Archive for the ‘Lake Garda’ Tag

Summer on the Water – Lago di Garda   5 comments

Onwards to our main destination. No surprise that we loved Lago di Garda so much that we decided on a second visit back to the same part of the lake and the same campsite. It was just the three of us for the first week but the Prof joined us for the second week

I don’t think I could ever tire of this view.

On our first morning it was a joy to see it again.

On our previous trip we had several long days away from the campsite so this year we vowed to spend more time in our local spot.

Sun-drenched selfie.

It was significantly hotter than last year so lazing on the beaches nearby and taking many swims was the order of the day(s).

Just lazing about and swimming with these views was always a pleasure especially at 36C!

TBF soaks up the afternoon sun.

Looking back towards where our campsite is. This small beach is about a 5 minute walk away and made for a nice change of scene. Other than the windsurf school it was always quieter than the campsite beach.

Long view down the the lake was another favourite.

Sunrise colours. We took a swim every morning before breakfast when the water was calm and the beach deserted other than the collection of various types of duck and a few geese and swans. They were always a delight to share the beach with and were very friendly and used to the people around.

Early morning wind-surfer.

Our pitch on the campsite.

And a view of our home from the toilet block balcony

This year we also made a habit of heading down to the beach in the evening. Mainly for an evening swim to cool off before bed.

It was always very quiet and peaceful and I came to enjoy it as much as the morning swims.

These two trees always made for a fine photo subject.

Night-time on the beach.

We spent plenty of time on the water as well as in it. Both in the kayak and the Paddle Board

TJF enjoyed just floating around on the inflatable ring.

Always quieter out on the water.

And gives a different perspective of the lake and surrounding mountains.

Further afield on foot we developed some regular outings. This on the way to Torbole, looking out over the lake from the bridge over the Sarca River.

And inland towards the mountains.

It was a regular afternoon post lunch outing for an ice cream.

This cute little family of white-breasted ducks were always around. The water-fowl become like regulr friends on our little walks around.

Our happy family enjoying the view.

One of our favourite spots was this set of steps built for the scuba diving school. In the morning before the wind turns and comes up the lake its wonderfully calm and clear and very quiet.

We had a favourite rock to sit on and just paddle, swim, chat and generally relax. We came here several times.

Happy family.

The Prof enjoys a swim.

View towards Riva.

Across to the mountains that tower over the lake.

We came back for an evening swim here a couple of times.

TJF enjoys the evening cooler air.

The night-time views gave a different perspective on those classic views.

The other worldly light of night divers exploring the lake.

We took a few wanders into Riva del Garda both for lunch and evening meal.

The main square and church tower.

The other towns around the lake are very busy with tourists but Riva for some reason is always quiet in the daytime. It comes alive more in the evening.

The ferry harbour.

Superb views across the lake to Monte Baldo

One of the gateways into the old town.

Evening views across to the mountains behind.

And along the lake.

And a night-time shot of the yacht harbour. Happy memories of a relaxing time at this most fabulous Lake playground.

Tour de France/Italy – Lake Garda Part 2   11 comments

Our last day in Lake Garda and the weather had indeed broken. This was the view across the lake first thing in the morning as I took my swim!

We didn’t do much that last day, just a lazy lunch and packing in between the heavy showers.

So to close out from the Lake Garda part of our trip, a few different images to the first post about the lake taken during the evening and in some of the less settled weather.

These two trees became a favourite spot and photo subject of mine.

The view down the lake on one of the less settled days with stormy clouds over the southern end of the lake.

I often went for an evening wander down to the beach when all the crowds has dispersed.

Its was always so wonderfully peaceful and pleasantly wbedürftig.

Setting sun behind the Cima Valdes.

An orange glow on the mountains.

A golden Cima Valdes.

Calm lake waters to calm the spirits.

I never tired of this view at whatever time of day or whatever the weather.

Sunset over the small harbour.

My favourite foreground again.

The classic view along the lake.

Monte Baldo.

Panorama to take in the full breadth of what became my daily view.

This was, I think, the day we picked up the travellers who flew in for the second week.

Some dramatic and stormy clouds. Whilst it absolutely chucked it down in Verona where we picked them up. I don’t think it actually rained at our end of the lake.

