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Limone on Lake Garda at night
The church is San Benedetto and the bright lights reflecting on the water are from Piazza Garibaldi
Limone on Lake Garda
with the mountains behind
Malcesine in the distance seen from Limone across Lake Garda
Malcesine across the water seen from a hill above Limone
Lemons in the Limonaia del Castel in Limone
Twilight poolside at the Hotel Royal Village
Limone old town shop windows
The Municipio or Town Hall in Limone is a restored villa. The jasmine over the pergola smells amazing but it’s not so good if you have hay fever!
Evening. Small boats in the tiny Porto Vecchio (old port) in Limone. We watched a boat like these paying out fishing nets in Lake Garda after dark
Porto Vecchio (the Old Port) in Limone soon after dark
Shops and hotels on Via Porto at the Porto Vecchio waterfront. The Hotel Monte Baldo is at the right edge of the picture
Piazza Garibaldi in Limone, seen from Lake Garda. You can see the church of San Benedetto behind at the left
Olive trees are everywhere round Lake Garda. This shop in Malcesine produces and sells olive oil though the mill shown is not used now
The harbour at Malcesine
The Mantova, one of the passenger boats on Lake Garda coming in to Limone
Grounds of Hotel Royal Village in Limone. Hazy Lake Garda in the distance
La Milanesa on the hill above Limone. Great location if you want the hills and mountains of the national park
Twilight poolside at the Hotel Royal Village in Limone. The mountains are on the other side of the lake
Beautiful gardens in the houses on the hill above Limone
Dog walking, Lake Garda style. We saw this lady and her dog while we waited for the bus in Desenzano
Harebells on the hillside above Limone
One of the outdoor pools at Hotel Royal Village in Limone. They also have an indoor pool
Another view of the marina
It rained when we were in Riva, especially on our boat trip from Limone, but it still looked mystical and magical
Even on a rainy day Riva is beautiful. Hopefully, before too long, we’ll be able to get back there when the weather’s beautiful too!
The Marina at Riva under the shadow of the mountain
Evening in Limone. This is the beginning of the waterfront promenade called Lungolago Marconi
The limonaia or lemon house at Villa Boghi in Limone sul Garda.
Villa Boghi has a colourful past and is now the Town Hall
Another view from Riva del Garda at the head of the lake, looking South
Riva bus station. It lies at the northern end of the town. Buses run as far as the suburbs of Milan but not Milan city centre
Alpine Gentian on Monte Baldo. If you can identify which species please email me
Grape vine and wonderful, vibrant window boxes in Malcesine. It makes such a difference when people make an effort!
Outdoor seating in the square on the waterfront in Malcesine
Geraniums (pelargoniums) on a balcony in Malcesine
There’s a huge variation on landscape in a small area, from the gently undulating south to mountains in the north
Primulas growing on the alpine meadow on Monte Baldo
Cable car on the slopes of Monte Baldo. Between station 1, halfway up, and station 2 the car slowly rotates.
Paragliders flying from Monte Baldo above Malcesine. The Dolomite Mountains beyond merge into the Alps
“Municipio” the town hall or municipal building in Malcesine
Sailing boat moored at the quay in Malcesine
Paddle steamer at Riva del Garda
Long wait for the cable car but the flowers were beautiful. This was by the cable car station
Looking eastwards from Monte Baldo in Italy
Gardens at Riva with the mountains beyond. It was misty and damp when we visited, but still beautiful
Looking down Lake Garda from Riva which lies right at the top
Sometimes rain can improve the colours for a photographer. Sadly, in Riva we had enough rain to discourage taking photos
Riva del Garda, looking down the lake. It is at the North end, right at the top of the lake
Riva, at the top of the lake, nestled under the mountain
You can walk along the edge of the lake from Bardolino to Garda itself
The Municipio in Garda on the edge of the lake
Garda itself. We loved this beautiful town on the south east edge of the lake
Restaurant in the square in Garda, right at the edge of the water
With high hills behind and the lake in front there are few large open spaces in the town of Garda
Small boats moored at Garda
It seems that, in Garda itself, they particularly like the English. There are plenty of good places to eat too; this is at the edge of the water
Olive trees and cypresses on the hillside at Bardolino
We found the area round Bardolino a beautiful place to walk
Cypresses and olive trees around the pool at Bardolino
Olive trees and cypresses on the hillside above Bardolino
Sunset at Bardolino
View over the olive groves on the hillside down to Bardolino. The apartments are Le Tre Caravelle, The Three Ships
The swimming pool at Le Tre Caravelle apartments on the hill above Bardolino
Picture postcard alley in Riva
Cable car coming up from Malcesine. It goes over 5000 feet up Monte Baldo in two stages
During a break in the rain in Riva
The rain in Riva seemed to intensify the colours. It rained so hard we holed up in a coffee bar drinking coffee and eating cake!
