Holiday with Pete by Lake Garda in Italy

Trip Start Jan 01, 2007
Trip End Dec 31, 2007

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Friday the 21st flew from Leeds Bradford to Bergamo in Italy with Jet2. 15 minutes bus journey to the centre and 2 hours to kill so we headed for our first icecream. Train to Brescia and again time to spare before our bus so we found a nice little square and had Panini's in the sun.

The bus station is next to the train station so it was easy to find. The bus was along the western shoreline of lake Garda. We got off in Riva.

 I had booked our hotel, Hotel Orchidea, by Internet,,  
It was a 30-minute walk away. We ate in the restaurant as it was getting late and I was hungry. The host spoke German and his wife English. They managed vegetarian well aubergines and courgettes the first course. Spinach noodles the second. Pete had plate loads of meat.

We had a walk down to the main square and I had hot chocolate as Pete enjoyed a touch of wine. The Piazza III Novembre is surrounded by 14th century porticos, Palazzo Pretorio, from the 14th century. We sat near the Apponale Tower built in 1220 and raised in 1555. The 34 m tower, built to defend the town, had salt and grain stores, storerooms, and exchange banks at its foot. It was used as a prison, then as an observation post during World War I. Above it stands the city emblem called "l'anzolim de la tor".

Saturday the 22nd.
We both had 12 hours sleep but then we had been up at 03:15 the day before. Breakfast and then the owner's brother gave us a lift to the meeting point for my marathon number. Pete had a play.

Last night we had seen a light high up on the hillside and Pete was keen to investigate. We had a steep climb up to the Bastion. The Venetian fortress, built in 1508 on a hill of the steep slopes of Mount Rocchetta. It was closed so we continued up to the chapel of Santa Barbara. It was a hot day and we had no water with us. Excellent views over the historic town and along the valley. On the lake we could see a lot of different water sports. A nice walk in the trees but then the steep down again. We had lunch in the old town. I only had icecream, as I didn't want to have tea too late.

We walked back so that I could get organised for tomorrow and then out for pizza again in the old town. An early night. Pete chatted downstairs. A really nice friendly little place.
Sunday the 23rd lake Garda marathon
I was up early but breakfast was provided from 5am. I was not alone there were many other runners there. The owner gave a lift to myself and another runner down to get the boat to Limone. It was just getting light when I arrived and followed everyone through the cobble streets of the very picturesque town.  Along narrow place as it hugs tight to the cliff sides. I had plenty of time so worked out where everything was and sat down to read. I was interviewed for German TV. It will be for sale as part of the race DVD. They didn't know I could speak German and I hadn't realised until they finished talking to me that it was for German and not Italian TV.
The race started at 09:00 and they closed the road to Riva, nowhere else for us to run. We were in the shade for most of the time due to the tunnels and the fact that the sun wasn't high enough as yet. In Riva we ran along the lakeside and I saw Pete, laden down with our rucksacks on the way to the ferry. After Riva the run was back on the road but we headed north along the riverside. Just before the half way point we headed south again. It was hot due to little shade. Plenty of water and sponge places though. The final stretch was along the lakeside south to Malcesine.
Pete was there at the end. He'd found our hotel again booked on the Internet, our room over looked the finish line. I couldn't believe how close we were in the Hotel Alpino. My 15th marathon 03:58:53. position 825, 22nd female in my age group. A stretch and shower and them out for pizza and icecream. Pete saw a sign for paragliding and decided he really wanted to have a go at it.

Monday 24th. Pete rang his sister. Jill and Ian, her husband, said they both wanted to paraglide too. Pete offered to buy it for them as it as their wedding anniversary. They would be here tomorrow. We booked it, although there was some concern that the weather was changing, but they could do the four of us.

Pete and I had a walk up to the Madonna statue about the town and enjoyed the views. We also visited Scaliger Castle. The original fort was supposedly built by the Lombards. Destroyed in 590 and later rebuilt after the Hungarian invasions, the castle became part of the large estates of the bishops of Verona. Between 1277 and 1387 it belonged to the Della Scala family, and up until 1403 it was owned by the Visconti family. From 1405 to 1797 - apart from the decade starting in 1506 - it belonged to the Venetian Republic. The French owned the castle during the days of Napoleon. From 1798 to 1866 the Austrians took over the castle and also did extensive renovations. The castle was declared a national monument on August 22, 1902. Today it houses a small museum dedicated to the territory of Lake Garda and especially to the rocks, fossils, flora and fauna of the Mount Baldo area. A room dedicated to Goethe displays drawings that the poet sketched of the lake during his trip to Italy.
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