More shots from the stormy skies that dominated our last day.

The low sunlight, dark skies and rainbow created some amazing scenes.

Despite what looked like a cloud-burst about to happen with thunder booming and lightning crackling all around it didn’t actually rain all that much.

It was actually the worst weather day of the entire 3 weeks so considering that we were very lucky.

A final evening shot along the lake to signify the end of our stay at Lake Garda. What an absolutely wonderful place it is and so glad I kind of stumbled into it as a holiday idea.

Not to worry, we ruhig had some places to see on our long journey home…..

Tour de France/Italy – On Lake Garda   4 comments

After our day in Malcesine we decided to take one of the Lake Garda Ferries back to Torbole. Why didn’t we use the ferry on the outward journey I hear you ask. Well, COVID rules and the wearing of masks on public transport was ruhig in place in Italy and as TJF has difficulty wearing one, we sent an advance party (the Prof and TLL) to check out it was being enforced on the outward journey. Turns out, very strictly enforced when boarding and then promptly ignored for the rest of the trip! So we decided we could return by ferry and enjoy a nice cruise on the lake.

Before I take you on that journey let me say for the record that the timetables and ticket system for the ferries are confusing and misleading and in the case of the staff, incompetent and downright rude. I was told when I bought the ticket that we should get on the next ferry after the one already docked. We waited patiently in line only to be told, quite rudely, that we were not allowed on the ferry as our ticket wasn’t valid and had to wait until the next one. I asked the guy who sold me the ticket in the first place who denied he’d said that and told me the later ferry was correct. After 20 minutes deciphering the timetable it appeared the boat he’d sold me the ticket for was going somewhere on the way to Torbole at which point I needed another ticket, a change of boat and the even if I did, it would take longer than just waiting for the direct boat. Had he, or his rude mate on the pier simply explained that it was much cheaper and quicker to wait another 20 minutes all the stress and somewhat tense exchanges could have been avoided. Probably far too much background for my readers but very catfestic for me to write it down!

Once on board, the journey was an absolute pleasure.

We were on a very large paddle steamer so loads of seats and room and the views were magnificent.

Looking back to Malcesine and Monte Baldo.

Sunset over the south-west of the lake.

The Prof and TLL.

The mountains that overlook the north end of the lake.

Clouds forming to indicate the weather was on the turn.

We stopped off at Limone on the west side of the lake.

So named after the Lemons that grow on the slopes. You can see some on the trees overhanging the restaurant.

It looked a thoroughly agreeable place with a gorgeous water front with cafe’s bars and restaurants.

It was another place we wanted to visit but just ran out of time.

Panorama shot of Limone and Lake Garda.

Off again leaving Limone behind and heading across the lake back to Torbole.

Monte Brione left of picture, Torbole to the right.

The sun was setting rapidly and the mountains took a darker mood.

The last rays of sunshine catching the northern mountains.

Sun setting between the mountains.

Looking back south.

We arrived at Torbole just in time to dash back to the campsite to join everyone for one last meal at the campsite before we had to start packing up, taking people back to airports etc the next day. It had a been a fine day out.

Posted October 10, 2022 by surfnslide in Italy, Lake Garda

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Tour de France/Italy – Malcesine   9 comments

After some walking days it was time for another sightseeing day. We headed for Malcesine (pronounced mal-ches-inay) about 10 miles down the lake.

Its a well known spot and I’d been worried about parking. Me and TJF were ready well before everyone else and J-Dog needed to head to Verona to drop one of her party back at the airport. So it was just the two us who headed out early.

I needn’t have worried. There was a decent and relatively cheap car park about 15 mins walk from the town with plenty of spaces and overlooking a fine little beach.

This is the impressive Castello Scaligero di Malcesine.

The views from the lakeside walkway into town were very fine indeed.

It was a gorgeous morning to be out and about.

Me and TJF decided it was a good time to view the castle before the heat of the day and the crowds arrived.

What can I say other than its an excellent castle.

It was well presented, great views and most importantly, cheap at ?4 each to go round.

It had interesting displays, wall walks and of the course the main tower.

Views across the lake from the walls.

The inner courtyard.

Along the coast to the beach where we parked up.

Western lake shore.

Over the rooftops to Monte Baldo.

