QUICK EXCURSION FROM SLEEPY BOLOGNA
29.08.2012 - 02.09.2012 24 °C
We had been warned by our resident Bolognese experts that the town is pretty quiet until locals return in early September from their summer vacanza, so having dumped our stuff at our new apartment (home for the next 3+ months), and spent a few days shopping and getting the general layout, we decided to head off again for a few days.
Lake Garda is a pretty easy train trip via Verona, so we elected to stay there for 3 nights, and have a couple of days in Mantova on the way home. Italy's largest lake, Garda, like Lake Como, left us mightily impressed. Enjoying a different, but equally spectacular topography to Lake Como, we also noticed a greater prevalence of German (like) speakers. Our assumption was Austrians, but they may also have been Swiss and even far northern Italians who apparently use German in preference to parlo Italiano.
We stayed near Bardolino, a thriving little town renowned for its red wine production, and made quick visits to charming Sirmione (had to visit there anyway out of curiosity as a horse of this name was a high class performer in Oz!); Garda the town with a beautiful lakefront boulevard; and finally to Malcesine which has rocketed into our top 10 bella citta. With a stunning castle and interesting alleyways we were already on a winner, but an absolutely divine lunch at a place called Ristorante Al Gondoliere sealed the deal ... heaven ...
Our kids also loved the cable car we caught which takes you from Malcesine up to Monte Baldo - a zippy 1800m ascent (plus the car rotates 360 degree for the 2nd part of the trip). Temperature also didn't muck around, plummeting from 22 degrees lakeside to 4 degrees up the top. This was representative of the weather throughout our trip - a mixed bag of lollies after the prolonged heatwave Italy had endured.
Mantova followed, and it didn't disappoint with its array of beautiful medieval and Renaissance buildings, and lovely lakeside walks outside the town walls. We hired bikes for both days, and were very excited to see Gabi quickly develop confidence on the 2-wheeler. A big thanks to Granny for all her developmental work there! We thought this was a stunning town, and will be back before too long.
Now for Bologna, schooling, and language improvement ...!