Saturday 3 November 2018

Lazy afternoons at lake Garda

  1. Leaving Venice. Our genius way of renting a car. 28.10 Tuesday
  2. 1st city – Padua??? Parking and a dent in a car. Walking and a bookshop. What did Silvia blackmail her parents into buying? Tuesday
  3. Sirmione – looking for our apartement for a long time. Saw a lovely restaurant. Must go there. Grocery shopping. Vallo cooked dinner.
  4. Waking up late and sulking. 29.10 Wednesday
  5. Dry cleaners
  6. Where did we go on the first day? Was it the cold and desolate neighbouring town where Maari went into a candy shop and I wanted to photograph a dog?
  7. Sirmione old town.
  8. 30.10. Thursday – a drive into the mountains and over lake Garda (Torri del Benaco) to d’Annunzio’s house (Gardone Riviera)
  9. 31.10. Friday – Verona
  10. 1.11. Saturday – Milan
  11. 2.11. Sunday – Milan (Vallo departs, The Last Supper
  12. 03.11. Monday – Milan (hairdresser )

This is what happens, when you won’t immediately write down your travelling experiences. I read these items and some of them seem like they aren’t even written by me. What cold and desolate neighbouring town and photographable dog?
I will have to try and remember by looking at the pictures. 

The story about renting a car is ideed a funny one. Vallo was adamant about renting a car beforehand. Tere he went, fussing online and asked me if he could give my credit card information for payment. Of course he could. Next morning I saw a letter from the rental company but didn’t pay much attention to it as I assumed it was a confirmation. So we heave our luggage on the bus at Venice and then off again at the rental car park. What was missing was our car because the rental company had sent me a reply that as there was no money on my account, they wouldn’t give me a car. Vallo and I went to settle this mess and we left the children on the parking lot. To be honest everything turned out quite nicely and quickly, but Silvia and Maari made faces and said we weren’t to be trusted. Honestly,  I don’t really trust myself either. Taking into account the experiences I had in South Africa and Chios I took out full insurance on the car just in case and rightly so, because in Padua I immediately drove into a wall. Vallo should have been driving but as it turned out he had forgotten his licence. Silvia went straight into a bookshop and made us buy her an Italian language textbook. I wonder where it is at the moment?

Upper four: A few pictures from Padua. A peculiar street musician and a veterinary clinic that was closed.
 We arrive in Sirmione and look for our apartement for a long time. 

The apartment comes with a pool, but the water is cold. Unfortunately.

We see a nice restaurant but decide to leave it for another time. Today we are going to the store and Vallo is cooking. Pasta of course. 

I do not have a picture of the pasta, however I do have one of the food me and Maari found at the store. Fruits in sugar syrup - oh, what a dessert! That's what we thought, but they turned out to be fruit in mustard sauce. Yuck!

Finally a home for more than a night

The next day starts off badly. Two groups of people meet: a person who has come to a one-week holiday and would like to gain from it as much as possible and others who have been on the road for 2 months, would like to sleep in for once and enjoy the fact that check-out is not at 12 and we can leave our things lying around and just relax – conflicts are easy to come by. Vallo had already walked around Sirmione, drank coffee thrice and was constantly reminding us that we should start going places, but we were still chilling in the kitchen and bathroom and had no plans of leaving the house anytime soon. In the end we got up and went to the dry cleaners because we had no clean clothes left. Grumpy Vallo took the wheel, we drove around a bit and ended up in a windy neighbouring city. We bravely fought the wind and walked around and the kids found a candy shop that soothed them at least a little. 

Upper 5: Sirmione is very beautiful . You can’t get into it with a car. The whole Old Town is for pedestrians and it is really quite old and romantic.

The Estonian flag was flying in the port
I asked to children to take a picture of me with the flag :(
Silvia tries to weigh herself everywhere. It is a hopeless endeavour. It is always showing zeroes.

So far there have been very few dogs and clinics
The candy store that consoled the kids and...

