Sunday, May 8, 2011

Italy: Spring 2011: Day 12: Sunday, May 8: Sulzano

Beautiful morning…..but a bit cool to start out. After breakfast (coffee success continues) and some time sitting on the lawn enjoying the sun and the lake views, we get in the car to explore the rest of the lake.
We first drive up into the hills to see a local attraction…I Piramidi di Zone’ (The Pyramids of Zone’). The pyramids–rock formations caused by erosion–are located high above the lake just outside the pretty little town of Zone’.

There is a large tourist office with lots of explanations of the phenomenon and there are many hiking trails in the area. We are dismayed to learn that the shortest walk to see the pyramids will take at least an hour and we are told there is no way to drive closer. We take a quick look at the old church of San Giorgio (frescoes of the dragon being slain are painted on the outside)

and walk past the busy cafe that caters to visitors to the pyramids. As we drive back down–enjoying great views of the lake–we see an overlook where you can indeed see the formations (complete with picnic tables and places to park). So we stop, take some pictures of the rugged towers and scarred hillsides and continue back down to sea level.

The road around the top of the lake is mostly through tunnels and somehow we overshoot our next destination–the large town of Lovere that sits at the north end of the lake—so we have to double back. Lovere turns out to be full of activity on this Sunday morning (la festa della mamma). The “centro” is full of people strolling, shopping and sitting in outdoor cafes–the waterfront promenade is long and scenic–seems very inviting as we drive through. South of town, there is a fair amount of industry…steel is still an industry here…but it doesn’t appear to impinge on the appeal of the town.

The drive south along the west shore of the lake is quite attractive…the first part of the road is literally carved out of the rock and is very narrow. Cars and bikes (and a few walkers) have to share the narrow roadway but everyone seems to be cooperative. The views over the lake and to the other shore are striking and sometimes it is hard to keep your eyes on the road.

At the south end of the lake, we drive through the big town of Sarnico and we both realize simultaneously that it looks familiar….we finally realize that we had stopped here a few years ago when we were staying in Cremona. We want to explore the lakefront of the town of Iseo….but it is blocked off to car traffic for a market, so we head back to the hotel. On the way, we stumble on the laundromat that we were planning to go to tomorrow.
Back at the hotel, we have salads and sandwiches for lunch, served on the lake-front and then Diana goes out to sit in the sun. I take the ferry over to Monte Isola and walk the opposite direction from yesterday towards the village of Carzano on the eastern side of the island. This walk is a lot less scenic…it passes a boat building shop, the island dump, the docks where the car ferries (for island residents) tie up, the gas station and the “industrial” port where barges are moored. But it is a nice afternoon and I enjoy the expedition anyway.

We make a return trip to Al Cacciatore for dinner…this time we drive up the hill. Dinner is fine…..a plate of ham and salami for me followed by tagliolini with goose (a house specialty) which is delicious. .Diana has the antipasto of lake fish (which is not as good as the one we had the day before) and very tasty lamb chops. . We both have dessert….a mediocre panna cotta for me and an apple cake for Diana. We drink the house white which is fine.
Tomorrow we will do laundry and further explore the area.
Jim and Diana