Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Field trip: Lago di Garda

So I made a promise to myself that I was going to take a field trip to a different town every week once I got back from Egypt. Weather and germs prevented that-until today. It was a spectacular, sunny day, completely uncharacteristic for an impending winter. A friend of mine has a girl visiting who is from Brazil, but her great-grandparents were Italian. Her great-grandfather comes from a small village on Lago di Garda, just outside of Verona, so today we headed off not just to make the most of this incredible day, but also to spend a few moments in her history.

My friend took us to a town called Sirmione, a wealthy and strategically-located village on a peninsula in the south of the lake. The castle still stands strong and stately today, and the town seems to hold it's head high with pride for it's beauty. We wandered through the streets, ate lunch on the shore, and found one of the hot springs-the city's biggest tourist draw-right on the beach. The sun shone so bright, but the crisp air and perfectly empty streets reminded you that it wasn't August anymore. There are days when I forget that I'm in Italy, a new, different, and amazing place that I have so much more to discover in. But days like today make me so grateful for this opportunity and every moment that it lasts.

We then headed over to Castelnuovo, a small village just up the shore, to see what we could find about my friend's family history. We didn't discover much today (everything is closed on Wednesday afternoons, it's like Italian law or something crazy), but I love that in Italy you can realistically walk into a town, find the oldest generation still there, and reasonably ask them about a person who lived there three generations ago, and they may actually know quite a bit. I'm learning a new sense of family and community, and while I covet my wings and world-traveler spirit with much pride and independence, I hope someday to be in a community that strong and long-lasting.

Here is Sirmione and Lago di Garda:

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