Italy, Love… it will always be one of our favorite country. (13-17 August)

Although at first when we arrived, after a long drive to lake Garda, we were exhausting. We drove over 600 km. On the way, we were trying to find a place to eat, but it seems that all the pizzerias were closed before noon. Finally, we found one in a small town. The waitresses greeted us with Italian (like in most of the place here, people do not speak English a lot). We knew right away that we will order Calzone, it is our favorite pizza in the world and Jaanus’ favorite food of all. Calzone is basically a closed pizza – it is super juicy and therefore also much tastier than regular pizza.

Like said, we first went to the Lake Garda, a small town called Sirmione because it was almost directly on our way to Genova. When we arrived in Sirmione, it was raining, so the city looked a little bit sad. We took a quick swim in the lake and the people around us were probably considering us crazy. Although it had been raining, for us it was still warm, but everyone else had raincoats on. Sirmione and the lake itself were nice, but for us, again – a little bit too touristy. We would have preferred something quieter. We drove around the city and found a nice parking place for the night. This evening was also our record distance to walk for finding a toilet. We found on google maps that there is a gas station in 900 meters. If we arrived there, we found out that Google had tricked us…. so we needed to walk back. In total 2 km to get to the toilet – our bladders are trained quite well already.

Most of the nice hiking trails and nature parks near Lake Garda are more at the north of the lake, which would be a half day drive. We needed to drive south to reach Genoa by the 14th, so we decided not to stay longer by the lake and rather visit Verona for a couple of hours. This paid off. Verona for us was one of the most beautiful cities on the earth. Although it was raining AGAIN, the city could still impress us. There is something magical in the Italian cities…

We took the direction toward old town and walked on the narrow streets of Verona.. almost got lost – on purpose 🙂

We knew that Verona was the home of Romeo and Juliet, so we were looking for their houses. Romeo’s house seemed to be in private ownership – so we could not see inside the yard of it. But Juliet house surprised us, because when we found the place, there were masses of people – everyone looking at the thousands of love letters written on the wall. This was sooo magical. We certainly wanted to leave a mark as well, but we did not have either a pen or paper. In the end Kaija just took one page out of a book she was reading and a nice lady lent us a pen after Kaija not soo successfully tried to write with an eyeliner on the paper. We used a medical plaster to hang the note on the wall. After we had made tons of pictures of Juliet, her Balcony and ourselves, the rain was basically pouring. We did not mind much, because the aura of this city was just something special. We continued to walk in the old town and stopped for a coffee and tea in a typical Italian cafeteria. Unfortunately, the time was not our friend also this time, so we took the direction toward Genova.

Mari, was waiting for us by the apartment she organized for our stay. Mari is an old friend who has lived in Italy for over 3 years. She was hosting us during our stay. As we probably had assumed, the stay with Mari did involve a lot of great food and wine 🙂 The first evening, Mari cooked us traditional Genova pasta, pasta el pesto. The simplest pasta to cook that we have ever seen, but probably also one of the tastiest. Later in the evening, we had a walk to the old town and we sat by the sea to watch the starts falling. We managed to see at least 3 – must be lucky. On our way back to the apartment, Kaija felt terribly ill – it might have been because of the steep uphill street, or because of the amounts of food and wine that we had consumed. Finally, we got back to the apartment and the next morning we both needed to drink a lot of water 🙂

15th of August is a national holiday in Italy. Mari had also a day off from work and she drove us to a beach near Genova, to Camogli. Because of the sleeping in the morning, we arrived there quite late, so it was almost impossible to find a parking space. In the end, when we managed to park, we took the SUP board and jumped into the water right away. We had loads of fun on the board and falling off as well 😀  The view from the beach was so picturistic. Mari told us that since the Italians want everything to be symmetrical so if there was no window or balcony next to another, they have painted windows and balconies on the walls. So from the distance, you would not make a difference, whether it is a house painted beautiful or it actually is.

Kaija on the SUP board… watch out, someone is approaching.

In the evening we walked to the Genova old town and harbor. Mari showed us where the famous architect hid a little sculpture of his dog in a church wall to always remember his dog who had died. She showed us the best place to buy the gelato in town – which indeed it was. Next, we had a late aperitivo and called it the night because the next day 5Terre was waiting for us.

About our trip to 5Terre, you can read in separate post. (click here)

On our last evening in Genova, Mari still hosted us with delicious pasta with mussels and tomatoes. Again 3 bottles of wine were included in the dinner.. I think in Italy, it is just impossible otherwise because a decent bottle of wine in a shop is less than 3 euros… I think if we had stayed longer, then we could not have left anymore due to being addicted to the cheap wine.

To summarize, Italy did not surprise us that much since we had been to Italy before (we got engaged during our trip from Rome to Venice back in 2015), and we knew already that we both just adore Italy, the food, nature, and people. This time, Mari made it really special for us, so a big thanks for Mari and her friend Kirsika who allowed us to stay at her fabulous apartment with a huge balcony. Italy will probably be forever our favorite.

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