Over the inner courtyard to the southern section of this huge lake.

I loved the views over the red-tiled roof tops.

Looking down over the castle from the top of the tower.

The lake starts to broaden out from here. Its huge at its southern end.

Dizzying view down to the lower parts of the castle.

Along the eastern shore.

Castle tower selfie.

Mote Baldo looking more rocky and dramatic from this point.

There was a huge bell on top of the tower and came as something of a surprise when it sounded the 11 O’Clock chimes while I was leaning over the parapet taking photos!

Having thoroughly enjoyed our exploration of the castle it was time to explore the town.

The harbour at Porto Vecchio where we met the Prof and TLL who’d taken one of the lake ferries.

As with all Italian towns there were loads of fine looking restaurants.We chose the Pizzeria Ristorante Al Marinaio by the waterfront. A really good choice.

Entering into the 21st Century spirit of food photographs in honour of this fine seafood pasta dish. The seem to specialise in very chunky fat pasta in this part of Italy and I really liked it.

The rest of the party had joined us by this time and we set out to explore the town. It’s stunning. A maze of narrow cobbled streets, busy but not crowded.

I loved this view of the flowered gardens.

Several small harbours.

A chance to watch the lake ferries come and go.

Plenty of places with gorgeous lake views.

Just walking the streets, browsing the stores and people watching.

Many cafes, bars and restaurants to tempt you.

Small piazzas and shady squares.

I really fell in love with this place and could have just wandered the streets for hours.

It would be a great place to spend a couple of nights and enjoy what must be a fine evening scene.

With views like this, hard to beat.

We wandered past the castle again on our way back to the beach.

So we could enjoy a cooling dip in the lake.

It was a lovely little beach with a grand view up to the castle.

The beach was quite busy but the water was cool and refreshing and we spent a happy hour just lazing in the water.

Its one of the best things about the lake. Other than where the cliffs drop directly into the water there seems to be a gravel beach all the way round its shores.

So wherever you wander there is always a chance of a swim to cool down (needed as its pretty hot, Lake Garda is almost at sea level)

After our swim we wandered back into town for another cold drink in a shady piazza.

A wonderful little town with plenty to enjoy.

TBF and S took the car back to the campsite so the rest of us could one have one more treat to finish off the day

Tour de France/Italy – Monte Baldo   12 comments

The other target for a walk in the mountains is right on the doorstep. Monte Baldo towers 2000m above the eastern shore of the lake. There is a Cable Car from the lake to the ridge but it was rather expensive.

However on the eastern flank was a much cheaper chairlift that went higher onto the ridge (albeit a 45 minute drive away alongs some narrow roads). The drive up through the lower pastures was superb and the chairlift deserted.

S took some convincing (she’s not big on chairlifts). They often feel somewhat precarious (betagthough as a keen skier I’m well used to them) so the obvious question is when was the last time you spontaneously fell off a chair! Especially one with a protective bar.

What it does deliver better than an enclosed cable car is stupendous views.

TBF enjoying the thrill ride.

The Prof and TLL.

Looking across to Monte Altissimo de Nago

S and J-Dog making that hurried little run to escape the lift at the top (its much easier on snow/skis)

As you’d expect the views over Lake Garda were amazing.

It just looked so inviting for a walk in both directions.

Looking to the next peak on the main ridge, Cima delle Pozzette.

Looking straight down to the chbedürftiging little lake side town of Malcesine where the cable starts from. More on Malcesine in the next post.

We wandered along the ridge looking for a suitable spot for breakfast.

Even at just after 9am the clouds were starting to brush the highest point of the ridge.

We found a suitable spot with a fabulous view for breakfast.

Looking back to Monte Altissimo de Nago.

And over to the mountains on the western side of the lake.

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It certainly is when you can plan to eat it in spot like this.

We wandered along the ridge a bit after breakfast and wanted to head out to the northern end to see if we could get a view down to our end of the lake.

We were a bit short of time as we said to the others we’d be back in time to head down to Malcesine for the afternoon.

Looking down over the Cable Car station to Monte Altissimo de Nago.

However, everyone but me seemed to be moving pretty slowly and it was further downhill than we thought.

I headed off at a very brisk pace hoping to make it to the far end and back again before they all walked back up to the chair lift to head down.

