Lake Garda - 20th to 30th September 2006

Here are a few pics of our trip to Lake Garda, Venice and the Dolomites...

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The weather was good for the whole holiday...photo's start here with a few pics from our balcony as soon as we arrived.

This was a set of steps on the way up to someone's house - we went passed this each time we went into Limone town (our resort). Everyone was stopping and taking photo's of this scene!

Taken from Limone town square with our hotel in the background.

The main square in Limone

The indoor swimming pool in the Hotel - damned cold and barely usable which was a real shame.

A picture of a couple of shops in the main square.

Penny on the back of a boat - we were on a short trip to Riva that day.

A view from the boat as we went to Riva.

Riva - quite a nice little town.

There is a clock tower in the town...as we went up inside it we reached the back of the clock face.

View from the top of the clock tower. The stupid bell went off while we were up there. Scared the living daylights out of us...trust us to go up on the hour mark!

This is the clock tower from the main square.

Malcesine - an absolutely fabulous town. I would say this is the best town in Lake Garda. This is the cable car that goes up Monte Baldo from the back end of Malcesine. It's a long way...!

Top of Monte Baldo after the cable car ride.

We spotted this on the top of Monte Baldo - a gofa marmot (thanks to Davide Falerione for taking the time to email and correct us!)

Instead of taking the cable car back down the mountain, some idiot (me) had the great idea of taking the walk down instead. Took hours and we were only wearing our sandles.

But it has to be said - the walk was lovely in places.

The half way point and we've been walking well over an hour. How our legs thanked us for the next few days!

Made it...well, the first cable car point anyway. There was a lovely restaurant so we had a well earned meal (and beer...mmmmm). Took the cable car the rest of the way down!

A typical street in Malcesine.

A square in Malcesine - this was taken from a small restaurant were we sat one afternoon and just ordered wine and got slowly drunk watching the world go by.

The lakeside by Malcesine.

Dusk in Malcesine. We were just coming out of Malcesine on board our slow boat to go back across to Limone when this old yacht drifted in. The dusky light seemed to cast an eerie feel and it struck me that this might make quite a moody photo...came out quite well I think!

The fast boat overtaking us back to Limone.

We did a three mile walk from Trebole to Riva and came across the world windsurfing championships. There were literally hundreds of windsurfers out there. Quite a sight.

A stream as we approached Riva on our walk.

Stream from the other side.

Back in Limone - such a clear day I had to take another photo of the whole town.

A familiar scene. We sat by the lake almost every night and drank wine watching boats come in.

Drunk Penny!

Our day trip to Venice. Glad we did it but found the whole place a bit drab. This is a typical street/waterway.

The bridge of Sighs - a prisoners last look at daylight and freedom as he/she crosses from the court room into the prison.

Venice main square.

St Marks church in the main square.

The main square from a different angle.

A scene of a bridge - one of many in the waterways.

Penny on the Gondola - she's not nervous - honestly (but it was pretty choppy to start with).

Bridge of Sighs from the Gondola - you can see the drab prison on the right just after the bridge. Apparently if you got placed in the top cells they would be unbearably hot in summer - if you were below you would always be in the dark and cold. Quite a depressing place all in all.

Venice by night.

Glad we went to Venice now simply to say we've done it but wouldn't recommend it to anyone - even for a long weekend. The afternoon was enough for us to see that it is actually a dying place. The water level is getting worse and not many people live there - either because it is getting worse as times goes on or because it is damned expensive. Most people here are tourists or workers who live out of town and travel in to work.

The shops, actually everything, cost a fortune. They wanted to charge you for everything here. One of the church towers were free to go up but they did not allow any backpacks or rucksacks in...and yes...you've guessed it, it cost a fiver for each bag to be held in their lockers. And let's face it, most people here are going to have a bag.

We were assured of a peaceful and serene ride on the Gondola's...it was quiet but in an eerie way. The best way I can describe it is like taking a ride through a ghost town. Most places were boarded up and empty...I know it sounds depressing but it was almost like you were floating around in some disaster struck town looking for survivors after a massive flood!

If you visit this place it's only worth an afternoon...and take lots of money if you want to buy anything or eat anywhere.

Our holiday rep informed us of a great place to visit since we had a hire car...a blue lagoon which went by the name of lake Tenno. She was spot on...it was absolutely beautiful. Check the next couple of photo's....

This photo was one of the best so I created an extra large version here. Notice the house on the right tucked away in the trees? Location, location, location.....

The waterfalls of Verone - another little gem we found while swanning around in the car.

All around was the winding twisting tunnel of rock that this waterfall had cut away over the last tens of thousands of years.

The garden pathways leading to/from the waterfall. They had obviously spent a lot of time on them.

Next stop Arco - and an old set of castle ruins at the top of the town.

View from the castle. In the distance is Lake Garda and you can see the valley cut out in the past. To the right in the distance (where the lake begins) is Limone.

View from the other side of the castle - where the valley continues.

And a front view of the castle itself.

There was a trip called the 'Cliffhanger' that you could go on. We did it ourselves with our hire car instead. The drive takes you up through winding roads just above Limone and you stop at Hotel Paradiso. They have a ledge which hangs out 20 yards over the cliff edge - Penny is on it now waiting for me to take the photo so that she can get off it again!

Have to admit - it is a long way down! Those are roads down there!

View from the right of the ledge.

View from the left on the ledge.

The famous Gorge road - an alternative route down from the top to get back to Limone. We had just crossed over the bridge (right to left) and then bent around ready to go underneath. Notice in the background how the road goes into a dark tunnel? This tunnel plunged you into complete darkness for a couple of kilometres and than spat you out the other side of the mountain into more winding roads. Very difficult passing cars in places. Meet a coach and you're buggered!

We're in Sirmione now. Took the hire car all around the lake but stopped here mid way through the day. This is a small town that you enter as you go out on the small finger that extends into the lake.

A couple of views from Sirmione.

Back in our apartment - another couple of views from the balcony.

Our trip to the Dolomites.

This must be one of the most beautiful breathtaking places I've visited. I'd put this on a level with the Maldives in terms of memorable places to go. Penny and I intend to go back here one day. In fact, we took notes of village names and hotels as we passed through.

The picture above was taken as we were on our way to the top of the Dolomites.

A typical town in the Dolomites.

The cable car at the top of the Dolomite range. See the end point up the top of the mountain in the distance? This was some cable car ride. This photo taken just as I was about to get on.

Half way there.

Caught the car going the other way.

Top of the mountain. You feel like you are on the roof of the world here.

No, that's not snow...the rock is white.

Coming back down now.

The clouds were beginning to descend around the peaks.

Typical houses in the Dolomites.

Val Gardena in the Dolomites. This is just five minutes down the road and is where we intend to go back to one day.

This is a photo on one of the five start hotels in the town. The other is called the Hotel Adler and is just behind me as I took this photo. I popped in and got a couple of brochures...it is a fitness/well-being spa centre and was extremely plush inside. Didn't think to take a photo of it. However, check out this link to their website...

That's all - hope you liked them...

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