Monday, June 24, 2013

{Flashback} Nanaw and Papa visit Italy: Sirmione, Lake Garda

Okay while Nanaw and Papa were here we did Marostica, Bassano del Grappa, Nove, Pisa, Venice, Lucca, Tirrenia, Garmisch-Germany, Innsbruck-Austria, Verona, then Vicenza and then we went to Sirmione/Lake Garda. Ironically, out of every place we went the last town, Sirmione was their favorite place! And I can't argue that. I love Sirmione. It's tiny but it offers everything that one thinks of when they think of Italy. Roman ruins? Check. Castle? Check. Gelato? Check. Fantastic Food/Wine? Check. Amazing view of water and mountains? Check. And as a bonus while it is a tourist destination, it isn't cheesy touristy crap everywhere. It's quaint and pretty. It was hotter than H-E-Double Hockey Sticks the day we went but being by the water makes it cooler.
 I'm gonna go on a tangent here for a second...You know when you're visiting somewhere and you want a photo of everyone in your party in front of a landmark/monument and you ask a stranger to take your photo and they are all ''Oh Sure, sure!" and take couple just in case someone wasn't looking or blinked and then you do the same for them, and it seems like a great exchange but then you get home and realize that while everyone in the photo is there and looks nice, they CUT OUT THE MONUMENT you were trying to get the photo in front of?! In this case I'm referring to the Castle behind us. But it happened in Pisa (leaning tower), Venice (Realto bridge) and San Antonio, TX (the Alamo). I appreciate the willingness to take the photo, don't get me wrong but it's always a let down when you see it later.

Anyway, back to Sirmione.

One of the things I love about Italy/Europe is the uniqueness of the doors. I take photos of doors everywhere we go because one day I want to either make a collage or hang photos of nothing but all the neat doors we have seen while overseas, in the entry/foyer of our house. Sirmione has no shortage of neat doors! These two happen to be neighbors.
 Five minutes into Sirmione and we've already bought fresh fruit from a stand, we've been in a Castle, we walked past no joke at least 6 gelaterias, we've seen great doors and we come out to the beach side. Beautiful clear water with a mountain view...I just love it!
 Nanaw insisted on a photo of all of us in front of the view...
Mad props to the random German teenager who took a photo and didn't cut out the view!
So we walk up the path that curves around the beach, up through the park and then to the very tip of the peninsula that Sirmione is on, to the park and the museum of the Roman Ruins. Now our family had already seen the ruins but nanaw and papa had not. We opted to just relax in the park area, get a snack at the bar and let Nanaw and Papa enter the museum/ruins alone. This proved to work out great because they really enjoyed the ruins and we really enjoyed the break from the heat. Nothing like sitting in shade of Olive trees.

Self Timer photo :)
At this point Logan commandeered my camera and snapped photos of all of us..
 After a while, Nanaw and Papa returned {a bit sweaty} and we rode the little tram back down the hill.
 At this point we enjoyed some gelato and then we went on a boat ride. We did the boat tour and it was about 1/2 an hour with us and one other family and the "Skipper" who told us all about Sirmione and Lake Garda.

 He even let the boys drive the boat for a bit...

 It was really neat to see the remains of the ruins from this side!
 The 'Skipper' stopped the boat out here and killed the engine, just to show us all the tiny bubbles that were coming up the surface. Lake Garda has many natural hot springs and it was cool to see and feel how warm it was. Sissy probably didn't understand 1/2 of it but she seemed to enjoy herself!

 The tour ended on the opposite side of Sirmione, the side with the Castello. The boat guide explained to us that the Castle of Sirmione is the only remaining castle in the world to have it's own {still function able} port.
 Overall, it was a great day and I can see why it ended up being my parent's favorite stop. It's just a nice relaxing little town and it's easy to see it all in a day without feeling rushed.

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