131. At the lake

I am not a lake person.

As far as I’m concerned, any large body of water that isn’t salty, wavy and vaguely smelling of sewage at low tide is wasting my time.

But after a day spent at Lago di Garda, I might need to change my tune.


I am an early-morning runner, which gives me the privilege of seeing places come to life when most of you are still asleep. One sees life at its least self-conscious, as people go through their daily routines, with no sense of being on display. The beep-beep-beep of the trash truck making its rounds; the swish of the broom as sidewalks are being swept; the aroma of cornettos being baked for the breakfast crowd — I feel I have been granted special permission to observe, while the air is still cool and fresh.

Morning handstand

Yesterday, intimidated by the degree of difficulty of the local hikes, we decided instead to walk along the lake to Garda, the next town. The day was hot — nearly 90 degrees — and the lake was packed with beachgoers, mostly Germans.

Looking bedraggled after a seven-mile walk in the heat

We made it, though, nearly seven miles, and rewarded ourselves with a wonderful lakeside lunch. How does a simple grilled cheese “toast” and a tuna bruschetta taste so much better here than at home? (The secret, I’ve determined, is fat. At home, I wouldn’t dream of using full-fat cheese, or drenching the bread in olive oil, but man, is that good. And as far as I can see, the average Italian is healthier than the average American, so maybe they’re on to something.)

Food with a view

We hopped a ferry back to our home base, and rented bikes to head to the next town in the other direction. It was a bit hairy dodging the throngs of people out for the afternoon passeggiata, but most people will give wide berth to a wobbly senior citizen on a bike, screaming “Permesso!” — “Excuse me, let me by.”

Felt emboldened to crash a wedding. They didn’t seem to mind.

Evening brought another wonderful meal of water-borne delicacies.

Octopus carpaccio
Bigoli, one of hundreds of pasta varieties, with lake sardines

The crowds were out in full force — do Germans not understand there’s a pandemic going on? It felt like being down the Cape or the Jersey Shore at the height of the season.

I ragazzi — the boys — memorializing their summer at the lake
The crowds are a little scary in these times

So has Lago di Garda made me a convert? Am I now a lake person? Probably not. But maybe.

Last swim of the evening

4 thoughts on “131. At the lake

  1. Love your photos and stories of your adventures in Italy, Gigi!!! What an amazing experience you are having — thank you for sharing with us 🙂


  2. I love this because I am such a lake person. Waking up to the smells on the water is a bubbling memory trigger to youthful days of exciting adventure and discovery. All the anticipation of a fish on the line or a plunge off a steep ledge. Tadpoles and crawdads thriving in the muck. Contemplating all the life water brings down to the tiniest invertebrate. For me it’s a balm of companionship when solipsism gets dreary.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s