Thursday, April 06, 2017

3/22/17- A day of repose

Sorry Andrea, we'll hit this up next time

Our initial plan today was to head over to Vicenza and Verona to see notable landmarks like Andrea Palladio's Villa la Rotonda, the Teatro Olimpico, and the Arena di Verona.  A month ago if you would have asked me what day I was most anticipating it would have been this one.   But the rigors of the last several days had worn on us and we decided to bypass these sites for a more local option.

We did have a nice and more convenient consolation prize.  After a nice and long breakfast we hopped in the car and decided to take the scenic drive around Lake Garda.  A hazy fog was still our constant companion but we figured that we could still uncover some scenic views.

Our drive took us up the east shore. Most of the road hugs the shoreline with the notable exception being when you drive through the handful of towns like Garda, Bardolino, Pai, and Castelletto.

The view we would have liked to see
While the visibility didn't allow us to see much of anything what we did see was still worth the drive.  I could only imagine what this would be like on a clear summer day.  We drove by numerous hotels, restaurants, and other destinations that were quietly waiting to fill up during the summer months.

One highlight was to drive through the lakeside road tunnels that served as the setting for the opening sequence in the very underrated James Bond film Quantum of Solace. My favorite Bond flicks always seem to have a scene or two set in Italy.  (For Your Eyes Only- Cortina, Spectre- Rome, Quantum of Solace- Here, Casino Royale- Lake Garda/Venice).

We decided to stop at Riva del Garda for lunch.   It has all of the glamour, beauty, and sophistication as anything on Como.  We took a pleasant stroll around town, contemplated spending 10 euros at the local museum, and got a pretty average lunch at a local cafe.

Instead circling the rest of the lake we opted to turn around and revisit the Olive Oil museum back on the east side.  Unfortunately they were closed for a long lunch or something.  I was really looking forward to getting some good oil pressed from the Pendolino tree.  Disappointed but undaunted we pressed forward to our afternoon destination, Villa dei Cedri.

The healing waters at Cedri

The place is kind of a hotel resort slash thermal spa.  The grounds cover several acres, features multiple pools, and it is very popular with the locals. The waters are naturally warm and have a unique mineral composition that includes silicon, potassium, and magnesium.  Evidently this packs quite the healthy punch.  Good for your skin and good to drink.  We spent a few hours here simply relaxing in the various pools and quietly contemplating the amazing sites that we had seen on this trip.

Sirmione and Catullus at dusk
We eventually roused ourselves and headed back to Sirmione for some more of dad's interviews and our last sunset walk in this magical little town.  The skies finally started to clear and we were able to see a little more of our surroundings. I really love this area and would like to experience it in a future visit, preferably in the summer.

We capped off the day with a nice dinner back at the hotel.  We had an early day tomorrow in Venice and we had a tight schedule to keep if we were both going to wrap up everything logistically speaking and have some time to spend along the Grand Canal.

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3/23/17- A fitting end in Venice

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