Leaving Bologna, we made it as far as Saló on the southern shore of Lake Garda. I was actually going to skip Lake Garda, and head straight into the Dolomites. I’m glad Risa made the suggestion to take this slight detour, because the area was beautiful. The place we camped overnight though, was a little less so.
We arrived late, as usual, and there were a few other motorhomes also there. It looked like a large group were parked together, with them eating out in the middle of the car park, pouring waste down into the storm water drains, kids and dogs running around making huge amounts of noise. The Police came by at one point, so I’m guessing they were known to them already. I’d read about some of the motorhomes parking areas in towns south of here, like Bologna, Verona and Padua having problems with Gypsies, which made us feel a little uncomfortable. They were friendly, saying hello, but I took extra precautions to make sure every thing was locked away in the safe when we went to bed.
After dinner, we were still uncomfortably hot, so we had a quick walk down to the lake for a swim. I put on my swim wear, not expecting to get in, but it was actually really, really nice – at least with the dim night lights.
The water looked exceptionally clear, and was surprisingly warm. It seems that it’s also quite full of marine life, judging by how many fish the old men were catching from the shore – though, they didn’t look to have enough meat for a fish finger.
The night passed without event – no attempted break ins, no sleeping gas and children through roof vents, and no missing property. The large group had moved around a little, however, they were still very much dominating the area, with kids, dogs, and tables/chairs wherever there was shade.
I was expecting the weather to cool a little as we’re heading north, but it’s just as oppressive as when we were in Naples. It looks like there is a bit of a heat wave in Europe, with temperatures in London even exceeding 30˚C. So, to cool off, we went back down to the lake for a swim. It wasn’t quite as clear as it seemed last night, but it was every bit as refreshing.
We made a quick walk through the centre of town, but there wasn’t much there for us. It was a tourist holiday town – pretty, but not much that we want/need.
By the time we’d gotten back to the car, we were hot enough to want another swim. We could see how this pattern would repeat, with us cooling down, and needing another swim by the time we left the shore. I told Risa that there would be other swimming opportunities along the lake so we could continue with the day.
It was a beautiful sunny Saturday, well, beautiful apart from the haze, and it seemed that everyone was enjoying the lake with us. There were a series of tunnels we had to pass through, which were wide enough for two small cars, or one large one – like us, or a coach. It looked there was normally a traffic system in place to have one-way traffic, but it was just blinking orange. There were three coaches in front of me, as well as a few regular cars. The cars were sick of waiting, so they would drive out into the oncoming lane, past the buses, never to be seen again. The buses eventually made a move, and it was slow going through the narrow tunnels. It was lucky that we only came across one motorhome in the other lane, because had they encountered another bus or a truck… I’m not quite sure how they’d resolve that. In the end, it took us 90 minutes to travel the 40km from the south to the north of the lake.
Risa was suffering with the heat, made worse from the traffic slowing everything right down. I’d hoped we’d be able to swim again, but it wasn’t possible to stop at any of the beaches/towns along the western shore.
Which was a real shame, because what we saw was beautiful, with cliff-like walls that plunged into the deep blue waters. I remember now seeing pictures of Lake Como, and thinking that it was impossibly beautiful. We had to settle for the occasional glimpses we would get, when not in tunnels, of course.
Riva del Garda
We were now at the very north of the lake, having managed to successfully traverse the western shore. It was wider here, with space for shops, and cars and parks. There was also a dedicated motorhome parking area, which was only €0.50/hr – most people spend a day or two here.
From the end of the lake, it was pretty easy to get a clear view of just how vertical the shores of the lake were, with the western coast far more dramatic and rugged. It’s amazing that they even have small settlements into that hostile environment – I wonder how many slip into the lake…
Risa had an afternoon nap in Gunter, as it was all that she had the energy for. I decided that it was better to go for a swim, so I changed and walked down to the lake shore. It was a little shocking seeing so many people crowded into the small grassy shore – and just as many in the little area that was allocated for swimmers. It was probably the busiest beach that we’ve seen on our travels yet – and it’s still early June…
But, it didn’t matter that it was busy as I didn’t plan to spend much time there, just enough to cool down and refresh myself, and then continue on our journey north into the Dolomites, which is hopefully a much more hospitable temperature!