lunedì 22 giugno 2009

Camping at Lake Garda

Last Saturday afternoon at around four o'clock, I was lying on a sun lounger beside an azure blue swimming pool, drinking a mint granita, watching the thermometer fluctuate between 29 and 30 degrees and vaguely contemplating when to go for my next swim. Beside the pool, a wide avenue of perfectly pruned trees led down to the lake shore, where earlier in the day we had been relaxing on the beach, jumping off the jetty into refreshingly cold water and buying ice cream from a boat instead of a van. In real life, this is what other people do once a year on holiday. In Italy, it's what you do on any June weekend when you feel like it and you can do it less than two hours' drive from your house.

Admittedly, we were lucky. Not every campsite in Italy has lakeside pitches fenced in by box hedges where you can park a car and pitch two tents before you go off to shop at the market, eat in the restaurant, drink in the bar, or go and swim in the 25 metre pool. But the Camping Lido at Lazise does, and that was why we went there.

After our laid back day at the campsite on Saturday, we went to Sirmione on Sunday. Unfortunately, so did most of the rest of the population. Sirmione is a historical town with Roman ruins, city walls and a castle that sticks out into Lake Garda on a peninsula on the southern shore. It's a gorgeous place with a lakeside promenade, lots of little shops and the most extravagant gelaterie I've ever seen. You can't drive in the town, so after getting as far as the city walls without finding a parking space, we ended up doing a few 3 point turns in tiny car parks and parking a good half hour's walk from the old town centre. Once we were there, however, it was actually very calm. There were lots of people, but most of them, like us, were just strolling, sunbathing and swimming. Despite being slathered in sun cream for most of the weekend, I had caught a bit too much sun on Saturday, so one of the highlights for me was being able to buy a big floppy straw sunhat with a ribbon. Mr A was not particularly convinced that this was a good look, but I decided it was better than sunburn. And I can wear it wherever we end up going next weekend too...

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