Shearwin's in Europe 2019 travel blog


Day 16 - Thursday 30 May 19 - Sirmione

Our trip plan for Op Europe 19 included stays on the northern and southern ends of Lake Garda to achieve our objective of seeing all the major lakes in Northern Italy and today we drove to Sirmione the prominent peninsula to the south. The plan was to drive the western side of the lake ( 73 km) and visit several sites of interest.

Following breakfast in the hotel and discussions to visit Lago Di Tenno, a site recommended by Nicole for it’s greenish water we set off just after 0900 hrs.

After a last minute decision not to visit Tenno, we drove the very narrow and winding road through many smallish tunnels to Gordone Rivierre to visit the gardens of Vittoriale degli Italiani expecting to compare with the experience of Mainau on Lake Constance.

What we didn’t realise was we were visiting a shrine to the flamboyant, self promoting Italian poet, author, and self styled military leader, Gabriele d’ Annunzio. The house, his collections and gardens are a statement to his life. In very simple terms his recognition as a significant Italian poet his nationalist beliefs that led to the conflict with Austria and the final return of the northern provinces to Italy. In WW1 he led a patrol boat attack that sank an Austrian battleship, he led an air attack on Vienna, dropping pamphlets, he led a 2000 man attack of Legionnaires into Fiume and made himself governor. He actively supported Mussolini’s fascist ideals even though they were often at odds; and so on it goes. It could not be said that he had an insignificant life and the visit brings it out, as he wished. The gardens are large and interesting but not in the pristine condition we have come to expect. I left interested in what I had seen and learnt; amazed at a man with so much personal confidence. We visited for nearly 3.5 hours - wow!

It was nearing 1400hrs as we approached Salo, reputed to having the longest promenade on the Lake, that we decided to view and take a break. A car park was not easy to find on the promenade because of the crowd but we eventually found a station. We walked a length of the waterline noting the locals and tourists pulling up to the edge with their boats and wandering to the many nearby restaurants for lunch. We were inspired to share a seafood platter ( selection of lightly fried prawns, calamari and sardines - all small) and a wine overlooking the Lake - all very pleasant.

The final leg of the trip to Sirmione was away from the lake and offered no appeal. We arrived just after 1500hrs and after a frustrating communication experience with our B&B host we deposited our luggage and then walked the 3.6km walk to the peninsula tip.

We noted the prominent historic buildings leading onto to island before taking a wine and stuzzichini ( a variety of bites ) break on a lovely hotel patio overlooking the bay.

We then continued our exploration of the islands before stopping for dinner - shared pizza, wine and an Aperol Spritz. Tiredness had been settling in for most of the day and a quick return to our B&B, one episode of “What/if” and we were in bed in need of asleep. Alex and John rang soon after and told of their car tyre replacement drama. Back to sleep.



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