...a display window with almost living animals

The next day we decided to drive around the country and we headed towards the mountains. I’m glad Vallo was driving and the girls were asleep. At times it was quite scary. To think that the locals live there and have to drive every day or at least a few times per week on that road. We found a small town in the middle of the mountains, where we had a light meal and saw a pet shop named „Armani“.
As animal picture are few and far inbetween, a horse from a town called Pechiera

...and a pet store in the mountains (Caprino Veronese)

Upper three: To cross lake Garda we had to board a ferry from a small town called Torri del Benaco, which held a very fine hotel (first picture above), which had been visited by Viven Leigh, sir Lawrence Olivier, Nobel Prize for Literature winner André Gide, British poet Stephen Spender and singers Beniamino Gigli and Maria Callas. At last that's what the plaque on the hotel said.
Then we headed back down the mountain to take a ferry across lake Garda to visit D’Annunzio’s   house, which Silvia said was supposed to be really awesome. It was. Something as fantastical and imaginative is hard to think up. The house itself and the surrounding gardens,  which boasted a life-sized ship as well as a plane. 

D'Annunzio's bedroom, which we weren't allowed to photograph really.

Inner courtyard and... unexpected war ship in the middle of the gardens
Amphitheatre in the backyard
We have only very foggy pictures and memories from visting the vinyard, but the girls should still have the wines we bought. I think?
On Friday we visited Verona.

A tribune? It certainly looked impressive and Julia’s balcony not so much.

However, it is probably a must-see tourist attraction and if one were to go there, one must leave a note
To Julia? To your beloved?

Verona's central square: Piazza dei Signori
Still very few animals and clinics. We might get lucky in Verona, as a huge cat exhibition takes place here.
That is at least what the advertisement promises

When I go to investigate further, it seems that it is still/already closed
In the evening we had dinner in that little restaurant we saw on our first day. It was quite good and also quite expensive. However, can’t remember anything except the tartar. 

And Vallo’s vacation is over. Last day in Milan, but before that we have to go to an outlet mall on our way over there, where we can get all kinds of different brands at least half off. Vallo is grumpy as ever, but he can’t beat us three. For a moment we thought we had to cancel our visit to the mall becasue there were no parking spots, but after a long while circling around the parking lot we found one. Vallo grumbled on – he will wait for us in the car, but in the end agreed to tag along. 

The interesting thing was that the three of us hardly bought aything (hand lotion and chocolates) but Vallo left with bags containing many pairs of pants, a sweater and a jacket.

After seeing Piazza del Duomo and also having had a few drinks we decided to go look for some real local life. Only tourists eat in the city centre. 

We stumbled upon a really lovely restaurant, full of noise and life and where the food was good and cheap. Under the table next to us where two lovely Irish setters who we could cuddle. Two months in we were already terribly missing our dogs at home. 

The morning after I took Vallo to the airport and before that we tried to fill up the car so we could give it back to the rental, but that turned out to be almost impossible. Vallo was about to  miss his flight, so I carried on. For some reason none of the gas stations accepted my credit card. Finally I got the gas and gave back the car. We planned on travelling from Milan straight after Vallo’s departure, but as we didn’t really have an idea where to go and I really felt I should see a hairdresser we stayed for another two nights. The first day we spent walking around town and filling Maari’s lifelong dream. We were bound to see da Vinci’s „The Last Supper“. Maari had information that somehow we can very spontaneously see it. Usually there are massive lines and you have to book your tour online weeks in advance. It turned out the child was right. Some man offered us tickets on the spot by smuggling us in a group. We had a little time before the tour, so we went to a coffee shop nearby to hang out. After going back to the church, the man was nowhere to be seen, but somehow we got in and saw Da Vinci’s famous masterpiece. To celebrate a successful event we had a real feast in a seafood restaurant near our hotel.  

Upper three: Maari smuggling tickets
The next day I spent in the hair salon and the kids spent at the train station buying Interrail tickets. Switzerland and other expensive countries we will pass through on a train.
We didn’t have a clear concept as to where next. In a few days we had to be on Munich, but the days inbetween? 
Silvia making travel plans for the coming month. Let the Interrail times begin!
What to do? I was very eager to go to Lichtenstein (I’ve never been there), but the hotels where quite expensive there, as they were in Switzerland. Eventually I found out that on our way was a town called Lindau and there’s a lovely little hotel in it. That’s where we would be headed. 
By the time I return from the hair salon, Maari has become a cashier at the train station. :D

This  is the beginning of the adventure by train