Lazise with its distinctive chequerboard paving
Mid afternoon at Lazise. It’s a beautiful old town, peaceful and understated
Jetty on the lake near the small town of Garda
Shortly before sunset over the lake
Ducklings and their mum
Late evening.This picture was taken from the town of Garda itself
It was raining in Riva del Garda but it enhanced the colours
Alliums and lemon trees with Lake Garda and Malcesine in the distance. Taken from the limonaia at the Comboni Mission above Limone
Caged canaries singing in the pretty Piazza Don Quirico Turazza in Malcesine
Geraniums and grape vines decorate many of the homes and bars
Tall mountains rise behind Riva del Garda
Narrow street down to the lake in Malcesine
Late May and the weather round Lake Garda was improving. My sister in Berlin had made bookings for us at the Hotel Royal Village in Limone on Lake Garda; full board, all meals included with coffee, juices, lemonade and cola, red and white wine on tap. We had to make our own travel arrangements and had booked flights with Easyjet, Gatwick to Malpensa, one of the airports serving Milan. On the Web I’d researched train and bus connections in Italy including, if necessary, boat timetables up Lake Garda to Limone. Before we left we received a full travel itinerary from Berlin, right down to the timetable for the LN027 bus from Desenzano, up the West side of Lake Garda, to Limone and the boat times and prices in case we missed the bus. My sister is an expert at looking after people. Our biggest problem had been persuading her and her husband to let us pay for the hotel booking. We haven’t managed yet. Quite why she felt responsible for the weather in Italy escapes me but she was relieved when it improved. Maybe we all need a sister like her.
Greedy for an extra day in our holiday we’d booked an early flight from Gatwick with check in opening at 5:15. Jac and I had our daughter Bry and her friend Cat with us and no one slept much. Up at 3:30 our old Volvo started without a problem. It had been playing up recently. Bry hates it; calls it a wardrobe on wheels. I guess image is important when you’re 15. Our flight was on time and uneventful and the airline staff were friendly. No frills, but I find it hard to understand those who pay £25 for the flight and then complain at the lack of a meal.
The two hour flight and the hour change brought us into Milan Malpensa airport at about 10:15. With Milan you can fly into Malpensa or Linate. Malpensa is a long way from the city centre and it’s a bus connection, not a train. Our Web research suggested the Malpensa Shuttle Pullman or Pullman Shuttle, depending on which Web page you find. It’s a bus, not a train, and tickets are available on the bus or from an office in the airport Arrivals Hall. Since we’d had to wait for Cat’s case after the luggage carousel jammed, we went straight to the bus “near parkings in front of Arrival doors”. We had a tight connection at Milano Centrale and didn’t want to miss it.
The first bus had gone and the second was giving priority to people who’d already bought tickets. I raced back inside, found the Malpensa Shuttle office (Arrivals at Malpensa Terminal 2 is only tiny) and asked in Italian for four tickets: “Quattro bigliette per Milano Stazione Centrale, per favore.” (I don’t guarantee my Italian.) I asked, now in English, whether there was an additional charge for baggage. She assured me it was all in, 7 euros each. Back at the bus I gave the man our tickets to find there were only 2 places left. We waited another 20 minutes for the 11:10 bus, loaded our luggage in the hold, stamped our tickets in the machine as we got on and found seats.
