Day 03: Raging Metropolis of Casasola and Serenity of Lake Garda

Zipping away from Venice, being chased by birds

Zipping away from Venice, being chased by birds

After a horrible night’s sleep, we were up by 7:00 and ready to leave the hotel at 8:30.  We all needed to get to the airport to pick up the rental car we were going to use for the following 4 days, and it had been decided that the easiest mode of transport to get there was by private water taxi.  This was definitely the James Bond Moment of the trip, as zipping through side canals before going down the Grand Canal, under the Rialto Bridge, and out onto the open water of the lagoon makes you feel like an international spy.  And in true Italian fashion, our taxi driver spent the entire ride chain smoking and talking on his cell phone.

Our whip in Casasola

Our whip in Casasola

We arrived to the airport and got the rental car sorted out, getting on the road right around 10:00.  Our car, through EuropCar, was an Audi A3 station wagon, but it was soon nicknamed the Sardinia Can.  Let’s just say that 4 grown adults, 4 suitcases, and 4 backpacks were a tight fit.  In fact, I’ve seen public rush hour buses in Peru that looked more comfortable.

The old family homestead in Casasola

The old family homestead in Casasola

Our destination was Casasola, a tiny blink-and-you’ll-miss-it town about two hours north of Venice where half of my father’s family came from.  Currently the population is about 55 – people, not thousand – which is actually about a 37% increase in population since 2007.  It’s a good thing we found parking in this sprawling metropolis.  Jim and I made a friend there last time we visited, and she met us at noon and gave us all a tour, which, given the size of the town, lasted about 6 minutes from top to bottom.  We spent the next couple hours visiting with her and assorted townsfolk before shoehorning ourselves back into the car, aiming for the town of Garda on, well, Lake Garda.

Peaceful tranquility of Lake Garda, even after we arrived

Peaceful tranquility of Lake Garda, even after we arrived

It took about 3 hours to reach, but risking DVT in our Sardinia Can was worth it because Lago di Garda is beautiful and peaceful, complete with ducks and swans, and seeing ducks and swans immediately upon arrival makes one completely forget they have no feeling in their right arm, left foot, and entire nether region.  After checking into the hotel, Hotel La Vittoria, we briefly unpacked before regrouping in front of the hotel because rumor had it we were offered a complimentary welcome drink.  Not wanting to, you know, hurt anyone’s feelings by saying no, we planted ourselves at a lakeside table and sipped on our proseccos.  It was such an idyllic setting that we decided to eat dinner there, too.  It turned out to be the best meal of the trip so far, and the most scenic, which helped greatly in forgetting the Sardinia Can.  Well, so did the wine.

Although we were tired and it was getting late, after Jimmy and I said goodnight to my parents we decided we couldn’t let the scenery go to waste so we took a walk down the lakeside promenade, stopping for a limoncello nightcap.  No matter how long the day may have seemed, no matter how tired we were, Italian liqueur always seems to take the edge off.

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