So this is extremely late but here’s what we did in Italy when I went with my mum in May. We stayed in Garda, Lake Garda for 3 days and then Verona for 2 days. I accidentally deleted all my photos off my camera so all I have are my photos from my phone, which is why this has taken so long. I just booked a trip for us to go to Paris as neither of us have been, I’ll make sure I don’t delete my photos then.
HOW WE GOT THERE:
We flew with Easy Jet to Verona, from Gatwick. I met my mum at Gatwick, getting the train from London, and her from Eastbourne. Our Airbnb host picked us up from Verona and drove us to Lake Garda. We got a coach back to Verona.
HOW WE GOT AROUND:
WALKING – As usual our legs were a reliable mode of transport.
COACH/BUSES – We got a day pass for the bus so we could go from Garda to Malcesine (roughly 45mins) and Riva Del Garda (roughly an hour from Malcesine) and then back, the bus pass costs about €10. We got the coach from Garda to Verona for €10 which took an hour and a half.
BIKE – We cycled from Garda to Bardolino and back.
CAR – Our lovely Airbnb host in Garda picked us up from the airport and drove us to Garda, in the car it takes about 40 mins.
FERRY – We visited Sirmione via the ferry with a return ticket about €20, it took about 20mins to cross to get there on the fast service, and about an hour to get back on the slow service.
AEROBUS – On the last day we got the airport shuttle bus from Verona train station to the airport €6.
We stayed in two Airbnb’s, one in Garda and one in Verona. The Airbnb in Garda was lovely. Camilla our host was super kind and picked us up from Verona airport and drove us to Garda for the check in. The apartment was on the top floor of an old building which used to be her family home. They’d renovated it and turned it into two airbnb flats. We were really close to the bus station, and really close to the lakefront, and some super markets so we could have enough food at our base.
In Verona we stayed in the city centre where it was easy to walk around. The Airbnb was very modern, comfortable and in an old historical building. We were so close to everything it was amazing, but we were also on a quiet street so we didn’t have much noise from outside. We must have been right next to a music academy as we could hear people practicing which was such a lovely thing to listen to while getting ready for the day.
DAY ONE : LAKE WANDERING & DINNER
We arrived in Garda in the afternoon, once we were settled and all checked in with our lovely airbnb host we went to the supermarket and bought some food and giggled at the penis shaped bottles of limoncello. We went for a wander to go and see the lake, the weather was perfect for springtime – clear, sunny, not too cold and only a slight breeze coming off the lake, the water was super still and super clear and it was just a really pretty evening. We got some gelato, and we just had a little walk for about an hour before settling for some Italian food and wine from Il Giardino Delle Rane.
DAY TWO : MALCESINE & RIVA DEL GARDA
The weather was a bit crappy on the second day but that didn’t stop our plans for exploring. We got the bus from Garda up the lake to Malcesine. We wanted to see the market so mum wanted to get herself a new bag. I also got a pretty mint green faux leather bag, and we got matching wooden sunglasses. Mum managed to find herself a sign that said ‘Warning Entering Woman Cave’ which absolutely tickled her. We explored the Castello Scaligero (the castle) in Malcesine, which had some pretty spectacular views. We could also have got a cable car from there up to the top of a mountain which would have been incredible however my mum flatly refused to even entertain the idea. Once we’d explored there we got the coach up to Riva Del Garda at the top of the lake. The architecture in that part of the lake is really quite different from the southern parts of the lake and have a more Austrian influence. It had started raining pretty heavily by the time we got there, we walked up to the lake front, I took some photos as the weather had created a pretty beautiful atmosphere around the lake within the sides of the mountains, and we went and had some respite from the rain by grabbing some pizza and having dinner before getting the coach back and chilling out in our airbnb.