On the bus we looked again at our schedules. If we were going to catch the 1:30 bus from Desenzano up Lake Garda to Limone we needed to catch the 12:05 fast train from Milan Central. The timetable suggested the shuttle bus would take 40 minutes, allowing us only 15 minutes to get into the station with our luggage, find the ticket office, buy tickets (seat reservations are required on fast trains), find the train and our specific seats. That’s where the stress kicks in. I started to get knotted up inside but it soon became apparent we would never make that train. Missing the train meant missing the bus up the lake to Limone, with the next bus 5 hours later and the girls already tired. We looked at plan B.
If we could catch the next slow train at 12:15 we would get into Desenzano at 13:38, 8 minutes too late for the bus but maybe in time to catch the 14:15 fast boat up Lake Garda to Limone. Two hours and €13.10 each and we’d be at our hotel by 4:30 in the afternoon. But the bus to Milan Central Station stopped twice en route and took well over an hour so the time pressure was off.
As the bus drove into Milan we saw no road signs at all for the station but when the bus eventually stopped everyone got off and we followed the crowd.
The outside of the station was undergoing major refurbishment and closed off with tall hoardings but we followed a series of signs pasted onto the hoardings and found our way in. The next train was the fast IC Plus at 13:05 and the ticket clerk spoke some English. One ticket, one way, with reserved seats for 4 people, seats 52, 54, 56, 58, costing 44 euros. We didn’t need to rush. The boards showed that the 13:05 to Desenzano was the train to Udine from platform 8 “Binario 8”. Milan Central is a huge, imposing station, high roofed with all the platforms running from one concourse. It looks the part.
Air conditioned, it seems, means air conditioned when the engines are running. Carriage 8 was sweltering. Somehow Italian grannies manage to look cool and elegant in cardigans and jackets but I guess they hadn’t run ¼ of a mile. I only needed to check to see how the doors opened and then we could relax. This is not as silly as it sounds. Last time we were in Italy, 4 adults, 4 children and some over-
Desenzano at 14:15 and the Hotel Royal Village in Limone sul Garda still seemed remote. The girls were tired and wanted a break. The bus timetable didn’t look promising but I went into the small shop and coffee bar in the corner of the station to ask where the bus stop was. This sounds easy and we have found the Italians unfailingly kind and helpful when we’re out of our depth. Sadly, some of us carry emotional baggage from childhood and I am still resistant to asking directions, even in English. Partly it’s a man thing; women seem quite happy to ask for directions while men will walk hundreds of yards looking, and reading every available sign, to avoid the need to ask...
My anxieties are deeper rooted. I grew up with an innate belief that asking for help was in some way risky. My parents, both continental Europeans arriving in England as teenagers after the war had, perhaps, more reason to be cautious and fearful. But perhaps for them too it was simple embarrassment. Either way it passed down a generation!
...In the coffee shop at Desenzano Station I start with a simple question in Italian. “Scusi, parla inglese per favore?”
“No” she replies. That word is identical in both languages. Thankfully she carries on and offers German, “Deutsch?”
“Ja, gut” I say. This is hopeful. I grew up speaking some German as a child, Kinderdeutsch, children’s German. I’m sure if I’d known no German we’d have still managed. The bus stop is 50 metres up the road on the same side and I can buy the tickets from her but there’s no bus up Lake Garda to Limone for another 4 hours. There is a bus part way, to Gargnano, at 3:30 so we make a decision. Bry and Cat are tired and we’ll take the Gargnano bus and grab a taxi from there. Four tickets, 3 euros each. It seems cheap even though in Italy children over 12 pay full fare.
We’ve got an hour and across the roundabout from the station there’s a shop that looks promising. This time Jac asks. She speaks almost no Italian or German and only a little French but that won’t stop her. She’ll point and mime if need be. English works and the girls are soon supplied with what the Italians call a “sandwich”, long rolls packed, in this case, with cheese and ham, lettuce and tomato. Ice creams, drinks and punnets of strawberries and the world seems a better place...
You can find more about our holiday by visiting our Limone page
Jac and I would love to be able to travel more in Italy and I'd love to take more photos. Holidays provide the perfect opportunity but for the time being the day job has to take priority. We run a small company servicing, fault-
In what remains of his spare time Paul has also started to put together a guide to shower types, gravity showers and power showers which is at powershowerguide.com
It's still in a rudimentary state but will hopefully soon have more technical information provided by shower manufacturers.
And then there's lovekin.net, a web site where we record some of the fault-