Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Malcesine, Lake Garda

Saturday 18 August 2012. Well we had a full post just about the ferry trip here so I'd better make this one as interesting as I can!

Luckily there is enough in Malcesine (say it Mal-chess-in-ay with the accent on the che bit) to look at and ponder over.

The ferry landing stage is next to a very small but quite busy harbour. A fairly large masted ship does one hour trips (under motor not under sail) and another firm hires speedboats by the hour. Not the English seaside town idea of speedboats either. They look the real thing! And are priced as such. The basic one will set you back fifty euros for an hour, but I expect that the posing value and a chance to thrash it about on the huge lake for an hour makes it better value than, say, a three-minute roller coaster ride.

Malcesine's castle is perhaps best seen from the lake itself, but that shouldn't put you off walking up the hill through the narrow streets to get there. The host on the airport shuttle who brought us from Verona Airport on Wednesday had told us the castle was the setting for an unbelievable number of weddings a year. I think he said 800!

One such was going on because a little blue golf buggy decked out in flowers and a bride and groom tootled past us as we walked up the narrow cobbled streets towards it.

Once you get there, there's probably going to be a queue for the tiny viewpoint under the castle overlooking the lake.

But it is so, so worth waiting to catch this beautiful viewpoint. Turning the other way to look up at the castle is not the best view of it so people tend not to stay here a long time, blocking your access.

A glimpse of one of the narrow streets. This one is at least on the level. Others seem to have been built more with mountain goats in mind, but perhaps I exaggerate a little here.

We came to a small piazza halfway up a hill with the bar cafe shown above right. We stopped for a drink and whilst we waited for it to come, the sketchpad came out and I spent 45 minutes capturing the essence of the piazza.

Our latte machiattos had long gone and a beer seemed a good idea after a while... I left the cobbles to do once I got home. They took at least half as long to draw in as the rest of the picture!

Fran disappeared into a jewellery shop to admire the Venetian glass and I got bored enough to start getting all arty-farty, photographing colours and textures. The shot of the shop front and the fruit by the way is not quite what it seems as this was a pottery shop and all the fruit... isn't fruit...!

And so back eventually to the harbour area and some lunch. Halfway through another wedding party came down and onto one of the boats for their photos to be taken, whooping and looking like they were having a good time.

In fact when we got back to Riva that night this same party had taken over the bulk of the dining area - they were staying at our hotel. Which meant we had to listen to the speeches... The father of the bride's speech was nowhere near as good as mine... Five years on and still some of Eddie's friends and family mention it to me... [blush]

Anyway, Rosie and Rich, (Rich?!? Could you not find anyone called 'Jim'?) have a good long and happy life together.

Meanwhile we are still in Malcesine despite that swift bit of future gazing. After dinner we decided to walk it off a bit rather than sit an hour and a half on a ferry so we walked south, finding more shops and a lakeside view missed by many visitors who tend to walk north from the harbour.

Large versions of the photos: there's quite a few there now in my Lake Garda 2012 set at Flickr!

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