Italy….Lakeside to Countryside!

I left the camp thinking I won’t see mountains or terrain like this again on the trip! I’m sure there will be some like it, but nothing can compare to it…… right?

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There is a sense of attachment you get when you get comfortable with your surroundings and just when I’m comfortable in a country, I leave! It’s that sense of wonder that grabs me. I enjoy the challenge of figuring out new people and culture.

Packing and unpacking have become easier. The placement, the tie down, all is working the way I want it too. I just need it to not be moving around while I’m riding. I’ve also got it packed in a way, where I can lean back, put my legs up on the crash bars and recline! I don’t have picture 🙂

As I ride in new countries, the signs change, the color of peoples skin changes, and there driving habits are what they are. For example, Italy, much like their personalities, drive fast, and sometimes erratic. Mind you this is only a certain percentage. I’m certainly not saying Italians are erratic. Physically their gestures, with the hands, and their animated body movement reflects in their driving. At least thats my interpretation.

The street signs actually don’t mean much to me, stay within the lines of the LAW :), and manage the roundabouts. In switzerland you cannot travel around traffic. They are very strict there. In italy you go where you want, as long as you don’t cause an accident.
As I made my way down, I looked at the Navigation and it showed me traveling through a lake…hmmm, there must be a bridge! Nope! As soon I made it to the end of the road, it just said ferry! How Cool?! We don’t have drive on ferries where I come from. Once I navigated where to purchase a ticket , I made it on.

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I tried to record it on my Go-pro, but of course, my battery died just as I was entering the ferry….Nice work Sinan!!!!!

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Taking a ride on the ferry was nice, I can’t remember the name of the lake , but it was beautiful. Ahhhh..Of course Lago Maggiore, I just had to look back at google maps! This is about where I contemplated staying on the lake. I want to to camp, but where? There has to be something somewhere.

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After getting off I rode around the lake and saw a swimming sign, at the very least I’ll take a dip. So I stopped and found a little area with a cafe/pizzeria sign. So I sat and google mapped campsites. Didn’t actually swim, just researched!

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It turns out most of the campsites are around $50-$75….you know what…. forget it! I found a hotel in the main area of the port for $64. Perfect! An old hotel next to the water sounds good to me.

I arrived and walked in cautiously! I’ve been known to walk into a place with an owner mentality and it’s gotten me in trouble before. Those who i’ve known for years know what I’ m talking about:).
Like most hotels i’ve been to over seas, their older and smaller. Smaller stairways, smaller elevators, but in the case of this one it had its own garage. One that is similar to single family homes.

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My first night in italy and it was a beautiful small town ( Laveno-Mombello) with it’s own small marina.

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It’s definitely off the tourist path, if the preferred choice is too ferry here, instead of driving.
The next morning I anticipated leaving and then decided I’d stay one more night after not finding a place,and not really knowing where to go? I have italy at my fingertips. Point and click, where ever I want to go. So it is kind of tough.

I stayed in town and after researching where I was going to stay, I decided to head to the nearest beach!

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The only shorts I have right now are what Eric gave me back in Moab!  Camo! I have to buy new ones but have resisted shopping! Why do I only have one pair of shorts? Because I left the sack at home…. YUP!

I toured parts of the town and stumbled into this historic Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso (Italian: Eremo di Santa Caterina del Sasso) it’s a Roman Catholic monastery

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The construction of the monastery dates from the 14th century, although the more recent frescos (It’s a technique of mural painting executed upon freshly-laid, or wet lime plaster) are from the 19th century. It consists of three buildings: the southern convent, the convent and the main church. In 1914 it was declared a national monument.

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The weather was humid, so I toured around on the motorcycle. Just having the wind was refreshing but I felt like I needed to just chill out somewhere, even farther off the beaten path and I found an even smaller lake side town (Calde)

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I dig the vibe as this little restaurant and guest house hotel was playing some blues……and as it turns out the guy sitting down, in the picture below, behind the guy standing up, is the owner.  Can’t see him but I’m sure he would want it that way ;)! He plays with his band there and is treated as a sort of, godfather, around Calde. It was funny to watch as people would come up and kiss his hand, and everyone walking by would acknowledge him. I know because I sat here for 5 hours!

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No one spoke english except one of the waitresses, nadia, she lived in australia for a while and then came back home. I talked to her for a little a bit and I told her home town is beautiful and has a great vibe, she said, “As long as your not working!!” 🙂

I also had one of the best meals that I can remember, since starting on the trip. Fantastic food. A steak with polenta that I savored! I should of stayed in this hidden gem (Calde) longer.

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My last night in this area with a good meal, a good vibe, and I was ready for the rest of italy!

