Wednesday, 25 June 2008

If you can't stand the heat....

... change your plans and go swimming.

Theo and I have become the last word in flexibility and seamless last-minute plan-changing. Our initial itinerary involving a visit to the Reggio cheese market on the way to Lake Como was abandoned on the autostrada and instead we turned off just after Modena to go north to Verona and Lake Garda.

After skirting Verona in search of that necessary evil, a supermarket, we arrived at Lake Garda, which was initially hidden behind a line of hotels, campsites and beach shops. But once the view began to open up we realised both how huge the lake is (more than 55km long, 16km wide in places) and how beautiful, especially towards the northern shores, as pine-studded mountains rear up to cast their reflections in the water.

We found a campsite that was thankfully relatively cool in the punishing 33 degree heat where Sheena could be parked under the shade of olive and alder trees and where a gentle breeze could be felt coming from the lake. Basically, our main motivation for going to the lake (rather than heading for Venice as we'd originally intended) was simply to have some respite from the soaring temperatures.

So we've been making the most of it. Three dips in Lake Garda itself and another three in the excellent campsite swimming pool. Last night in Bologna, Theo and I were still feeling uncomfortably hot at midnight. Tonight at dusk, the air feels pleasant, the scent of barbeque is in the air and we may take another swim before we turn in. This is the life.

One final thought: here at the Lake Garda campsite, apart from us, almost everyone is either German (probably 70 per cent) or Dutch. At the campsite on the Adriatic, where we were two nights ago, it was almost entirely full of Italians. Is it related to the salinity of the water, I wonder?

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