Brisbane2Bristol

On our great adventure

Take the Fast Road to Sirmione…

Leaving Pisa on another glorious morning, we passed this fighter jet on the side of the road, it was just something out of the blue!

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We stopped at McDonalds to grab a morning coffee before we headed north towards the Alps, coffee and ‘MILKA chocolate’ muffin ‘done’ we get back onto the bike.
We decided to mainly stay on the secondary roads which took us over some fantastic hills and sleepy villages, With so many buildings abandoned, which would be great to renovate…

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We double backed in one village when we saw some fantastic cakes on display in the window, with a couple of cakes purchased for lunch we stopped in a little park with a great church just outside the village..(maybe this blog should be called the fast road to the cake shops!) oh my the tarts turned out to be sooo good…

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Clive working off his sugar hit…

Making our way north towards Lake Garda, we stopped for petrol and we noticed that there seemed to be quite a few Ferrari’s passing us at lightening speed, more and more Ferrari’s speed past us, Clive tried to keep up, but we were left behind in the tail wind…
We missed the turning that would lead us to the factory and had to go around a round about a couple of times before we got to the correct turn! I’m not that good at navigating, i think i’m gonna be sacked! lol

We then spotted the Ferrari factory,

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It all made sense now why there were so many Ferrari racing around, we tried to get closer to the factory for a photo and it was hard with all the one-way system to get on the correct road to the factory…
The factory is huge, this place has been home to Ferrari since the 1940s, and at more than 250,000 sq. the factory’s 45 buildings house more than 3,000 workers.

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We rode past the factory and around to the merchandise shop and parked the bike up outside and wandered in…

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They had some really great stuff if you had a healthy bank balance with every kind of thing endorsed with the Ferrari logo,from bolts from actual F1 cars to kids apparel …

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We left empty handed, bit too pricey, even for a pencil…!

But it was a totally unexpected stop, it was pure chance we stumbled on Ferrari head quarters…

Later in the afternoon we arrived in the town of Sirmione, it is situated on a peninsular that juts out into Lake Garda, we followed the sign to a huge campsite, only to find that it was full!
Hmmm, we thought getting into a campsite would be easy as most kids had now gone back to school and we are out of the tourist summer season or so we thought.

We knew there was another campsite close by, so we head off towards it. We soon found Sirmione Campsite, the campsite is located at the southern end of Lake Garda.

Yes they have room for us and our small tent, and great facilities, after paying we had to follow a young boy on his scooter, who would show us the available sites, we found suitable grassy site that was also close to a power board, great we can start to charge up all our electrical items.
We managed to get the tent set up just as the sun was setting, noticing that the sun was setting a lot earlier than in the previous countries.

We watched a old couple wandering around the trees in the campsite with a long pole and they were flicking some sort of fungus off the trees that were clinging to the vee in the branches, apparently it was a delicacy of the region..

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Despite the hot weather, you could feel Autumn was now on its way.
The campsite is situated right next to the lake clearly one of the most beautiful lakes we have been too, a really lovely location, there were lots of people feeling very energetic, jogging and power walking under the softly lit pathway along the lake side…
We thought about joining in this strenuous exercise, but decided on opening a bottle of wine and nibbling on some local cheese and crackers instead!

We woke up early to the sound that campers hate…RAIN… dam it, we only have one day here…
By the time we got up the rain had diminished, well at least for the time being anyway, there were still a few clouds looming about though…
After a naughty breakfast of choclate croissants and coffee at the campsite restaurant, I deemed that it was safe enough to do some much needed washing, so I took off to the launderette, just as i was collecting the laundry, the heavens opened to a substantial pour down…doh…

We needed to make the most of the day and i didn’t want to hang around putting out and then taking off the washing from the line… I decided (after consulting with our fellow camp neighbour’s) to hang out the washing under the common area gazebo that was located near our tent, we needed these clothes to dry especially our ‘Ned’ bike jeans, i think this campsite needs a clothes dryer, they have everything else but not that!

With our washing hanging up we head out on the bike towards Scaliger Castle which is located about 10 minutes away by bike, the streets were packed with tourists all trying to make the most of this dry spell, there were very few if any spaces left to park, but the beauty of being on a bike is you can usually squeeze in somewhere!

We followed the huge crowds towards the castle, what an amazing place, but the sky was soon beginning to resemble the dark stone walls of the castle, only light rain this time thankfully, then some blue sky appeared, but we knew it wouldn’t last, as we could see more dark clouds quickly coming our way…

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We walked through the narrow winding cobbled stone lanes, with the smell of coffee wafting in our faces as we past the cafés, and of course being a tourist place it was laden with many quaint gift shops and so many ice cream parlors, which displayed more choices of ice creams I have ever seen, the colours were amazing…

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Feeling rather tempted to try one, but we ignored our craving and strolled towards the pathway that lead us to the path that ran along side the lake, the scenery was spectacular, yachts skating the vast lake like they were on ice, in the distance we could see grand buildings perched into the side of the hills that were then towered over by mountains covered in dark grey clouds,due to the clouds our photos can not do this place justice, and not having the sun out didn’t help either.

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We quickly came across a peculiar smell and lots of people in their swimsuits sitting in a shallow pool of water on the shoreline, it was a hot water spring, it looked inviting on this semi chilly day, but there was no room to squeeze in, and the smell was a bit off putting, so we carried on towards the Grotte di Catullo.

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At the end of the pathway we had to start heading up some steps, we went to far and ended up in a kids playground, finding a different set of steps meant we could carry on towards the Grotte.

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Finally we arrived, just as the heavens opened to a full down pour, this just isn’t our day, even though i have an umbrella it’s really only good for one person!

We decided we would have to miss this place, but anyway here a little bit about it. This villa is the second-best surviving example of a Roman private home in all of northern Italy, the villa is set in over five acres, and is not a grotto, and nor did it ever belong to Catullus, the town simply decided to name its most famous Roman ruins after its most famous ancient Roman resident!

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With the sky cleared from the darker clouds to lighter ones we strolled back towards the castle enjoying all that this impressive place had to offer…we also enjoyed one of the many flavored ice creams that were on display, as delicious as it was, it can’t beat the ice cream we had in Istanbul!

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We walked past a little bakery on the way back to our bike, it had the most appetizing looking cakes ever, so wanting to do ‘our’ bit to help the local economy, we brought some petit fours to have after dinner…

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We were spared the rain while riding back to the campsite, but once we were cooking dinner the heavens opened again, luckily though, the washing (that was still damp) and us were all under the gazebo dry.
We even got to use our new frying pan to cook a dinner of bubble and squeak!, it turned out this was the only time we used our new pan!

Later that evening we head down to the restaurant to use the Wi-Fi and catch up on some mail and off course some blogging, all the while enjoying a glass of wine.
Coffee came later with our yummy cakes, they were only small so we don’t feel guilty about eating them!

The following morning our clothes were still not dry, but the sun was shinning so we moved the washing line and waited for the clothes to dry. Some bike maintenance was also performed, oiled and adjusted chain and checked tyre pressures, by now the clothes were dry, now we could finish packing, we also had some citronella candles added to our packing to the already overladen, poor bike, but we needed these candles as these were the first mozzies we had seen since leaving South East Asia, and they were big…
With our camp deposit back we could now set off towards the mountains that overlook the lake…

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