I started my trip to Italy with a week of camping with a group of friends at the wonderful Camping Lido at Pacengo, on the shores of Lake Garda. I went there last year and this year's experience was exactly the relaxing break that I hoped it would be after a week of killer hiking in the Alps. As well as a camping space, we had booked a little bungalow which was basically a little kitchen, four bunk beds and a cupboard, all in one room, with a little terrace outside. The facilities at the campsite are fantastic, so that's pretty much everything you need. As well as the cleanest toilets and showers ever seen in a public place in Italy, there's a swimming pool and bar, a restaurant, a supermarket and a long stretch of lake shore with a pier that you can jump off for a slightly wilder swimming experience. Just along the shore is the port of Pacengo, where there's a market once a week. The port is also home to a lovely restaurant which I think is called the Casa di Giulia. There's an outdoor terrace with views over the lake, they gave us free limoncello at the end and my friend's insalata caprese was so fresh and delicious that I could smell the tomatoes as they passed my nose.
There was also a farmer's market in the town centre the Friday that we were there. At first we were a bit disappointed because it was tiny, but we went round every stall, tried everything and bought most things. At the final fruit stall, my friend L. must have charmed the stallholder because he kept pressing free fruit on us. Even after we had bought everything we wanted and more, he kept cutting slices of melon and handing them to us until we could eat no more. It was fabulous.That weekend was also the Festa dello Sport in Pacengo. In the evening there were different stalls selling local food and wines and a band playing covers of cheesy songs. Many Italians, particularly if they're of a certain age, learned to do proper ballroom dancing when they were kids, so lots of people dance the “official” steps in couples at these kinds of events. My friend J., who is also a really good dancer, was desperate for us all to join in but the rest of us Brits were too uneducated and inhibited so she found an old man to dance with instead and he was delighted with the opportunity. She, on the other hand, was quite relieved when later in the evening she convinced me to dance the uncoordinated British shuffle with her!