Autumn is here and the rain has set in. The little heat we had over the summer is disappearing fast and the temperature is just above two digits most of the days (actually ranging between 12 and 17 – but it’s getting cold). I like these days. I’m quite handicapped and have to spend most of my days indoors. The dark cozy evenings that I can spend snuggled up on the sofa with a huge cup of teas I welcome with open arms. And I can always dream about the paradise we visited this summer.
After a few days near Gardaland we travelled further north along the Garda lake up to Brenzone. Brenzone consists of many small villages and we stayed in Magugnano. A very picturesque village with tall mountains running steeply down towards the lake. I was in heaven. Clear mountain air, a crispy greenish-blue lake, fresh locally grown fruit everywhere, and the temperature was just perfect.
We stayed at a hotel called Due Leoni (I’ll come back to that in a later post) where the olive trees grew everywhere around us. We had five minutes to walk down to a small supermarket, where we bought breakfast every day. Giant hams lay on display in a cooler, and were sliced while we watched. Every day started with freshly baked rolls (perfect, but they could have substituted some of the white flour for some whole grain…) and a variety of Italian delicacies; prosciuttio di parma, prosciutto cotto, salame.
In the middle of the village was a small market. I believe this was only open once a week, but we were lucky enough to stumble upon it while out walking. I bought kilos of apricots and nectarines grown in and around the village. They were recently harvested and a kilo worth of fruit often included a small twig or two, and at least a few leaves from the trees; exactly the way I like it! There were all types of vegetables and fruits sold, and these made me dream of spending a month in the area, having time and the utilities to cook every meal from scratch using the best of produce.
The village was vibrant and full of life, as were the surrounding hills. It was a little magical walking in the streets looking at everything around us, knowing that the same streets had been roamed for centuries. Evidence of the long history of the village was found in shape of a small church adjacent to the market square. Murals inside it were about 800 years old, and apparently the church had been built on top of an older church. Every small village in Brenzone had a similar story to tell, all stretching back many centuries, making the area so much more than a gorgeous, adventurous tourist magnet.
The two hotels mentioned in this post were Annia Park Hotel near the Marco Polo airport in Venice. The other was Gardaland resort, connected to Gardaland, which is (if I’m not mistaken) the largest amusement park in Italy.
Annia Park Hotel is absolutely recommendable. It is a bit pricy, but if you arrive in the middle of the night, like we did, and want a comfortable room, guaranteed air condition, and a good breakfast, then this is a good place to stay. It’s very close to the airport with free shuttle going back and forth, but is situated otherwise a bit in the middle of nowhere. I would never stay for a length of time, but for one night it was absolutely perfect!
Gardaland resort had a very cool pirate-themed room, but except for that we didn’t really like it all that much. The hotel has an outside pool (where we all had to wear swimming caps), which is fun for kids and adults alike, but the entertainment planned for kids was much too late in the evening for small “jet-lagged” Norwegians who normally put the kid to bed around 7; the show didn’t start until 9pm. The food was also very good, both the breakfast and the dinner buffet were absolutely recommendable, but as pricy as the rest of the hotel. If planning to go to Gardaland I would next time stay somewhere else.
We have returned home to where we all fluently speak the language after having spent two weeks in Italy. Husband’s been here once before, I’ve been there about 15 times, while Son has his heart set on returning for a second time. We return home with a suitcase full of memories, a slight tan, and an improved Italian vocabulary.
We spent a week by the Garda Lake (Lago di Garda) and then a week in Bibione; a small town some kilometres from Venice. The first week we spent alone, just the three of us. The second we were joined by my entire family. My father just turned 60 and invited all children and grandchildren to spend a week in Italy.
We have had tons of fun, eaten well, and spent the most part of every day outside in the sun. Perfect temperatures of between 25 and 30 degrees have truly set the mood. More to be told in the days to come. Enjoy the summer!