The campsite is situated right on the water’s edge, I however had to set up camp at the back on a mound of grass, although it was at the back of the campsite it was higher up than the caravans which dominated the rest of the site the view was excellent. My neighbour was called Mat, he was cycling around the local area and had very little gear just a one man tent similar to the one I had purchased originally for my journey and his sleeping gear. The ground was hard and covered in stones with just patches of grass, it was almost impossible to put the tent pegs in. The weather was hot and sunny so I didn’t use the tents guy lines. I put everything in the tent, took my backpack and headed to meet Simona.
I met Simona at 13:00 next to the statue at the Bardolino ferry dock, I hadn’t seen Simona in almost 2 years, she looked more tanned than the last time we met. Simona treated me to lunch and I managed to bend her ear for 3 hours. We changed my plans to go to Venice and to return for the annual Bardolino airshow. I was to stay with Amy for 3 days then go to Venice, that way I wouldn’t have to rush back from Venice and possibly miss the airshow. Simona had some friends staying over and had some things to do, so she pointed me in the right direction for the supermarket and we arranged to meet the following evening. I bought pasta, water, bread, jam and orange juice. The supermarket was on 2 floors which confused me, so shopping took a little longer than expected. I eventually headed back to my tent where I listened to music on my mp3 player and made some pasta for my tea. I listened to music until my mp3 player battery went flat then I went to sleep.
I woke at 07:30 made coffee and swapped my blogging software from blogger to WordPress as the blogger app kept crashing when I attached photos and I’d lose all my blog. I had bread and jam for breakfast, twice. I noticed Mat my camping neighbour didn’t use panniers, he just tied everything to his bike. That gave me an idea to redistribute the weight on my bike. I had previously packed my tent away wet and filthy so it had started to get mould on it, I bought some bleach and washed all my gear before putting it back on the bike. I rearranged all the gear on the bike, I tied my sleeping mat and sleeping bag to the front forks and my hammock to handle bars. I then packed up the rest of my gear and went to the campsite cafe to upload some video. The internet was so slow I had 2 coffee’s, a chicken burger, cornetto and a can of sprite. The video was only 36% uploaded so I gave up.
I cycle out of the campsite in gorgeous sunshine along the edge of lake Garda back to the catullo bar for another coffee, a plug socket and better Wi-Fi. It was nearly 17:00 and I wanted something to eat but didn’t want a big meal as I was going to meet up with Amy and Simona for dinner later in the evening. I looked at the menu and the margarita pizza looked to be the best value for money and the picture on the menu looked good. What I was served looked more like burnt cheese on toast, the topping was so thin it was almost transparent and most likely wouldn’t register on a micrometer. I cut a thin slice to taste and it was awful. I concluded that this pizza had started life frozen and ended its life in a microwave. I called the waiter over and complain in particular that what was sat on the plate in front of me had no resemblance to the imagery on the menu. He was apologetic but said that they were a bar not a pizzeria. I showed him the picture on the menu and told him if he could bring me a pizza that looked the same I would be happy. He told me he couldn’t do that, I asked for another dish, the waiter had to go and check with his boss. The reply was hilarious, of course I could have another dish but would still have to pay for the excuse of a pizza. I refused, he went back to his boss returning with the news that the pizza would be deleted, I decided just to pay for my coffee and leave.
I went to bar Pegus and ordered a beer and got stung for 5.00 Euros, I sat and waited for Amy. We headed to a lovely restaurant on the quayside, had spaghetti and a desert which was delivered on a huge plate but the dessert was perched in one corner, it was so small it wouldn’t fill a fly. Cost €16 ouch! We were joined by Simona and we took part in the traditional Italian evening stroll along the shore of lake Garda to Simona’s push bike so she could cycle back to Bardolino.
Staying with Amy was a real treat especially as I had access to a washing machine, I put some clothes in before heading off to explore Garda some more. Amy had recommended walking to the top of a mountain to see the views across lake, Garda and Bardolino. I was told it would only take 30 minutes, it took me that just to find the steps. The walk was tough to say the least, maybe I had gone the wrong way! I met other people, some coming down and others going the same way so I must be on the right track. A couple coming down told me the views were amazing and I was only 5 minutes from the top. I was sweating, thirsty and needed the loo, I had no water and worst no toilet tissue, I’d perfected the, finding an ideal toilet spot in the wild but this would be the first time I would need to know what leaves work or wouldn’t sting, I selected badly and ouch it stung. I passed caves and as I got higher the lake was visible in front of me, the hike was worth it but I now need to find some sudacream for my arse. The views over both Garda and Bardolino are amazing, Garda curves around a bay and is protected by mountains which are lush forest, Bardolino stretches along the edge of the lake off to my left Garda on the right. I’m thinking about my budget and at what point I’ll run out of money. The girls are also talking about their winter placements, I couldn’t decide whether to stop the adventure to top up the funds or keep going. I posted on Facebook and a few suggested I continue which would be okay if they sent £100 each. It’s not the riding or the time alone, its expensive. I emailed placements for a position, so will let them decide.
It was good to see Amy, Lara and Simona in Italy but my momentum has stopped and getting on the road again will be tough. I’m also spending far too much, although my bed is free I’m eating out when I should be cooking. On the last night Amy cooked a lovely meal, it was her speciality of Chinese food with her expertly prepared egg fried rice, we followed it by going out for a stroll and ice cream. In Garda square was a celebration and a military band was playing, they were awful and out of tune (see video).
Today is the day of the airshow and it was Meh! I should have just cycled to Verona, Bardolino was packed with thousands of people. It was hot and sunny, whoever planned the event should have taken into account that all the spectators would be looking into the sun and the aircraft would just be silhouettes with engine noises. Amy and I walked from Garda to Bardolino which took 45 minutes along the edge of lake Garda, we were just following the crowds, some people were still cycling along the path on the edge of the lake, dodging others on foot. It seems that you just ring your bell and the people who were walking just step out-of-the-way, I wondered if Moses had a bicycle bell. We walked the full length of Bardolino promenade, then came back to the lifeboat house where we found a patch of grass to sit on. Everyone around us was better prepared for the event, there were picnic baskets, food and drink all around us. We had picnic envy so decided to go and find some provisions, there was a little Italian shop just off the main square which no doubt was having one of its busiest days. The shelves were nearly empty and the had run out of baguettes and could only offer dried ham sandwiches on stale bread. We bought 2 boxes of pringles, water and 2 mozzarella balls.
We walked back to our adopted patch of grass but didn’t stay long as Simona was with the Bardolino crystal team in a bar on the other side of town, we went to find them. Following a further two “where are you” phone calls we found them sat under parasols outside a really nice restaurant. A rep called Ray commented that I had made my journey across Europe wearing rose-coloured glasses, of course spec savers had cocked up my glasses order before my trip and I didn’t have time to wait for the correct lenses. I didn’t stop in the bar long as I had stayed in Garda for 5 days longer than I should so went to watch the show even though it was a bit rubbish. There was a jaguar display which was half decent, at least it was the loudest and I can’t fly a jaguar any better. The finale was the Belgium equivalent to the red arrows, there are 10 of them not 9 like the red arrows but 1 constantly performed on his own. The crowd went wild over their display creating a good atmosphere.
Lara had managed to get to Bardolino in time, it was good to see her again even if it was only for a short time. Amy and I walked back to Garda and Amy suggested I leave the following morning as the roads would be busy, a very good idea as I wasn’t sure how long it would take me to cycle to Verona. That night Amy cooked up a lovely pasta dish and we went for the compulsory Italian evening stroll followed by of course the now compulsory Italian ice cream.
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