Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Italy: How to Become a Belligerent Italian Behind the Wheel, and Finally - Hello Sirmione!

For our last day in Italy we took the early morning fast train from Venice to Verona. In Verona we picked up our rental car and drove to Lake Garda which is less than an hour’s drive. We want some relaxation and nature for our last days and what better way to spend our lunch in Sirmione in Lake Garda.

This is Sirmione in Lake Garda. The medieval fortification, the Scaliger Castle (from the Lords of Verona) that once fell under the Austrians. The castle dates back to the 13th century.

Sirmione is an elongated peninsula jutting out of the mainland to the lake. Located in Brescia province, already part of Veneto’s bordering region, Lombardy, this little town, like its neighbouring sisters Desenzano and Peschiera, are very popular thus unbearably touristy. We didn’t expect the horrible chain of traffic we’ve come upon after exiting the highway. Cars were manic on the road, as well as this was my first introduction to the Italian contemptuous way of driving.

Now, I’ll expound a little bit on this Italian way of driving because this experience has totally made me furious my blood pressure levels rose to boiling point I was about to explode the Eyjafjallajokull way (okay, who can actually pronounce this? lol ).

OK I’ll be forthright—I am gob smacked to witness the large number of Italians short in driving etiquette. If they were to take a driving exam in the Netherlands, many would have flunked. I would have thought the Filipino drivers back in Manila were worse but many Italian drivers are not only ignoring you, like most bus and jeepney drivers do in the Philippines when they cut you head on, they are casually aggressive and extremely zealous! You can see them raising their hands frantically up in the air and should the car windows are down, you could probably hear them scream, ‘Merda!’ or ‘Cazzo!!!’ while sneering at you. What about the honking, the tailgating, driving above the required speed limit and harassing a pedestrian on a zebra path? HELLO!? I am having a heart attack now.

When someone gets aggressive with me on the road, what do I do? Answer: An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Pronto! LOL

Our last left of the holiday: Verona to Sirmione. After Sirmione we will go to Valpolicella nearby. We actually flew into Venice, then from Venice we took the train to Verona.

Anyhow before I get further deeper into this traffic duel, let me tell you that Sirmione is a lovely town! Gosh, this peninsula town is beautiful.

But it looked like everyone had the same plan in mind that day; Sirmione was very busy. It was an Easter Monday, a national holiday, and with the beautiful weather, the herd of locals flocked to their beloved Lago di Garda. It took us almost an hour from the highway exit to get to Sirmione town proper when that would have taken us under 10 minutes on a normal day.

Here are my pictures of Sirmione:

The 13th century Scaliger Castle.

They have HUGE lemons here in Italy.

Moi standing on the street going to Il Grifone Hotel & Restaurant where we had lunch. 

Sirmione is beautiful and very colourful.

We had some gelato after lunch as we went around exploring the town.

Sirmione on Lake Garda: You can see the Alps is the far distance.

Next blog post: Our scrumptious LUNCH in Sirmione!

Travel Period: April 2010
Destination: Sirmione (Brescia - Lombardy), Italy

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