Friday, 24 August 2012

Night Time In Riva

Thursday 16 August 2012. The rain stopped after about an hour and it was so warm that ten or fifteen minutes later you couldn't tell it had rained at all.

We ate our evening meal in the hotel's open air dining area. They had a promenade restaurant with tables on the Promenade by the lake side and then a glass wall separated the space reserved for hotel guests. The space was open to the sky, but with large canvas blinds that could be drawn to shelter diners from rain if needs be.

We didn't rush the meal and so by the time we ventured out again it was almost fully dark. The temperature was still well into the 30s.

The photo shows the castle La Rocca from the north. I was standing on the edge of a piazza or square, set above the Promenade which comes behind La Rocca as the moat is connected to the lake. La Rocca is a museum these days and perhaps more welcoming than it may have been in days gone by.

On the edge of the piazza is a pond and a row of small foot-high fountains, lit from underneath. Very effective.

On the north west corner of the piazza is this fountain with a statue of a young naked girl or nymph, very reminiscent of Copenhagen's Little Mermaid. Or - as I've never been to Copenhagen - very reminiscent of what I think the Little Mermaid looks like... but with legs...

Via Lipella, leading off the piazza from behind the fountain of the naked girl. The streets are all much of a muchness in fact - warm, narrow, partially blocked by tables and chairs and people eating, lit as much by shop lights as street lights, made more dangerous by hurtling cyclists clad in matching lycra and with determined faces. As far as they are concerned, pedestrians and targets are pretty much the same thing...

But it is just wonderful. Had we not been on our feet all day we could have walked around for hours. As it was we walked a few streets and thought "Stuff it, I need a drink..." and we ended up at a gelateria called Cristallo, who gained a lot of our custom during the week! This is the same gelateria where we were when it rained in the last entry. If you go there, give them a try.

The main piazza and Via Concordia. There was always something to watch around it. Either there was a concert going on in the piazza itself or in front of one of the hotels and bars that surrounded it on three sides.

It had an old old clock tower that rang the hour and with a different bell rang the quarter, half, and three quarter hours. The bells echoed off the buildings so you always got a double strike!

Fey-like blue lights shot into the air and then floated down slowly. The latest fad. A small missile and a catapult with sails at one end that as it fell opened and spun round, slowing the descent. Presumably they had batteries for the light. Very beautiful and very hypnotising! Several nights I went to bed with a crick in my neck from watching them. Every night we turned down several eager sellers. They looked great when five or six rose into the air in quick succession. They would look a bit silly just the one being shot into the Blackpool sky by a near 60 year old... It didn't put the sellers off - they asked me every night and sometimes every half hour...

Our favourite warm drink by the way was a latte machiatto. Don't ask for a "latte" in Italy and expect to get what Costa Coffee would give you. Latte means milk - so that's what you would get... A latte machiatto is a weak latte coffee that was served slightly hotter than we remembered. The Italians always used to serve them just lukewarm - it's a warm country, they don't drink many hot drinks. But perhaps they have had so many complaints that they've shrugged and gone over to the way the crazy Brits want! Certainly we used to laugh at cafes when a voice in our own native tongue said indignantly "It's cold, this!!!"

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