Two years ago, when we were planning our honeymoon I had on the top of my list to visit the Cinque Terre, five coastal cities on the Italian Riviera, connected by a rocky path with a gorgeous view. (also, Trofie pasta originates from this region, and its pesto is famous.)
When we attempted to spend a day here on our honeymoon, our plan was foiled due to a train derailment and repairs leaving only a couple of hours in Riomaggiore (no time for the hike). I was really disappointed, but E promised to take me back.
So, when we knew we were going to Italy for this summer and would have one day off a week, I told E that was at the top of my priority list. When we arrived and talked to our hosts about wanting to visit, there were other road blocks -- no direct route from Milan would force us to spend more than 1 day gone and over 100 euro just to travel there.
I sadly gave it up, until a neighbor asked if we wanted to spend a day with them so they could practice English, and they would drive wherever we wanted to hike! We immediately suggested the Cinque Terre, and made plans to go in our last week.
Unfortunately the night before we were supposed to leave they phoned us that their teenage daughter was hospitalized with bronchitis and they had to stay home....
Strike two for Cinque Terre.
I was so sad I wanted to cry all night (drama queen alert). We decided to stay home the day we'd planned to go out, and asked for another recommendation of a place to visit on Thursday.
Our hosts suggested Lake Garda, the easternmost of the three large lakes in the Lombardy region north of Milan. Without other options or energy to plan, we booked train tickets and took off the next morning.
We took a train to the southern central portion of the lake, Peschiera del Garda.
(there is an old military fortress that might be worth touring here)
monument to fallen soldiers
After wandering around the town and the marina, we decided to rent bikes (bad day to wear a maxi dress!) and ride to Sirmione - a beautiful little town on a peninsula in Lake Garda that we stopped at on our honeymoon, and we could resist visiting again.
I would recommend this bike ride to anyone and everyone. (You can see on the map where Peschiera is and then out to the peninsula of Sirmione.) It's about 7K of biking, and was the most relaxing gorgeous bike ride - on the lake front going through sleepy towns. we loved it.
the views needed no enhancement.
We'd decided at this point in our trip (based on the fact that we were eating so well with the families in Milan), that we weren't going to spend our limited funds going out to eat. So on our bike ride we stopped in a local market and picked up beer, bread, meat, cheese, fruit and chocolate for lunch (spent less than €10!)
dipped our toes in the water and enjoyed this view.
Sirmione is gelato central, with a shop every where you look. We may or may not have had two servings while in Sirmione. :-)
Check out the size and the amount of flavors at this shop!
We decided to make it our life goal to come back and stay in the Palace Hotel Villa Cortine.
We were so glad we came back to visit Sirmione.