Shearwin's in Europe 2019 travel blog

Day 17 - Friday 31 May 19 - Sirmione.

Early rise at 0515 hrs , sun and clear sky flooding our room - partly refreshed.

A leisurely start as breakfast in our B&B did not start until 0830hrs. The offerings of our hostess for the three groups staying were generous and the coffee in particular was probably the best we have had to date.

At 0900 hrs, we set off to explore the four villages to the South East of the Lake. We drove first to the township of Garda at 36 kms and as we entered the village we could see that it was market day and traffic was streaming in from the north; bumper to bumper and was continuous for over 2 km. Knowing we needed to turn around and join this slow moving queue we continued on the 3.6kms to most northerly of the villages Tori del Braco.

We were quite excited as we entered the town, confronted by an old tower, parts of the towns walls, an empty car park and a small group boarding a ferry.

We parked and found hidden on the water’s edge the main township surrounding a protected “harbour”; not big but capable of holding the towns fishing “fleet”. Restaurants stretched around the “harbour” and along the river front, all of a high standard. An absent crowd had us wondering how they would fill for lunch. We wandered the pretty streets and Kaye rested with a Spritz while I toured the tower/ museum. The tower claims to have the oldest citrus grove having been established in 1760 - it was very impressive with mainly oranges, lemons and mandarins- many of the old branches propped to remain vertical within the purpose built conservatory. The museum also contained a collection of miniature model ships which was also a good find. A civil wedding with children in tow on the harbor entry got Kaye’s attention.

Having spent longer than we expected, we returned to Garda and finding the traffic still grid locked asked GeePS to find an alternate route over hills. It was a good move as we finished up near the centre of town in a backstreet where we lucked into a park.

The scenario of the “harbour” with the focus on restaurants etc and spreading along the waters edge with an impressive promenade was to be similar for all four towns. In the case of Garda the markets were spread along the very lengthy promenade. It was now lunch time and the restaurants were full and the market was packed with visitors. The market offered Kaye a new pair of court shoes; well suited for walking. The atmosphere was quite electric as we stopped for our second Spritz for the day; now the preferred refreshing drink. Our big achievement was to walk the full length of the promenade before rescuing the car from the 2 hour parking limit.

Our third stop was another 3.6 km to Bardolino where we entered along a beach line with people spread on the lawns and swimming. We walked the fore share noting the market for food products and sweets. The hop on hop off small multi coloured train added colour to the pink themed wine tasting market at the far end of the promenade. This festival of different producers led us to buy a bottle of rose and to sit on the waters edge with others for a glass or two. We completed our visit by walking the back street recognising the consistency but also the difference between each of these appealing towns.

While the afternoon was slipping away and the sun was casting long shadows we made a last ditch effort to visit Lazise with it’s clearly defined historic city walls. We entered by the town gate and headed for the harbour which was very actively receiving and dispatching water skiing type boats. I wandered the area photographing the major historic features while Kaye calmly waited. A spritz at a restaurant overlooking the harbour allowed us to observe the various style of power boats. Two in particular that took our attention; one a modern high powered inflatable design and the other a classic polished plywood launch; both catching the eye of everyone else as well. Our final effort was to walk as much of the town area before returning to the car for the 25km drive back to Sirmione.

We had spotted a restaurant on the neck of the Sirmione peninsula last night and had decided a good place for tonight’s dinner. Kaye had Prawn tortellini and I had a steak; the last one - solid meat doesn’t do a lot for me these days. We sat on the deck of the restaurant overlooking the lake. The weather was very comfortable and the service was good.

We drove back to the B&B, had a quick chat with the couple from Lugano who were heading out for dinner and were soon in bed. Unfortunately, it was not a night of good sleep.

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