Monday, May 24, 2010

Great Lake Circuit

We missed out  on our trip last week as we were being visited by a dear friend from university days, so were chomping at the bit to get back in the saddle this weekend.

As the weather forecast was for sun and high temperatures, we decided to head off up north to Lake Garda. We've been there a few times before but decided to go up to Riva del Garda, right up at the top end. We set off after breakfast and as usual avoided the motorways. On the way up we passed a vintage car rally that we somehow ended up being in the middle of. I was amazed to see a De Lorean amongst the usual Ferraris, Alfas and Fiat 500s.
The ride up was fabulous, through the villages, past the house with the red washing, over the mighty Po and heading towards the south end of the lake. The southern end is the most heavily developed and the traffic was really heavy, particularly around the theme parks. Still, we were fortunately on the bike and able to wend our way through and continue with our journey up the eastern side of the lake. The views were amazing and the crowds thinned out as we headed further north. Eventually we arrived just in time to find a sunny spot to settle down to eat our panini we had prepared at home. After our chow down we had a look around the town. The scenery is really dramatic at the far end of the lake with snow still visible on the highest peaks and soaring mountains on both sides.

We'd earlier spotted a restaurant that served ice-cream sundaes, and as the afternoon wore on we really fancied one. We settled in and I enjoyed an iced coffee with whipped cream and ice-cream and Claudio had an amarena cherry sundae. It brought back memories of knickerbocker glories as a kid. Yum!

All the way up and in Riva del Garda we spotted loads of bikers. We decided to complete our circuit of the lake by heading home via the western side. We'd been told that this was a decent trip. As it happened it was nothing of the sort. For much of the top end, the road was enclosed in airless claustrophobic tunnels that amplified the roar of the street bikes that roared by, to an unbearable cacophony. Really unpleasant. By the time the road had opened out, we were back down near the south end and the traffic was heading home. It was really busy and we feared we wouldn't get home until midnight. Once again however, the convenience of being on a motorbike became plain as we managed to wriggle through and out the other side and onto the road home.
We had a bit of a convoluted trip home, thanks to the road signs sending us backwards and forwards. We by-passed Montichiari that has an amazing white basilica with a green roof and a castle, visible from the road. We made quite good time, in spite of the traffic and made it home in about three hours.
I think we rated this as one of our favourite trips so far this season. It was fab.

Km: 373

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