DSC_4152.jpg One of the delights of a holiday in Italy or France is the early morning trip to the bakery to gather the raw materials for breakfast. Its also a chance to move around before the heat of the day sets in. So returning with a half dozen of those bread rolls that are empty in the centre and some butter the day was well set up, other than coffee the purchase of which became a priority that morning. This was our set up and scouting day so we found the nearest supermarket and stocked up. A further trip found the right cable to connect the iPod to the hire car’s audio system. The audio book of Niven & Pournelle’s The Mote in God’s Eye being first up for the trip – all part of my project to introduce Huw to some of the classics.

That done we determined on a scouting expedition, given the impending arrival of demanding female company. So we drove up the east coast of the lake, checking out towns and then took the ferry from Torri to Maderno repeating the process down the west side. A very late lunch was in Salo, the location for the capital of Mussolini’s 1943 formation of the Social Republic of Italy resulted in a resolution to hire a boat for a day both to see the towns as they would be have been seen when they were first settled and as a platform for swimming, the water is so clear and so inviting. After that we continued to hug the coast to arrive in Sirmione in time for gelato and a new gastronomic experience: vanilla ice cream dribbled with 25 year old vinegar which I not only had to try, but found to be wonderful. Sirmione is rightly described in the guide book as impossibly pretty with castle walls, water, roman ruins and multiple small and interesting shops. Worth a day later in the holiday via ferry so more on it then

Net result of the trip was some six lakeside towns picked out for trips as the rest of the party arrive, and several interesting restaurants. Returning will also give me a second chance at capturing some of the views on camera. I have been learning a new feature a week on the Nikon, and managed to mess up exposure bracketing today. It did produce some interesting effects however, the above picture is the view from the pier at Sirmione. I’m also learning how to use Aperture as a replacement for iPhoto which is producing its own nightmares – I can’t find out where the masters are stored! Emergency email to daughter to bring the manual with her on Wednesday, which for my generation of IT professional is the final admission of incompetence. Reading manuals is for wimps, but sometimes there is no alternative.

Tomorrow we start to pick up on the places that the rest of the party made clear were not of interest. A trip to Lake Iso and the rock paintings of Capo di Ponte. If we can time it right and the ferries are running then at least one meal is planned on Monte Isola but the prospect of canoes and a walk on Lake Endine may take priority. We may also, time permitting call in at Solfernio on the way back. This was the scence of two appalling battles between the Austrians and Piedmontese/French forces which inspired the foundation of the Red Cross by Henry Dunant.

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