Lake Garda – Wish I were there!

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I still dream of retiring to Italy, but would one home be enough. Ravello and the Amalfi Coast is the place I think of most, but Lake Garda and its beautiful scattering of towns, is always in my heart!

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Through my Daughter’s eyes!

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I love Italy, and one of my favorite places is the beautiful Lake Garda. First visited with my daughter and husband in the early nineties. Re-visited last year and it was even more beautiful than I remembered.

This year my daughter is there on a business trip. Lucky girl! I’m looking at the beautiful sunset on Lake Garda through her eyes…..

Cappuccino and the Rooftops of Rome!

DSC02995Thou shalt only drink cappuccino or any milky form of coffee in the morning, and never after a meal.

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The first time I tasted Cappuccino was in the early seventies. My mum and crazy aunt took me to Italy, Rimini to be precise. It was one of those package tours that were so popular in England back then. We stayed in the Hotel President, by Piazza Tripoli and just a couple of blocks from the beach. I’d dreamed of visiting Italy for as long as I can remember. Not sure why, but it was (and still is an obsession) of mine.

I’m at home in italy, it soothes my soul.

Now, even though I live in the US, I return as often as possible and have travelled from north to south. I have favorite cities and towns of course. Breakfast at Hotel Vittorio on the banks of Lake Garda is wonderful. An ice-cold glass of champagne overlooking the Amalfi Coast in the Beautiful Hotel Villa Maria is heavenly. Tasting wine at one of the many Tuscan Vineyards with good friends is amazing.

However, one of the most exciting, exhilarating places to drink Cappuccino, is on the rooftop of the beautiful Marriott Hotel ‘Grand Flora’ at the top of Via Veneto in Rome! One cup is not enough as you sit and anticipate the day ahead. I never tire of it and I never will.

 

Hooked on Sunsets – Lake Garda

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Taken while sitting outside the beautiful Hotel Vittoria. I’ve a feeling I’ll return one day. The people of Garda are friendly and welcoming. The fish was freshly caught from the lake, and the local wine delicious. With a sunset like this to end the day, why would anyone want to live anywhere else?

A Home in Italy? I hope so!

My first memory  wasn’t pleasant, it was of a nasty, mean, miserable, violent man, my dad. Luckily I only had to endure him until I was four years old. The memory however, is etched in my brain. I’d say ‘God Rest his Soul’, but I don’t mean it!

My second memory is Italy. I didn’t actually venture to that magical country until I was fifteen, but I dreamed of it from an early age. I think I was five years old when I became obsessed with Italy. I’m not even sure why. The man who drove the ice cream van that came to our village was Italian, and very nice to me. My mum’s hairstylist was Italian, Pietro, he was very handsome, and kind. I loved the movie ‘Roman Holiday’ (who didn’t?), but honestly, I don’t know where my obsession with Italy started.

I finally made my first trip to Rimini with my mum and my crazy Aunt Jennie in 1972, I was hooked. I returned every year for the next four years. I couldn’t get enough of the place. It touched my soul. In 1977 I was married and pretty soon had my husband hooked too. Italian cars, Italian wine, Italian food, Italian shoes, Italian Football.

Rimini, Lido de Jesolo, Verona, Garda, Venice, Murano, Burano, San Marino, San Leo, I loved them all. In 2010, when I visited Rome, my obsession reached a whole new level. The history in Rome is overwhelming, the piazzas and cobbled streets, restaurants, and of course, the people!

This year I spent three weeks in Italy, it changed my life. I visited Roma, Milano, Lake Garda, Siena, Montepulciano, Ravello, Positano, Amalfi, Minori and made an unplanned and surprising trip to Anguillara Sabazia on Lake Bracciano, just outside Rome. My husband was even more smitten than me. He’s a man of action and is now planning purchasing a second home there, with a view to living there when we eventually retire.

I thinks its more than just a pipe dream. Maybe we’ll make a few more trips over the next few years, to find the perfect place, but it looks like my Italian dream may one day become my Italian lifestyle. I hope so!

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The Colors of Lake Garda and Farewell to Milano.

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I tried to post this yesterday, but my internet connection was too slow! Lake Garda is beautiful. We stayed in Garda, but took a boat trip across to Sirmione. Gorgeous. Sad to leave Hotel Vittorio and hope to go back again one day. What a gorgeous friendly hotel with fish freshly caught from the lake. Great food, good local wine and lovely people.