Here is the thing, I’m in a place where all I have to do is ask myself is what do I feel like doing? Big city sight seeing? Or small city sight seeing? So I opted for small, I want to feel the backroads of italy kind of place. So much so, I chose campinmygarden.com. A site where you can camp in peoples back yard. Anyone can host, within reason of course, and anyone can sign up to camp.

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I chose the first camp in my garden in Italy. Ricardo’s and Sonia’s in Monzambano! It’s a small town and if you ride too fast you’ll miss it. I did! My phone had died, and I was navigating what I could remember off the map. I couldn’t find it and was hot!!!! It took me a half an hour, and I finally found their place. It was in a residential area, of course, surrounded by small farm lands and vineyards.
As soon as I pull in first thing I see is an older italian lady sweeping her front porch. You know the type, and she was sweeping a concrete porch that looked as if it was poured hundred years ago. Sonia met me outside and immediately showed me where to camp.

 

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They have a small garden with roosters and a neighbor with a donkey:) It was a nice spot tucked behind some bushes.

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I thought perfect, exactly what I was looking for. Minus the extreme heat!
After setting up camp, I got the info on what to do and where to  go. All I wanted was a gallon of water a pizza and a beer……I have feeling the pizza is going to be my nemesis, Restaurante Pizzeria’s are EVERYWHERE!!!!!!

Posting up in Monzambano is going to allow me to do few things tour two towns Verona, Mantua, and enjoy a simple backroad area most wouldn’t go to unless they knew someone.

The next morning I woke up in my own little Teepee Sauna, a donkey Heehawing and the roosters crowing. It was both annoying and something that just made me laugh every morning I woke up. They were in unison, the rooster would crow then the valley’s rooster would crow, then the donkey would sing. I should of recorded it. It didn’t actually bother me that much, I found it funny and part of the whole experience.

I decided I would tour Verona, Italy that morning,  although it was hot, I didn’t want to waste the day lounging around. Navigating to Verona was not as hard as you would think. Just remember the Numbers of the roads and the towns in between and you should be fine without a map.

As I rolled in the first thing I stumbled upon was the coliseum…

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I rode right up to it, right in the middle of town. The best part about a motorcycle in europe   is the ease in which you can move around. Park almost anywhere up close and get in an out  without a lot of hassle!

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I didn’t go in the lines were crazy but this one is preserved much better then Romes, so much so they still have events there as they were preparing for a festival of shows int he next couple weeks.Here is an image off the internet for those who are curious.

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I found most of the spots of interest including juliets balcony…..but my first stop there the lines were out of control, I hate lines!  DSC_0960

So I came back later and got a picture just like everyone else…

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Oh Juliet!!! Your Romeo is here! Ha! Hardly!

I dint know what this wall was but it looked old and a lot of the tours were stopping at  it so i took a picture…….

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I also toured Castelvecchio (Italian: “Old Castle”) it’s a castle in Verona, northern Italy. It is the most important military construction of the Scaliger dynasty that ruled the city in the Middle Ages.

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I toured the Basilica di San Zeno (also known as San Zeno Maggiore or San Zenone) is a minor basilica of Verona, Northern Italy. Its fame rests partly on its architecture and partly upon the tradition that its crypt was the place of the marriage of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

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There is an even older church beneath this one Since 921, the crypt has housed the body of St. Zeno in a sarcophagus, his face covered by a silver mask.

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No-one was in this church below and it felt very eery with all the artifacts that date back to the 9th century!

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Verona was nice mix of history, but it was small enough to tour most main tourist attractions in half a day. As I was heading out and walking past the coliseum these two guys were walking past me with their scooters…

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We talked and they said they’ve been riding from Germany and are heading for the Eastern italian coast. It’s nice to chat with like minded adventurers as there trip might be a step further in adventure then mine. I’m not sure they get 50 miles before they need gas. Luckily these scooters have pedals. I have there names on my phone but since my phone is currently broke i’ll edit it in later :).

After a high five and pre-congratulations for our Awesome adventures, they said what I’ve said all along when people ask me, why I’m doing this? Why not!?

I have more of Italy to show you but for now I’ll leave it at that. I’m enjoying the energy of Italy and it’s people. Their infectious high strung personalities make me want to see everything, but I do have to sleep too!

6 comments

  • ahhh good start to my day reading this. i love your perspective and attitude. so happy for you

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  • Looks like your having a blast, Scott. You’re so courageous and adventurous to take on a trip like this. Awesome! Will see you soon.

    Like

  • Beautiful locations!

    Laughing at steaming tent, donkeys and rooster moment, very Hauli. Swap the donkey and rooster for Jackasses and Finns. Ha.

    Keep the updates coming and be safe!

    Like

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