We’ve found gold!

Saturday 14th April 2018

Dave posting,

This morning, from the camp site we walked to Sirmione, it’s a glorious day, we are wearing shorts, tee shirts, caps & walking trainers, sun tan lotion has been applied. It’s such a fantastic day that the Italians have come out to play, the atmosphere is positive, vibrant, cars trying to park to visit the old town, bars and cafes’ are busy, the sun umbrellas are out, everybody wants a drink and a view of the lake.

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Gold Rolls Royce

The sky is azure blue, the sun is beating down, the water is gentle moving around and is a bluey grey colour, there’s no breeze and there’s a feeling that summer is coming and just around the corner.

We amble around for a while, we feel like getting a drink and sitting by the water, we find the perfect spot facing West in to the sun on a hotel wharf, the water is gently lapping under us as we can see through the decking.

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Our lunch spot!

We sit watching the boats trips coming and going, passengers alighting and boarding, life feels very good for us right at his moment. We ordered a small lager and small wine, it arrives with some tapas snacks, mini pizza pasties and olives wrapped in sausage and breadcrumbs and deep fried mmmm, lovely, let’s order some food. A club sandwich arrives 15 mins later and we are glad that we ordered just one to share as it’s large! And they’ve put chips alongside, it was delicious too.

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What a great place for a bite to eat!

We are so relaxed and content at this moment, but we will have to move from our seats soon, as we want to go and see the castle. We paid €26.00 for 3 drinks and the sandwich and made our way to the castle entrance.

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Sirmione Castle

Sirmione castle is considered one of the finest examples of a medieval fortification including a very rare fortified port, the castle is also known as the Scalinge castle after the ruling family of the area until 1387. Entry fee was €6 each but you can visit for free on the 1st Sunday of every month and it’s closed every Monday by the way.

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Castle drawbridge

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Fortified port

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Super view looking back down the Sirmione peninsula

There are many ice cream shops selling a huge and I mean a huge variety of flavours, they are in the chiller cabinets in waves, rolls undulating, certainly not kept in plastic boxes. The local infamous flavour is Stracciatella, allegedly this flavour was created by a local man here in Sirmione, but history mentions it was in fact Enrico Panattoni from Bergamo, a traditionally made ice cream with fine, irregular shavings of chocolate.  All the shops make a big effort to display their ice cream in such an appetising way! There are so well presented.

We continued walking through town towards the coastal path, following our noses and a small number of folk in front of us, we passed a jetty.

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He’s so relaxed!

Then we end up at the point where the path ceases, and we can’t go any further, but we are at the tip, we thought we could walk all the way around the further point of the peninsula, but not so.

As we head back we come inland a little and find a small public park with a tree lined boulevard and a plaque referencing Maria Callas, the famous Greek/Amercian soprano opera singer (1923-1977) who lived here in Sirmione.

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Through the park

We both agree that’s it’s been a wonderful surprise discovering Sirmione, water as far as the eye can see, mountains, snow, park, walkways and paths, beautiful flowers, shrubs and trees, everywhere is clean and spotless, fantastic buildings everywhere.

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It’s been a fantastic day and we have fallen in love with Sirmione! We will be back…… Arrivederci!

Dave

Bergamo, day 2

Wednesday 11th April 2018

Dave posting,

We intended to go back into Bergamo this morning as we loved it, the weather is not looking so good though.

We have been away on the road now for 3 weeks it really is time to do some housework in and around the van. We have been meaning to do the cleaning, sweeping and dusting for about a week now, so today is the day. We work well as a team, we’ve settled in to blue and pink jobs! I wash the windscreen and the whole cab area inside. Cathy did the kitchen, work surfaces, bathroom,  Last was the removeable carpets that came out for a beating! A blue job!

Well what a friendly bunch motorhomers are! We have noticed the comradery amongst you, there is always someone to help or advise you. Often conversations start that lead to interesting details and information about places you intend to visit or have been. We met a New Zealand couple who surprised us as we thought they were Italian, he really liked our van and came to take a look.

We don’t always have a plan of what to do or where to go, sometimes we get up &chat and then decide, we follow our instinct and feelings about what we want to do next.

Lake Garda and Venice were always a plan though, checked the weather forecast, urmmm rain and cloud for the next 3 days at least around Garda, let’s go there when the weather improves. We feel the need to move on, so we take a chance and drive to Lake Iseo to find a free wild spot near there. We found it okay but now it’s a supermarket! Oh, we stopped for a while, drove around the area looking for a suitable spot, no joy though. Back to the supermarket to buy a small amount of fresh groceries. Next we had lunch whilst we researched where to go, the heavens open and it’s raining heavily now, spent a couple of hours in the car park, doesn’t matter a lot when it’s raining!

Let’s go to Brescia it’s not far away, we head there hoping to use a free overnight stop. We find the “listed spot” next to the Prison (might be safe!) but it doesn’t feel right, not enough length available to park, it’s close to permit parking for cars, it’s not level with both left hand side tyres in the gutter giving us a lob sided fell, can’t use the chocks as the tarmac and grass shoulder is too rough.

We rested for 10 mins and chose the cheapest paid for site nearest to us, it’s 7.15pm now and we just want a place for the night. Cathy found one 5kms away, Ristorante Cascina Maggia, it’s a farm/restaurant with camper car facilities, €15 including electric hook up. 10 mins later we are there, plugged in and set up. We go back to reception and ask if the bar is open, we need a drink! “no, sorry, not open on Mon, Tue & Wed” Anywhere nearby ? “Yes, 500 m that way!” Off we go on foot to find it, we find a bar near a fairground Called L’Old Roger, it looks like an English pub abroad but there’s nothing else that’s open or near, we go in and ask do you do food? Yes, we are shown to a table, it’s quite busy as well with a good atmosphere, it feels friendly, it’s warm and we feel comfortable, we order food and drink. One beer, one wine and two burgers…unbelievable burgers, Cathy was Iberico ham (200gr) brie, smoked bacon and caramelised onion, mine was 400gr irish steak, bbq sauce, cheese, smoked crispy bacon, the buns were perfect for the burgers, like a soft shell with crunchy seeds and not too doughy inside. Cathy was disgusted at my 400g! she says she makes chilli for 4 people with that much beef! mmmm! but it went down very nicely.

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Beer, burgers and football

 

It’s getting busy now, the atmosphere is ramping up, the Italians are watching and supporting Roma in the Champions League quarter finals and they are beating Barcelona, they get a little nervous as the final whistle approaches, great atmosphere in here tonight!

Cathy’s beer she described as “smoky” I tried it but I didn’t like it! It’s our second meal out in 19 days and it was great, Cathy never orders burgers but this menu had to be tried! and she reported back that if all burgers were like that shed have one more often.

(sorry not many photos!)

Dave