Water has predominated our travel for the last 6 days. I shed a tear saying goodbye to everyone at our Tuscan Villa as Michael and I headed north bu still in Italy.
Verona was our first stop as we put on our posh clothes and went to the Opera at the magnificent Arena. This open air amphitheater, first built in 30 AD, has been staging the best of the italian Opera’s for the past 101 years and staying true to its unamplified form, was spectacular. We marvelled at Puccini’s Turandot as a cast of hundreds filled the stage.
The next day, still humming Nessun Dorma (no one sleeps!), we caught the train to the dramatic destination of Venice. This being our first visit, we followed our own walking tour (ah la Rick Steves “Three walks in Venice”) and got lost in the back streets of the canal city. At least we were away from the crowds. Alas with guide maps and an inate sense of direction, we found our way back to the Santa Lucia train station and back to our bed in Verona.
On Monday we discovered the many charms ofLake Garda, the largest of Italys lakes and a little less crowded than the others. Forget NZ’s Queenstown as an adventure capital as Lake Garda is loaded with so many sports to try. You can rock climb, mountain bike, hike, go caving and ski and that is before all the water related activities that the lake provides. For the more sedately traveller, there are the ferries that meander up and down the lake to deliver you to quant little lake side villages where, if you are lucky, you can escape the tourist crowd and watch the world go by gazing out over the water. Our bed for two nights rested in the northern village of Riva del Garda beside the 13th century Torre Apponale, a medieval belfry which chimed every 15min outside our balcony room. I believe most of Germany were on holiday here (those who couldn’t afford to go to Brazil anyway) as the town erupted when they beat Brazil in the World Cup semifinals.
Lastly we have spent the past two days in the town Como on the southern banks of Lake Como. No George Clooney I’m afraid but plenty of other attractions on our lake cruise up to Bellagio for the day.
So now it is arrividerci Italia as we travel west to Belgium tomorrow to begin our week long bike and barge tour. Lets face it~ I am the Ever Ready bunny!