This would our second major lake in Italy to visit as we were approaching our end to Italy
First though a stop in Parma
Parma is home to both Parma ham and Parmesan cheese
Parma isn’t a place that is well known compared to other places in Italy, but we needed a stop off before driving lake Garda and it seemed as good place as any to choose.
Parma is a smaller city but still has plenty to offer, though the streets are small there are plenty of things on every corner, this sometimes made it difficult to step back and really look at something as there were no openings to really appreciate it.
There were a few mains points I remember from Parma, and these were the Palazzo del governatore, the Parma cathdral and Baptistery.
Palazzo deal governatore
This was the first real opening we came to in Parma, and it was good to get in the middle and just look at what it had to offer. The main building was the government building. It was a vibrant yellow, which made it stand out to the rest, and at the top it had a sun dial, which I would imagine has been used long before our technology of telling time.
I think this could be easy to miss, we were just walking down the side street and a small clearing opened up to show you the impressive buildings standing tall next to each other. They were both beautiful buildings with the baptistery having an almost pink colour to it. No camera could pick up the pure colour of this building.
We walked around the city for a little longer investigating all of the sides streets. The colours of the buildings I always fall in love with as I have with most of Italian buildings. It was a nice stop off on the journey. This was, although not greatly signposted and small, charming that there wasn’t many tourists about so you could really appreciate the history of the buildings.
We left Parma and spent the afternoon travelling to lake Garda. We decided we wanted to spend a full day in lake Garda (though you could spend weeks), so we took the afternoon out to do a bit of window shopping. We have been shopping at the outlet stores across Italy to see how they compare to ours (a future blog will be completed about this).
We parked up not far from lake Garda and got a good nights rest. We woke up bright and early for a busy day ahead.
Our plan was basically to start at the bottom and then drive around to get all the views of this wonderful lake. Along the way we would stop off at points you can get a good view of the lake and just relax. With there being many towns around the lake, there isn’t always an opportunity to get that close by car. So take the chance to park up and walk towards the lake.
There are many towns to choose from to visit along the lake and you can even go to the town by the same name of the lake (but be careful there are two). We decided to go to Limone sul Garda. Like you would presume this town is famous for its lemons! It’s only small but there is parking right before the centre (you can’t miss it because you can’t get any further due to barriers), so we parked up and took a walk. It was a bit of a tease for our boys as it was right on the lake and all they wanted to do was to jump in. For us it gave some great views over the lake and even though still relatively early in the year, we got a glimpse of snow on top of the mountains. The town itself was beautiful, the buildings were vibrant, with flowered vines overhanging to give it a gorgeous contrast. Population though was busy, even during what I would count as off peak, a lot of people were still visiting. Normally this would give it a charm when walking though the small shopping streets, however with a puppy who likes to jump to say hi and a dog who doesn’t like big crowds, it wasnt the best idea so we kept to the outside and walked along the side of the lake and the man made beaches. We were hitting lunch time so we took the dogs back to the car and stopped off at a food stall by the town and got some food. I would like to add this food was beautiful and a lot cheaper than sitting down to eat so would definatley recommend this option.
We continued our journey around the lake for the rest of the afternoon, and you will start to notice that the northern section of the lake is more influenced by Austrian/German culture, as you are closer to the border – also they get more Austrian/German tourists than the southern parts of the lake.
Steak ‘n Shake
We had circled the lake by the evening and it was time to think about food. It was an easy option really, we had seen a Steak ‘n Shake earlier on in the day and it was always going to be this choice. If you don’t know what it is, its an American food chain that, you guessed it, serves steaks (being burgers) and milkshakes. We first encountered this on our honeymoon driving Route 66. We ate at the original diner and although I was ill at the time, it was quite clearly the best burger I’ve eaten. Since then we haven’t had one so we treated ourselves and ate there for dinner.
We ordered the most beautiful looking burgers with chips. Simon didn’t just have chips though, he had the chips with melted cheddar cheese poured over it! Simon: Go big or go home! It was not disappointing and we ate every single piece of it. That includes the Nutella milkshake that I had while Simon opted for the freshly made lemonade (why not when your in the region of lemon trees).
This topped off our trip to lake Garda and made the experience even better, but it was now time to relax, find a place to sleep and start our journey to another city tomorrow..and this one has a tale of two star crossed lovers……….