I was enjoying the views if not the very fast pace I was moving at and the heat of the day was starting to kick in.

Not sure what the snow record up here is like but it would be a fine place for a days skiing.

I walked up through the noisy crowds and loud music at the Cable Car station (why do they feel you need loud music in a place like this).

A fine view of the highest part of the ridge and the summit of Monte Baldo in the distance (Punta Valdritta)

I ran out of time to reach the far end of the ridge but did manage a distant view of Monte Brione behind the campsite (just visible in the centre of the picture)

I pretty much ran back up the ridge to the chairlift, disproportionately pleased to beat everyone but the Prof to the top.

Just another fine chairlift ride back down to complete another great little half day walk. So much walking to do in the area that deserves another visit.

Tour de France/Italy – Monte Brione   10 comments

The day after our trip to Venice our numbers were swelled to double figures with the arrival of various partners and sisters. After a day of airport pick ups and lazing around we were ready for more adventure.

We decided on an early morning walk up Monte Brione, the small mountain behind the campsite. We were off just after 7:30 hoping to beat the worst of the heat.

First, a morning stroll along the lake shore and regular swim.

Refreshed and with supplies in the pack we set off.

Firstly along the north shore.

To the point where the path to the top rises steeply along the edge of the cliffs of Monte Brione.

The views of both mountains and lake opening up as we climbed. Looking across the urban sprawl of Riva towards the mountains.

Cima Valdes.

The classic view along the lake towards the southern shores which are just about visible on the horizon.

Looking down on our campsite at Camping Maroadi.

And over Riva del Garda. There are several wartime forts built on the mountain (by the Austrians I think). Forte Garda is the lower one. Be good to explore when you have more time on a cooler day.

We were more interested to find a spot near the top near Forti Monte Brione for an al fresco breakfast. A fresh brew of tea and mbedürftigalade croissants with a view like this is hard to beat.

A panorama shot from the top.

My lovely lady companions.

And a selfie for good measure.

We took a walk to the actual summit but access was a little restricted by the mass of telecoms kit and masts on the top.

Despite the growing heat we pushed on to the far end of the ridge and the Forte Sant Alessandro. It gave great views of Arco and its castle.

And the surrounding hills.

Looking back along the lake.

The main summit and Monte Baldo in the background.

A great view down over our campsite (and Lidl!). Our pitch is pretty much right in the centre of the photo.

Glimpses of the mountains through the trees.

Classic view along the lake and down to our local beach.

Lots of olive groves which are a fine gnarly tree and one of my favourites.

It was getting pretty hot by this point as we’d taken much longer to complete the walk than planned. We were eager to get down but not so eager that we couldn’t admire the views one last time.

Final view over the beach and campsite.

And along the lake.

We finished the day off with a walk into Riva for lunch with the rest of the gang at our favourite sandwich shop and another swim in the lake on the way back. A great walk but definitely one for morning or evening in the middle of a hot summer.

Tour de France/Italy – Torbole and Riva del Garda   8 comments

Our campsite was situated between the two towns at the head of Lake Garda, Torbole and Riva del Garda

On our first full afternoon we took a wander along the lake-front (I had to keep correcting myself from saying “sea-front” as that’s exactly what it feels like!) to Torbole.

This is where the valley’s main river, the Sarca, enters the lake.

And looking back inland as it were. I assume the river must be be managed and controlled from upstream as there were white water kayak gates and a couple of times we saw it in a much more challschmaling state than in these photos.

Lake Garda is renowned for wind powered water-sports. In the main its wind-surfing and the water is always populated by huge numbers of them with rental/lesson outlets everywhere.

This is down to the fact that Lake Garda has reliable winds that you can pretty much set you watch by. In the morning the Peler or Vento wind blows north-south from the mountains to the lake, caused by the air moving from the colder mountains to the wbedürftiger areas to the south. It blows for a couple of hours and as the lake shore at the north is relatively sheltered the lake in the morning where we were was flat calm and crystal clear. Further down the lake the wind was clearly stronger in that morning period and you could see what looked like huge flocks of birds which were in fact Kite surfers. We never saw any at our end of the lake so morning in the central section must be peak time and location for it.

