Aaaah. Home again after a week gallivanting in Italy. Our (meaning Joss and the boys, Vicki and the girls, Marg and Jills, Marg's parents, Jen, and Marion and I) trip to Lake Garda was phenomenal. Joss and I had a beautiful drive down following the "scenic route" over a narrow winding pass south of Munich that took us past several gorgeous alpine lakes (or Sees as the are called in Germany). Upon arrival in Riva del Garda we wandered around a bit before finding Villa Angelica, which we eventually were guided to by Marg, but it was well worth it to discover a restored Italian villa complete with huge grounds with gardens, fountains and courtyards. We spent the next several days exploring the quaint (although "touristy") lakeside villages, all of which had lovely waterfront areas that reminded me of the Mediterranean coast. We took a trip to the zoo that Marion, Jills, and the boys particularly enjoyed. My favorite outing was a trip via ferry to Limone, a village on the west side of the lake (and also where the Marathon started). Limone is squeezed between the cliffs and the lake, and as a result is built as a series of terraces. The buildings are piled on top of each-other with narrow stone-lined alleys between them. The alleys are full of planters and balconies and are very picturesque, and each opens onto a terrace that is planted with citrus or olives. Especially interesting are the lemon terraces that date back to Roman times. They are lined with huge pillars, and some have a network of dark wooden beams covering the terraces... perhaps to hold some kind of screen for frost protection? Whatever the reason, they are both ancient and beautiful.
In addition to the scenery there was of course the food. We cooked a fair number of meals for ourselves, but with a ready supply of delicious olive oil, pastas, sauces, etc. available at the grocery store, the results were quite wonderful. We also ate our fill of gelatto, pizza, pasta, and coffee. Mmmmm.
I will post a few pictures, with more to come when we get done sharing!