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Speaking of People! When we got back to Milano, we had a great pizza and salad, washed down with beer and wine. The rest of the day we spent people watching, and there are plenty of people to watch here. Tomorrow we drive south to Siena. Exciting. Never been there before. Both Milano and Siena are new to me. Rome and Garda were like visiting old friends.

Lake Garda – It’s Good to be Back.

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Had a wonderful lunch, freshly caught from the lake, and washed down with a couple of glasses of champagne. Walked through the lovely little town of Garda and had Gelato for dessert. Relaxed by the lake and watched the sunset.

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What will tomorrow bring? Maybe a boat ride across the lake. Maybe a bike ride. Who knows?

Once Upon a Time in Italy

In 1973 when I went to Italy for the first time. It was one of those ‘all inclusive’ package tours. I went with my mum and my crazy old Aunt. The minute I stepped off the plane I was in love with the place. I was fifteen. I spend two weeks wandering along the beach, basking in the sun and enjoying the atmosphere. I explored the streets, always turning the corner to find something new to delight me. I returned the following year, and the one after. I was hooked. Italy 1973

In 1977 I got married and money was tight for my young husband and I. We were happy to be anywhere, as long as we were together, but Italy was on our bucket list! In 1983 we could finally afford the trip. My husband, a British Soldier, was stationed in Germany and we drove through the Alps, what a lovely way to get there. Did he share my love of the country. Yes, he was hooked right away.

We drove through the Alps to Italy in our very own Alfa Romeo

We drove through the Alps to Italy in our very own Alfa Romeo

I gave birth to my beautiful daughter in 1984 and soon after we moved back to England. With only one pay check, vacations abroad were out of the question and it was 1993 before we could afford a vacation in Italy again. Lido de Jesolo this time. My daughter was seven years old. She took to the country and the language like a fish to water.

Once upon a time on the shores of Lake Garda

Once upon a time on the shores of Lake Garda

We moved to the USA in 1995. Lots to see and places to visit. San Francisco and New Orleans became my favorite cities to visit. I Loved shopping in New York, enjoyed trips to Mexico for sun, sea and sand, but yearned to return to Italy. Long way, lots of money, would we ever be able to afford it? Eventually in 2010, we could stand it no longer. We needed an Italy fix and booked a trip to Rome. Two weeks in that Eternal City were not long enough. We took the train to Frascati, rented a car and drove to Sorrento and Pompeii, but mostly enjoyed walking the streets of Rome and mixing with the locals.

The Eternal City 2010

The Eternal City 2010

I’m getting older now, I can’t wait another ten years before I see Italy again. In a couple of months my husband and I fly to Rome, but this time for three weeks. Rome, Milan, Lake Garda, Siena, Ravello – I can barely wait! My daughter and her new husband will be with us too, how special. Life evolves, things change, but Italy will always be a part of me. Hope you enjoy the photos!

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Rome, Milan, Lake Garda, Siena and Ravello – not long now.

It isn’t difficult to tell I started a new job. This is my first post since March 22nd. After over three months at home its hard to get back into the swing of working again. Last week I was WIPED OUT and could barely stay awake when I got home. This week is a little easier, but I’m still tired. Hard to believe a three-month break can change so much, I’ve worked all of my life.

Now my daughter, who has always lived close by is starting a new job too, in Dallas. I’m very happy for her, and sad that I’ll have to get on a plane to see her now. It’s a fantastic opportunity that she can’t refuse. She’s a smart cookie. Nothing stays the same for long. It is going to  make our summer trip to Italy very special because I’ll have her with me for two whole weeks. Italy and family, what could be better?

1993 - Italy

1993 – Italy

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Rome 2010 – Restaurant 35

Pretty soon I’ll be able to add more photos from Italy. Rome, Milan, Lake Garda, Siena and Ravello in July 2015. Can’t wait! I know Rome well, but if anyone has any suggestions or tips for the rest of my trip I’d love to hear them.

 

Lake Garda – Memories and my Return

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This photograph was taken in 1994, and this beautiful little girl is my daughter (who recently got married). The photo is taken at Lake Garda during a family vacation. We haven’t been back since, although my husband talks about it often. These were happy days. We can’t return to the past, although we can remember it, but we can look forward to the future.

In 2010 we revisited Italy, spending two glorious weeks in Rome. Next year we are returning to that exciting, colorful, friendly country and during our trip, will spend two days in Hotel La Vittoria, Lake Garda. I can hardly wait. My daughter will be a little older this time, but she is still just as beautiful, but there again, I’m bias.

I travel, I write, I drink good wine.

Life is good!

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