Week 2 - It's Sunny!

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June 26th 2011
Published: July 8th 2011
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Sunday 19th June

We wake up to a lovely sunny day and hit the road bound for Lake Como. Como itself was busy and very town-y, we're drove through zig zagging through the town in heavy traffic due to the now legendary Italian signage. Both glad we didn't book to stay in Como while on Lake Como. We finally found the road to Bellagio, a fantastic flowing road which would have been an amazing ride had it not been for the millions of other cars slowly winding through. A procession of lovely old Fiat's passed us, there must've been about 50 of them!
Lake Como was glistening in the sun, dotted with boats of all sizes. The shores were little towns dotted along, plenty of villas....and palaces, restaurants every few hundred metres of less. Now this is everything we had hoped the Italian Lakes would be.
We made it to Bellagio and found our campsite, 1.5 miles out of town up a hill. The views from this place are amazing! Bellagio is on the top most point of the middle of the Lake where the 3 legs meet and......WOW is all we can say!
After getting in supplies we sat and admired the view for the evening, supping local vino.....again 😊

Monday 20th June

Today we explored Bellagio. Lucy has fallen in love with the place by 10am. Bellagio is a hill town and mostly pedestrian. Lots of cobbled little alleyways and nooks and crannies to explore, shops and bars everywhere. A short stroll over to Pescarra was rewarded with more lovely views and quaint houses and paths.
We managed a leisurely afternoon lunch in the furthest north part of Bellagio, a mini park overlooking the lake with lots of trees for shade and a restaurant playing good tunes.
We decided to take advantage of the towns one internet cafe for research and it turns out aperitivi...our new favourite thing. You buy a drink and get snacks for free - not just a bowl of stale peanuts that everyone has been sticking their sweaty little hands into but a platter of parma ham topped brusectta's. after a couple more drinks and several more meat and cheese platters we had passed most of the evening away and were happily full and tipsy.
We had made friends with the barman by this point and when he found out we were about to walk all the way back to the campsite he offered us a lift. Me (Lucy) on my own would say no even if the chap seemed pleasant enough but I have a big burly guy with me. We accepted and he took us to our campsite, didn't ask for money or even want to join us for a bottle of wine. What a nice chap!

Tuesday 21st June

Waking up rather hungover we decided to try and find a beach to while away our hangover. None had any shade whatsoever so we decided to keep cruising and find the"hidden gems" inland rather than on the coast that the books have told us about. Lovely little hill towns and much cooler up here. We had coffee in a little town called Barni. As we are on a budget and Bellagio has proved expensive we decided to buy some food from a market and head back to the park in Bellagio rather than eat out. Lovely relaxing day again.

Wednesday 22nd June

As we had discovered that rain and thunder was due today and tomorrow we booked ourselves into a hostel as we didn't fancy the same Lake experience as the first day at the Lakes. We headed off to Bergamo, our next stop and our hostel - a bed - yay!!
We got there really early and convinced the owners to let us in early and promptly hopped on the next bus into town.
We headed for Citta Alta part of town, the old historic bit for some sightseeing. Again we weren't disappointed. Another quaint historic town full of amazing architecture. Our aim was to find a little trattoria in our travel book for some inexpensive but good quality local food. We managed to find it....it was closed for the whole of June so the owners could go on holiday!! Nothing for it...we HAD to head back to the pizza shop we had seen with so many different types of pizza in the window. mmmmm!!
After lunch we headed up to explore La Rocca, now a war museum, used to be the main tower of the hill top fort. The view over town were....well it was a town. Apparently on a clear day you can see the skyscrapers of Milan in the distance. Today the weather was hazy and ready to storm. Que thunder! It didn't do much other than roll around tho so we stayed in town hoping it wouldn't be more than a small shower. What are we to do with ourselves other than try some local gellato. Ferrero Roche flavour...but of course!!
The storm didn't show up again and once back at our hostel out of town in Torre Boldone we went out to hunt down dinner. After following signs to a restaurant and heading miles out of town we headed back to town only to find "the little chef" of the town. Hmmm. Oh well.

