In case y'all have been wondering, I'm still alive and having a bang-up time at Gardone.
Three days left.
Sunday the best day, when we take a break from importantly thinking and talking about Important Things. Mass at 8:30 am, followed by a buffet brunch at the Angeli.
Then the little trenino takes us all down to the waterfront where we get on
Alberto's boat. Both times I've been here we head for
a little medieval town about an hour up Lake Garda, called Malcesine ("Mal-CHEZ-in-ay")
Michael Matt and Peter Rao
Maria Madise of Talinn, Estonia, Thomas Stark of Vienna, and David Hughes Stamford, Connecticut.
Conquering Malcesine one gelato at a time. (No "primal" on holiday.)
Jamie Bogle sizes up the castle.
where Chris Ferrara and I have a tradition of storming the castle after a quick bit of salad for lunch in a charming little piazza
then up the castle.
Inside the gates, there is a little garden where you can lie on the grass and look up at the swifts swooping and
wheeling amongst the cypresses.
Views from the castle's lower levels
My buddy Chris Ferrara on top of the tower.
View from the tower top
to the top of the lake.
After, we found the beach access and went for a swim in the lake.
Medieval steps down to the waterfront.
People have been having a dip here,
in this little cove
under the castle's shadows, for a thousand years or more.
Where today, the local boys
Jamie Bogle tried it, but it's probably one of those things you have to start doing when you're five.
At five, we all re-boarded and Alberto parks the boat about a 1/2 mile from shore and we jump in.
The trenino pulls us, damp and blissful, back up the hill in Gardone, in a haze of euphoria, waving to passers-by, a kind of pre-heavenly bliss, and the only sad thoughts are that we are now half way through our time here. As driver dings his bell through the piazza in Gardone Sopra, the restaurant owners and shop keepers and fellow-tourists cheer and clap and we wave like royalty.
After a shower and a lie down
it's cocktail hour,
and we are entertained by a children's choir who sing spirituals in English.
And half the town turns out to enjoy.
During dinner we have our annual visit from the Alpini, a men's choir made up of fellows who look as if they have spent their lives tending vineyards and hunting in the hills. Rugged. They give us traditional Italian mountain songs, in which young men fall madly in love with pretty girls and everyone lives happily ever after following only trivial and somewhat contrived obstacles.
Dinner companions on Sunday evening,
Professor Thomas Stark of Vienna,
the madcap Jamie Bogle of London,
Bill Stannus, an engineer from Fernie, British Columbia,
Alex (whose surname I've not caught yet) from Vilnius, Lithuania,
Gregor Hochreiter, an economist from Vienna
Chris Ferrara, sharing with his wife, Wendy, back in the states.
Father Trezza and Rosemary
The earlier sense of euphoria has deepened into a kind of glow of warmth and beatitude, when we indulge the hope that the horrors of the world can be overcome through sheer fun and camaraderie.
Late in the evening, we float back up the hill to bed after an evening in the piazza singing songs from My Fair Lady and laughing uproariously after making fun of Estonia.