In the late morning and early afternoon the winds changes direction through 180 degrees and blows south-north. This one is called the Ora and caused by the same effect, strong heating in the mountains that draws the cooler air up from the surface of the wider expanse of the lake in the south. This is peak time for Wind-surfing and for this rather cool looking sport of Hydro surfing. This is a hydrofoil that once up to speed lifts the board off the surface of the water. The experts travel at speeds that I could only guess was in excess of 30mph. It does look hard to learn though and a huge effort to get them moving fast enough to “take-off” as it were.

A short and not very good video showing one in action.

As you can see the fact the lake is now choppy tells you its afternoon.

Great views down to Monte Baldo that towers over the lake’s eastern shore.

The town of Torbole.

Looking down the lake towards its much wider southern end.

Whilst we were enjoying the exploration, the real reason for the expedition was a search for the first Gelato ice cream of the trip. Italian gelato is the king/queen of ice cream and to say its become an obsession for me and TJF in particular is an understatement. The perfect combination in our humble opinion is a duet of Fondante ( a very rich and dark chocolate) and Amarena (Cherry Ripple). The shop we found in Torbole was I can report, very good indeed!

Afternoon light on the walk back, craving satisfied.

The next day we took the walk in the other direction to Riva del Garda.

As you can see, clearly morning with the lakes water calm, clear and reflective.

It’s a pedestrian walkway all the way which is very fine and offers superb views. However there are sections shared with cyclists who sadly became a real nuisance. The majority seemed to have little or no regard for pedestrians, rarely slowing down where it got crowded and seeming to think that just ringing a bell was merely a cue for you to jump out of the way and allow them to speed past.

Luckily for most of the way into Riva the cyclists have their own path and you can enjoy the superb views the rest of the way.

There is well over a mile of gorgeous, well maintained parkland with long stretches of beach.

Its pretty crowded as you’s expect but very well organised and there didn’t seem to be any boorish behaviour or loud music.

It was a pleasure to walk along and just enjoy the views.

Whilst Riva is a big place sprawling out behind the lake front it has a stunning old town. This is the Piazza del Brolio and the Fontana della Sirenetta-Mignon. I love fountains and water features so this was a great introduction to the centre.

The outside of the Parrocchia di Santa Maria Assunta was unremarkable but the inside was stunning.

The gateway of the Porta di San Michele.

Located in Piazza Cavour

We found a lovely little bakery with some shady tables outside for a light lunch and then, inevitably a Gelato (the best shop of the trip me and TJF reckon).

The girls went off shopping while the rest of us had a lovely wander through the narrow streets and into some of the food shops.

Before emerging on to the centre piece of the town, the Piazza Novembre III. I thought it was absolutely fabulous. One of my favourite places.

The sparkling blue water with the comings and goings of the boats, all backed by towering mountains

Focal point the Torre Apponale that I never did find out if you could go up.

Walking through a car-free town of narrow streets, historic buildings, open piazzas all situated on deep blue lake backed by mountains. What could be better.

The water was looking more and more inviting on a hot day so we decided it was time for a swim.

A chance to repeat the walk along the waterfront.

Past the Casa di Babba Natale.

I think it was a museum of some kind.

We picked a small beach for a very refreshing swim. The afternoon winds had arrived and the lake was really very choppy indeed, quite hard to stay on your feet and much like jumping in the waves in the ocean.

Our little afternoon swim spot.

Lake Garda was becoming a my new favourite place.

Tour de France/Italy – Lake Garda Part 1   11 comments

Onwards to our main destination for the holiday. Lake Garda in northern Italy. I’ve never been to Italian Lakes (other than driving through) so this, together with TJF’s love of all things Italian gave us the idea.

I foolishly thought at one stage that I could drive all the way from Paris in one day. Realising it was 10 hours in perfect traffic without stops soon averted me from that idea and we planned a stopover in the Alps near the Italian border.

We used one of our favourite hotel chains and managed to park up the trailer with no issues after a long and hot drive through France. Advantage of hotel was an air conditioned room for a night after the heat of camping.

St Avre was a pleasant if unremarkable little town with some great views of the lower Alps. What it did have was a lovely little Pizza place. Quiet and understated with a small outdoor terrace, a friendly lady who seemed to do everything (owner, wait tables, cook pizzas) and the pizzas themselves were terrific. A little gem of a place and just what we needed.

