typing' time when you can, the travel director doesn't allow much leisure time for non essentials!
Lake Garda proved to be lovely again, it is the largest lake in Italy and south east of Lake Como, that is where the similarities end, almost, as they are both beautiful, have deep blue water and mountainous surrounds with lots of old joints up on the ridges. Where Como is the land of the rich & famous, however, Garda is the holiday playground for the normal Italians and don't they love it. They have Movieland, Nature Land, GardaLand, Prehistoric Land plus every imaginable type of boat, fishing, skiing and, the best of all, lying on mid-size pebbles (beach?) and getting a suntan when they are already dark brown! We stay in a 2nd floor one bedroom apartment in a caravan/camping resort on the lakes edge with views of the lake. We have a friend who is the chef here and also he runs the lounge/bar on the waterfront. We had dinner with his wife and kids and further improved their English rather than our Italian! Great meal and fun night!
We had a rental car so our days were spent driving around the entire lake and visiting the lakeside villages and towns. The Italians proved to be wonderful engineers again building tunnels and bridges so that you rarely left the lakes edge except when a mad Italian driver nearly forces you off the road and into the lake! Kev had a day's driving experience by then and saved us many times and then he become one of them...really made me feel safe (NOT!).Throw in the tour coaches and very large trucks and you have a typical day out in the countryside! As I had caught a head cold and was full of drugs (to help me soldier on), this day became surreal as driving the autostrada at 130kph we were being constantly passed by, I thought they were figments of my imagination, but no, they were Italians driving at 160 km annoyed at the Aussie doing the speed limit!! Not for the faint hearted!
Our close friends from Hope Island suggested as we were so close we should visit the Dolomites north of Garda, we did a reccy and decided to book a room to allow a day up and day back and it was worth every minute. We stay in a town called Castelrotto which is as close as you will get to what (I think) Australians believe a mountainous Swiss village would look like even though they speak Italian and German! Luckily there was no snow, even though that would look good, that idea and Kev just does not gel! Kev's photos will show more than I can say, but we did get to ride the chair lift up to the top which was fun if a little windy.
Our quickly researched accommodation proved to be disastrous, too long a story for me to explain but as we had not prepaid (thank goodness) we sourced a lovely chalet style hotel who did a dinner, bed and breakfast deal that proved amazing. Views to die for off our balcony, great food, bar, heated pool etc etc etc. Shame we didn't have time to enjoy it all, so if you are ever this way we'll give you the address!
All in all, Northern Italy has proven again to be a wonderful part of the world.
I am now finishing this tale in our fabulous Venice apartment!! The travel guru has got 6 stars for this one, 3 bedrooms (4 of us), beautifully renovated and every conceivable thing (and more) that you could desire from a hostess and her generous supplies. We have had 2 nights already and this is our last with Kev in the gourmet kitchen whipping up a seafood pasta dish!
Wine is open and church bells chiming and chiming and chiming!!
Again, I won't go on about Venice except to say it is as unique as ever, the weather has been superb (24 degrees mostly) we've walked the alleyways, visited the shops, vaparetto-d on every waterway, been to Murano and Burano islands and photographed every old building in town....which means them all !
Kev's photos will show this beautiful city better than I could ever describe!!
We board our cruise ship tomorrow morning for 12 nights and are all looking forward to luxury, pampering and more wonderful places to experience, most we have never been to before.
This will be it from me for a while as no Internet means my fingers can take a break!