Thursday, June 2, 2011

Entering the Lake District

Tuesday May 31 we left the delightful B&B in the country and headed for our first lake in the Lake district of Italy. The most famous lake in the district is Lake Como and the largest is Lake Garda, our first stop. The previous day a mechanic at a bike shop had given us a more detailed map of the Lake Garda area and we noticed a bunch of theme parks on the southern end of the lake. Well, we passed up the opportunity to spend the day at Gardaland, Movieland, and Cavourland (a water park). We found a nice camp ground in Bardolino right on the water with it's own swimming dock.

Hot sticky and tired we went for a swim as soon as the camp chores were done. The water was perfect, cool and refreshing. We soon found out who really ruled the campground.

During the night it began to rain and rained steadily all through the next morning. We stayed in the tent longer than usual, then we walked down to the campground coffee bar and lingered over coffee. Finally, about noon, the rain began to sputter. We got on our bikes for an unloaded ride up the lake shore. The day was still dark and gloomy, but the lake and the mountains plunging into it were spectacular!

Wednesday night we went to our first osteria. There are different levels of restaurant in Italy. The snack food places are paninotecas that sell cold and toasted sandwiches. Next is the pizzeria, which might have some pasta dishes. A locanda serves local dishes and an osteria is an inn serving simpler dishes than a restaurant. Dave had a macaroni with creamy gorgonzola sauce and Belinda had stewed rabbit with polenta. The rabbit was excellent and reminiscent of the baked lamb in Greece.
Today we joined the big holiday traffic (4 day weekend) and left Bardolino. We still got some great last views of Lake Garda in the ferry ride to Fasano.

From Fasano we rode south along the lake shore, crowded with holiday traffic. At Salo we turned west away from the lake and immediately began to climb. It was a difficult climb (13% grade in some pitches) but it lead us into beautiful mountains with picturesque villages.

Eventually we got to the Colle di San Eusebio, at 574 meters high. From there it was a fast downhill run into Brescia. Tomorrow we hope to find a campground with room for us at Lago Iseo.

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