The last stop on our Italian roadtrip was Lake Garda. An interesting choice, but one I was pushed toward via an internet friend, Mrs. Carousel from Weddingbee. Shortly after she was announced as a new writer for the site, I sent her an email asking if she’d be interested in giving me some advice regarding our trip planning. She didn’t just write back with a sentence or two, she put together a multi-page spreadsheet with itinerary, suggested budget, aguriturismo suggestions, transportation options, and more. It was hands-down one of the nicest things a complete stranger has ever done for me.
Because she loved Lake Garda so much, and because I like the idea of travelling and experiencing places that a local loves, we decided to end our trip in the town of Garda. We had plans to do a day trip to Venice, go see some ruins, do some trips around the lake on a boat, but TH’s hurt leg had us largely confined to our room and the area around the hotel.
My favorite part of this location was when I accidentally bumped into Mrs. Carousel on her wedding day! We were eating breakfast in the hotel lobby the morning after we arrived when a woman walked up and asked if I was a writer for Weddingbee. I was stunned when she told me that she was Carousel’s wedding planner and that Carousel would be arriving shortly from the hair salon. She wasn’t just staying in the same hotel, we were literally staying in rooms adjacent to each other! Somehow, the bride-to-be and I had managed to book the exact same hotel for the weekend, without even knowing it. I found out when she would be arriving, and went over to surprise her and say hello. It was so fun!
She was waiting for her mom to get there before stepping into her dress, and after we talked for a few minutes (and got over the shock of seeing each other in person!) she was kind enough to invite us to the ceremony and cocktail hour held later that afternoon. The ceremony wouldn’t work with our schedule, but I sheepishly agreed to stop by at some point, feeling a little bit like a wedding crasher. Ha!
We decided to say hello at the cocktail hour, held at a hotel that was just a few minutes drive from our place. It was located right next to one of those medevial times type places (yes, they have those in Italy as well!) and while the bride and groom were away doing portraits, we witnessed a sword fight intended to convince all of us that we simply must come over and pay a few euros to see who the victor would be (none of us were swayed).
Carousel’s dress was custom made. Why does it feel like everything is better in Europe? My SIL’s dress was custom made as well!
The bride and groom. I wanted a better picture of the two of them together, but I was already crashing the wedding and didn’t want to cross the line into crazy-blogger-obsessed-with-pictures. They were happy and adorable together, and we spent a few minutes talking with the groom, who was very kind.
The photo on the left is of the hotel where the cocktail hour took place.
After we left the wedding party we spent some time strolling slowly around Garda. It’s a very tourist oriented place, with restaurants placing sandwich boards filled with English and pictures of menu items out front, and a fun little shopping area with all sorts of cheap shops selling scarves and shoes.
We ended our first night there with some time spent watching the sunset from the dock, which I personally think is the best thing to do in this area.
Fancy a boot charter?
The next day, Sunday, was our last full day in Italy. We slept in, ate lunch by the water, and relaxed.
Monday we packed up the car (TH wanted me to take a picture of our smart car filled with luggage so those of you curious about renting would have a reference point for how much it can fit), drove down to Modena for a meal at a highly acclaimed restaurant (I’ll write about that later), and flew out of Bologna later that evening.
Lake Garda was certainly a beautiful area, but I’d only recommend it for a certain type of traveler. It’s definitely geared toward tourists, so finding an authentic meal was difficult (we had to walk to the edge of town for a dinner that one of the shop clerks recommended). If you’re German, or like the German language or German food, this is an excellent area of Italy to go to (the signs outside of the restaurants were in German, English, and Italian). I wish now that we had drive over to Venice for the day like we originally planned, but we just weren’t feeling up to it at the time.
I think we would have had more exciting things to say if we weren’t dealing with injury, and if it wasn’t so foggy/cloudy while we were there. I was expecting views more like this, but that isn’t really what we got. Food, as always, is a determining factor for whether I will give a location my stamp of approval, and I wasn’t wowed by what I found here (as I said, it’s heavily geared toward tourists). I don’t regret ending our trip this way though. It was relaxing and beautiful and a really lovely way to end a trip I’ve been daydreaming about my entire life.