We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Dear Readers: It takes me a bit of time and effort to size and post travelogue pics. Please given them a glance. No need to comment, but I would not post them if I did not think they might be interesting...
We have spent time on the Italian lakes (both Maggiore and Como) in the past but Lake Garda was sort-of on our route up into the Italian Alps and the Dolomites, so we stopped by to stay for a couple of days at a superb B&B about halfway up the western side of the lake in Gardone Riviera at (Thanks again, Karen Brown and Trip Advisor) - Dimora Balsone.
Our gracious host Rafael, a semi-retired lawyer, rebuilt a dilapidated 500 year-old farmhouse and is gradually rebuilding the farm - mostly olive groves with some fig trees and Peach trees. You can tell he loves the place and is investing a lot into it.
View from our tiny rooftop balcony:
More pics of food, the Lake, and side trips to Sola and Sirmione below the fold -
Our nice Costco rental car parked in the cliffside parking area.
Our host's two cars:
Rafael is installing a custom-made marble 8-person jacuzzi. Looks like a sarcophagus for Goliath.
Thanks to the lake and some local climate quirks, you can grow citrus here despite being fairly far north and in the foothills of the Alps. He is proud of his grapefruit, lemons, and blood oranges.
His two cockers. The white one is a truffle dog. Very handy indeed. He also has five English pointers in his kennel, for hunting.
Nice Italian craftsmanship on the new door shutters on our balcony
We drove down to Sola for dinner one night. It is said that the violin was invented there. Mussolini ended his career there, holed up somewhere. There was a very busy passagiatta along the shore, and busy dining.
We took a ferry to Sirmione to check out the vast Roman ruins, and to check out the scene.
In town, Sirmione
They call it Catullus' Palace, but who knows whether the Veronese Roman poet ever went there. It did start as a Roman vacation palace before being fortified against the barbarians. Now the town of Sirmione filled with German barbarians.
Excellent dinner at a trattoria for locals at the top of our hill/mountain in Gardone. As usual in Italy, nobody dines before 8 or 830. There is no menu. The owner just tells you, in Italian, what they have that night. At the end, there is no bill either. She just writes the price on a scrap of paper. 62 Euros - not bad for two but then we didn't have any vino. When I asked whether she took credit cards, she gave me a look of contempt mixed with incredulity which put me in my place.
I had the antipasto misto (my plate from the serving trays)
For a Primi,the Tagliatelle with WhiteTruffles
And for a secondi, Rabbit Stew on Polenta
Before we left to head up from the foothills into the real Alps, we took a hike around Rafael's hillside farm. The mowing is done by scythe.
One common theme among all of your Italian pics is how green and floral everything looks -- as befits a Mediterranean clime. The big wisteria-type display above the store is a good example. Very beautiful countryside, all in all. It's green and lush down here in the Keys, too, but in a different kind of way.
The old MG-type car was pretty cool. One of those, "Yeah, I get great gas mileage -- but the headlamps cost $300 apiece!" stories. Those old 'classic' sports cars are a blast. I've owned an MG, two Sunbeams and an NSU. The NSU's front tires not only turned, but actually tilted in the direction of the turn.
I also liked the pics of the two cockers. Typical cocker spaniels -- sleeping!
I always get immense pleasure from viewing your travel pics. If I never get to go to the same places, at least I've seen and enjoyed them vicariously. But on occasion I do steal a photo or two of yours and I archive them in my computer travel folder with a reminder of the places I should go before I'm too old or too cranky to travel. I say, keep 'em coming. I'll be looking.