DAY THREE : BARDOLINO & CLIMBING LA ROCCA
The weather this day again wasn’t fantastic but at least it didn’t start off raining. We wandered around Garda a little, exploring the shops and seeing what was on offer. We stalked a family of ducklings who had a little blonde duckling in amongst the rest of the brown ones. They were super cute!! We had some lunch from a tiny cute Italian place before deciding to hop on the bikes our airbnb had provided and cycle down to Bardolino which was the next town down from Garda. It was a really nice gentle bike ride and we had some more gelato in Bardolino before heading back. Now there’s a little mountain next to Garda called La Rocca. I’d said to mum it would be amazing if we could climb a mountain while we were there, and she thought the idea was ridiculous and so I figured there would be none of that. But, as fate would have it, we stumbled across the pathway that led to the top of La Rocca… And we decided to walk up it a bit, only partially up the mountain you’re met with some amazing views. Mum wasn’t sure if we would make it the whole way, but we persisted for an hour and a half and managed to get to the top for the sunset, before we decided to hurry down so we didn’t have to navigate a rocky path in the dark.
DAY FOUR : SIRMIONE
We decided to explore Sirmione and see the lake from the peninsula. We took the ferry over and had a wander around the historical centre. The South of the lake is a lot flatter than the mountainous North part of the lake in Riva, but Sirmione was still rather hilly with lots of ups and downs. We unfortunately went on a day when everything was closed, but there are Roman ruins right at the tip of the point which would have been amazing to explore. There is also Scaliger Castle which is built in the water, again it would have been amazing to explore but we just had to marvel at it from the outside. We did however see a natural hot spring on the edge of the lake, explored the town, we saw pugs in prams and I fed a bird out of my hand. We had some bruschetta and we got to try some of the best gelato while there. Once we got back to Garda we had another little walk around the waterfront, stalking the little ducklings again – mum even managed to feed a duck out of her hand. And we returned to the same restaurant from the first night, it had started raining but we had a farewell meal while watching the sun set over the lake while the sad sky dispersed
DAY FIVE : VERONA EXPLORING
On day five we set off for Verona on the bus. It was very easy to get on, and get off at the correct stop – right outside the arena in Verona. We walked about fifteen minutes to get to the next airbnb and checked in to the lovely building and pretty much set out as soon as we could. We walked around the outskirt of the historical centre and it started thundering and raining so we went to the Natural History Museum and it was pretty much just me and mum inside so we got to see everything without any issues. They had some incredible things inside.
Once we left it had started to get sunny. We saw some archeological places, and we found Juliet’s Balcony – my mum joined in with everyone who touched her boob for some good luck, I felt weird about groping a statue so didn’t. It was amazing to see the love letters stuffed in the cracks of the wall, and oddly the messages on love on chewing gums all over the place too. It was very touristy (especially with the shop there selling rather tacky items) and a bit weird but also kind of nice to see.
We also saw some incredible crypts of a family who clearly wanted to be remembered, and saw the set up of concert happening in honour of European music. They had a flag for the European Union draped over the side of the rail, and we listening to a violinist practicing for the performance later on. I think it would have been an incredible concert to attend. Mum and I sat and had a couple of drinks at a cafe in the square nearby, and then went and had dinner in a typical Veronese restaurant. I can’t remember what I ate but I definitely had chocolate salami for dessert for the first time since my colleague made it about six years ago.
DAY SIX : THE ARENA & FLYING HOME
We didn’t have that much time to kill on the last day but we managed to explore the Arena. It was incredible to think that these spaces were built such a long time ago and have seen thousands of people through the doors for so many different reasons, while still remaining to be these stunning structures. Currently it’s used for open air opera, they were setting up for the opening of the season when we were there in early May, but it must be such an amazing spectacle to see a performance there. We had a little wander around some shops, I got myself a jacket and a dress, and then we proceeded to make our way home – stopping to get some last gelato with our luggage before finding the bus to the airport.
I really enjoyed the trip to Italy with my mum. I think if the weather had have been less rainy it would have been better but it was still enjoyable, and lovely to spend time with her exploring a new place and seeing new things. I’d probably recommend going to Lake Como over Lake Garda, just because it is a bit smaller, but both are stunning places where you’re going to fund delicious gelato and Italian food.
I’m excited to see what Paris has to offer us in March although I’m going to go with no expectations as I’m finding it to be the best way to approach seeing a place.