The walk back took us over the glacial Arc river which gave us a wonderful cool passage of air.

Next day was a long tedious drive into Italy via the Frejus tunnel. Tedious on account of the fact they insist you can only drive 50mph when towing a trailer in Italy. Makes for slow and laborious progress. The weather had also broken down and it chucked it down most of the way to Turin. After that, the sun came back out and all was hot and sunny.

We arrived at the campsite around 5pm and joined up with our friends, The Macclesfield Massive, who had driven down from Germany. They were already set up and sorted the practicalities including reading my mind and booking us a table in the restaurant at the campsite. Most the rest of the day was taken with setting up camp and a fine meal, great to be sharing our main holiday with good friends. Didn’t actually get much chance to survey my new surroundings until the next morning.

Awake early and keen to see the Lake and its surrounding mountains I went straight to the beach. This was the view that greeted me.

You’ll see from this post and the many that follow that I was completely entranced by the view of the mountains and along the lake. I never tired of looking at it (or photographing it!). Probably up there with my favourite views anywhere and all just a minute’s walk from the tent.

The sun rising over the mountains behind the campsite just behind the beach.

Early morning was the best time of day for the view with a clear view of lake and mountains illuminated by the rising sun.

One of the joys was taking an early morning swim before anyone else was up and about. The lake is crystal clear and has the perfect temperature, wbedürftig enough to be able swim and play in comfort, cool enough to be refreshing on a hot day. Here is TBF taking her morning swim.

A shot from my own swim, taken in the water (that’s my green beach shoes in the water). Really refreshes you and sets the day up perfectly.

The lake was also home to a group of ducks (including a family of ducklings) and geese who became our new friends and companions whenever we were swimming or playing in the water.

They were pretty tame and would often be found wandering about amongst the people sunbathing on the beach.

Or here, joining you for a swim.

The Funsters enjoying some quality sunbathing time on the beach.

Having all this fabulous water and beach and all just steps away from the campsite was an absolute joy. Probably my only regret is we spent so much time off exploring the rest of the area that we didn’t spend even more time on and near the water as we perhaps should have done.

A few photos and thoughts about the campsite. Here is our Trailer Tent, all set up on our pitch.

Views to the mountains behind.

The beach and lake is just the other side of the hedge in the background.

The campsite managed to find us a spot near the lake and together next to our MM friends. This meant we could spread out onto effectively one huge pitch and it worked perfectly.

The campsite was by an order of magnitude the best provisioned and most slickly organised one I’ve ever stayed on. I’ve stayed on sites that were maybe a little more relaxed if that’s the right word but this one had all the little details covered. As an example this is the view from the first floor on the main toilet block. Yes, it was a two storey affair with a massive number of loos and showers. I don’t think anyone ever had to queue. There were other toilet blocks as well.

The views from the first floor were always worth a pause.

The campsite was big but no huge so it never felt crowded. Most of the guests were German and most people seemed to stay on or near the campsite most of the time. We were one of the few people who seemed to venture out in the car.

Most people seemed to be here for the watersports, kite surfing, wind-surfing and hydrofoil surfing. The Lake is one of the best renowned spots in Europe due to its reliable winds. More on that in a later post.

In line with most Italian campsites (well, in this part of Italy, based on my research), the standard pitches are smaller (we managed to snag a bigger pitch) and are significantly more expensive, than in France. However the facilities and organisation were a class above. I wouldn’t hesitate to return if we come back, which I sincerely hope we do.

Lastly for this first post about the Lake and our local spot, some photos from on the water rather than in it.

We took both our SUP and inflatable kayak and being out on the water was great fun.

These are all taken from a kayak trip around bay. Looking south to Monte Baldo.

Back inland towards Monte Brione and the campsite beach.

The rock where the braver souls were jumping into water. Getting back out again was the bigger challschmale!

Monte Brione.

And the prominent mountain overlooking the lake, the view so close to my heart, is I think Cima Valdes betagthough I don’t have the maps to confirm.

More posts to come about the nearby towns and some different perspectives on the lake. Still not quite sure why it took me so long to visit this stunning corner of Europe. A deep blue lake surrounded by mountains is pretty much a perfect combination for me.

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