Thursday 23rd June

So it looks like the heavy rain and thunder we booked into the hostel for isn't going to happen....slight waste of dosh but nice to have a bed. Today we decided to explore the down town part of Bergamo. A big town but still with some lovely buildings and lots of highstreet shops. We stolled too far and the pretty building ended, giving way to plain residential apartments. Nice but a bit too town-y for us so we hopped in the bus back up to Citta Alta, laden with goodies from the supermarket. We had lunch at the top of La Rocca looking out at the views. When it starts raining we head home, but we got caught in quite heavy rain. By the time we got home by 2 buses we were drenched and glad of a hostel instead of a tent. We had a sneaky dinner in our room, not sure how b&b/hostels feel about cooking so we stayed in the room.

Friday 24th June

We had seen online that there were hundreds of campsites on Lake Garda and Lake Iseo so we thought we'd head there and find somwhere pretty. We took the scenic route rather than the motorway and my my my what did we stumble across?! Only one of the best biking roads ever!! One recommended by www.motoroute.it, it was up an over the crucedomini pass from Breno. WOW!! For me (Lucy) we were going really fast and it was really exciting......to Gary, apparently he was going average and not even really stepping on the gas. Still, great fun had by all. We came out of the hills down to Lake Iseo which was so pretty....wish we had stopped there actually but we wanted to head on to Riva del Garda as we heard it had a staged waterfall you could walk up next to. Hmmm got to Riva del Garda and were not entirely impressed. It was just like an English seadside town....Clacton maybe.....we decided to head on for a more qaint village to stop in. We passed Southend, Brighton, Blackpool, Benidorm.......hmmm turns out we had been thoroughly spoilt by Lake Como! All the campsites were tents on top of eachother without even space to walk between them. No thanks! It started getting prettier once we got all the way down to Garda and some of the southern villages on the Lake but by that time big cracks of thunder were rolling in. Stuff the lake - we hopped on the motorway and headed straight to Verona - we can do a day trip to Garda if needs be!! There is only one campsite in Verona....right in the centre of Verona that is. It was rammed 😞 but it was 6pm by now and we had been riding all day. We had to book even just one night. It had hole in the floor loos - eugh!! Still we made the best of it and bought a bottle of local vino...or two...or three and sat on the terrace watching the sun set over Verona from our hillside spot it was quite something.....ok maybe it's not that bad here. We got chatting to a young couple who were going to day trip to Venice in the morning by train for 12 euros return....now there's an idea.....Oh and then we got told off by the campsite staff for being too noisy. Oops!

Saturday 25th June

Gary woke up with a monster hangover...teehee and we decided to go discover Verona. Our main aim of the morning...or rather Gary's main aim was to find a bar showing the MotoGP. Success....the only one in town and we found it! Now to go kill some time brunching and mooching. Hmm it's quite hard to mooch in Verona when you are going past Mont Blanc and Prada shops. I don't think they'd be too pleased to have us in out dusty sandals and shorts snooping through their shops. We are getting good at finding small places that the locals like rather than the tourist traps and had a lovely lunch with all the locals. Hic. Verona is so pretty! Every single street and alley is pretty! The Roman Arena dominates the main square and we decided....while in Rome....we went and bought tickets for tonights Opera - The Barber of Seville, found a cheapy local trattoria to come for dinner in and went to watch th MotoGP. After rushing back up the hill to the campsite in the heat, showering and heading straight back to town in our best clothes......feels like a date night! We went to the little trattoria only to find it closed so went back to a little place with a fixed price 4 course meal for 35 euros each which included wine and water.......it turned out to be quite a big fancy place once we got inside and out to the main terrace!! Oh my word what food! Delicious!! We then headed out to try and claim a good spot to sit in the unreserved section of the Roman Arena. Talk about squeezing you in! I think one person was sitting on my feet, one with their knees in my back and a war of the knees ensued with the chap next to me for leg space. We got there at 7.30pm, it started at 9.15pm and ended at 12.30am. Numb bum! More than ever on the bike!! We strolled home getting an obligatory icecream on the way. Lovely.

Sunday 26th June

We were both shattered from a late night, a hot tent with no sleep night and we were feeling quite skint after the Opera and a meal out! So we chilled at the campsite all day catching up on chores. We got jealous of another couples dinner so went in search of a supermarket open on a Sunday to go get some more bits than pesto pasta. More chilling with bottles of local vino and chatting to a couple who booked in to the campsite at the same time as us. Turns out they are here for the MotoGP. Much gossiping and wine later we got told off again for being too noisy past bed time. Oops. This is becoming a bit of a theme...teehee....


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