Saturday, May 7, 2011

Italy: Spring 2011: Day 11: Saturday, May 7: Sulzano

The day starts out sunny but a bit cool…especially in the shade.  But the lake is gorgeous in the morning light.  The hotel has a spectacular breakfast spread….wonderful fruit, great pastries….and I have no problem getting my cafe doppio con acqua calda (except for a raised eyebrow from the waitress.)  The room is also lovely and light-filled and, in warmer weather, you can have breakfast outside.

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In keeping with our leisurely “vacation” plans, we stroll over to the piazza in the middle of town where the ferry docks.  There is a school activity–a tree planting celebration–going on in the park…..scores of children, all of them holding helium-filled balloons in the colors of the Italian flag, as well as their parents and siblings. 

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 After the planting of young olive trees and the children hanging name bands on the branches–all the balloons are released, making quite a show as they float up into the sky.  Then–once the signal is given–there is a mad rush to the refreshment table.

After sitting on the lawn in the sun looking at the lake, 

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and the geese, ducks and swan that are constantly swimming by

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we decide to go to the island–Monte Isola–for a walk and lunch.  The ferry to the island runs continuously (like a shuttle)

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and it is a big day trip destination for Italians.  The ride takes only five minutes and we take the mile walk recommended by the desk clerk at the hotel – from the main town, Peschiera Maraglio, to Sensole.  It is a wide paved path right on the water; it passes by olive groves and there are lots of benches along the way. 

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The views of the lake and the mountains are beautiful.  We share the “road” with families walking, people riding bikes, a lot of motorcycles that roar past and even an occasional small bus.  

At Sensole, we choose one of the recommended restaurants–La Spiagetta–and have a semi-peaceful lunch…there are two small children at the next table who are pretty active but luckily we don’t mind.  We share an antipasto del lago….several dishes of marinated lake fish plus one whole air dried lake salmon…called “missoltino”–which has a very strong, salty taste but is quite delicious. 

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Diana follows with a pasta dish with asparagus and smoked lake fish which she likes and I have a piece of grilled lake fish that is very well prepared.  We have no problem finishing a half liter of white wine (we are on vacation after all) and we are in no hurry to leave…just lingering to enjoy the views.

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We stop for a gelato on the walk back and catch a boat back to Sulzano…..Nothing much happens during the rest of the afternoon–Diana is sitting on a lounge chair on the pool deck and I am doing some work and struggling with the hotel’s balky internet connection.  (Nothing can be perfect, after all.)

We have a prosecco and some nibbles as the sun begins to set over the island….it is actually pretty magical.  

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We walk over to the hotel next door for dinner…although we do have some ideas about skipping it…and we have a very pleasant meal on the terrace of the Hotel Aquila.  I have a big mixed salad to start followed by roast kid (very tasty but very messy) served with delicious grilled polenta (and superfluous potatoes) while Diana has prosciutto and melon followed by a dish of fried lake perch.  The apple strudel is very good and the house red wine is okay.

We are glad to just have a few steps to walk to get back to the hotel…we sit for a few minutes on the lawn looking at the lights on the lake before going to our room.

Tomorrow…who knows?  We are on vacation.

Jim and Diana

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