Travel Journal

Lake Garda and Verona

(Friday 7 May 2010) by Jill's travels
Friday, 7th May, we had sunshine today with temperatures in the 20’s! Our family went back yesterday and weather typically changed from thunder and lightening to sizzling heat! All we have done today is prepare to move onto Tuscany tomorrow and cycle into Desenzano Del Garda. It is cosmopolitan but at the same time typical Italian with its church, designer shops, café bars and marina packed with very expensive boats. It is situated in the South Western corner of the Lake and has a nice holiday feel. Our timing was perfect being here as the Miglia 1000 rally which starts at Brescia and ends in Rome (1000 miles/km) passed through here last night, so, we ended up standing for a couple of hours with many locals as the classic cars and ferraris roared passed. It was a fabulous atmosphere as some of the drivers circled the area we were standing or stepped on the go pedal to give an almighty roar when everyone cheered, unfortunately it was dark so couldn’t get many pictures.

Wednesday and Thursday, We had thunder and lightening and woke up to Lake Garda raging. Since arriving here on Saturday the temperatures have been 25 degrees and Lake Garda has been like a mill pond! However, Edwina, Alan’s Sister and Steve, her husband flew out to see us on Sunday and clearly brought the British weather with them, ha. We have managed to get around all around the lake and hadn’t realized the mountain range. On the West side, the road and villages are built in to the mountains and the road actually runs through many tunnels which has a network of roads within them. Limone, Gargnano and Salo are small and have quite beautiful affluent villages which sit alongside the lake. The East side of the lake the road runs alongside the mountains and is just as beautiful however, this side has been developed and is still a work in progress. Laize is on the South Eastern corner and is completely surrounded by City Walls and Guard Towers, it sits quite discreet and could easily be missed however, once inside the walls it is very unique with its small marina and cobbled streets. We were so pleased we stumbled across it, even in the pouring rain it has to be seen! Malcesine is another village further up the lake towards the north, that can’t go unmissed, it has retained its historical medieval origins and the tiny shops are quite lovely to saunter around.

Monday, we are very close to Verona and spent the day there. We didn’t know what to expect and were pleased we were able to see the City in the dry with temperatures on that day dipping in and out of 20+ degrees. We had to see the famous balcony so we headed of there and you can imagine the amount of people squashed into the tiny courtyard. The home of Juliet is not far from the main Square, just of a narrow cobbled street and through a small archway. Inside the arch are lots of messages to Juliet pinned to the brick wall, left by visitors of all kinds of nationalities. I could only make out very few, ‘Amor’ ‘Je Temp! A bronze statue of her sits just under the balcony were everyone poses for a photo touching her breast for luck! The shine on it is a giveaway that a lot of people believe it will bring them luck. Not far away is the tomb of Romeo housed in a modest little palace. The many alleyways running off the Square of Verona are similar to those in Venice and the architecture and homes of the residence very ornate. The balustrades and wood shutters outside the windows, the exterior pastel paintings and rustic coloured walls are contrasted against the contemporary designer shops such as Gucci, D&G and Armani. Apart from the Square everyone congregates outside the Theatre where the Centurions, men and woman dressed in period costumes stand, touting for business.

Lake Garda all in all is quite stunning, typically Italian landscape and villages. The mountain range surrounds the vast area of lake and was a complete surprise to see such a unique setting. It is one of those experiences we will have to repeat. We move to Tuscany tomorrow, so, speak to you from there xxx ps Dad you were so right, Lake Garda was very special x

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