Wednesday, 23 November 2011

And on into Italy

We had a great drive from Chambery to the Frejus Tunnel. The autumn colours along the route were fabulous, mind blowing. We were going through the mountains, climbing slowly, glimpses of Mont Blanc, snow covered as always, other mountains showing a sprinkling of snow and always, the colours, from palest gold to shimmering russets to brilliant reds. Add to that a clear blue sky and an almost empty road (and no lorries!) and you have a perfect drive. And then we were through the tunnel and into Italy and going down, down, down until we reached the Turin bypass an the road got busy, cars rushing by, entering and exiting it seemed every few hundred yards. This required attention… and no cruise control. From here onwards the traffic was more dense, more frenetic. We took a wrong turn and ended up on the wrong autostrada but decided it was better than the one the satnav had chosen. Then we were crossing Milan. Bergamo. And finally, signs for Verona. And Lago di Garda. IMG 1961 This was our hotel. Not a great pic I know, but I thought you might like to see it anyway. But it was in the middle of nowhere! Or so it seemed - there was an interesting old village that we walked around but no bar, nowhere to have a coffee. So we got back in the car and wound our way downhill, round convoluted hairpin bends and finally to Bardolino. There were cars everywhere and we thought, hmmm, parking is going to be an issue but no, there was an enormous car park and a few empty spaces. Time for a walk. And a cappuccino. I thought I would insert some pics of Bardolino, but it seems I didn't take any. Brain-dead after all that scary driving. We decided not to rush on to Venice next day. The thought of finding the car park, getting our bags, walking into town and finding our hotel… much better stay where we were and have a relaxing day around the lake. IMG 1878 Autumn in Lazise, Lago di Garda IMG 1884 More autumn colour IMG 1888 Castles seem to be the norm around Lake Garda, this is a view of Lazise's version. IMG 1889 Tony and, in the background, one of the ancient 'gates' into the town. IMG 1898 Okay, so I was trying to be artistic! IMG 1900 Still in Lazise, the view across the small port towards the row of bars and restaurants. Wasn't it a glorious day! IMG 1903 The inside of a tiny church on the quay, opposite the restaurants. From Lazise we took the lake steamer to Sirmione. IMG 1910 Tony, waiting for cast off IMG 1914 You wondered whether you would ever get a view of the lake, didn't you! IMG 1919 And then to Sirmione IMG 1922 Shops IMG 1923 Icecream IMG 1929 Lunch IMG 1935 Sirmione's castle has a moat. IMG 1932 And another small church. IMG 1940 And narrow alleyways. IMG 1946 A beach. IMG 1952 And a pretty walk along the shore. The walk was pretty… not Tony!!! He was getting tired. Time for a drink. IMG 1954 But not before we passed a grove of gnarled old olive trees. IMG 1960 And finally, the return trip on the steamer. And in the evening (Tony reminded me last night) we enjoyed the most delicious pizza. I'm not a pizza fan, give me pasta any day. But this one was seriously good. Next Greece, and Ganymede, the reason for this trip.

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