Evening in Sirmione

September 9, 2011

A long footpath runs along the east side of the Sirmio peninsula on which Sirmione is built. The lake is shallow near the shore and inhabited by variety of waterfowl. Somewhat surprisingly, the Italian swans and ducks overall looked very much like their Canadian counterparts we often see on the shore of lake Ontario in downtown Toronto.

After finally having lunch (the first meal since early breakfast we had before leaving Venice in haste), we took a very slow stroll along the lake shore, enjoying the mountains, the water, the birds and other animals, the lush vegetation, the ancient walls and buildings. It really is a beautiful place. It is nothing like Venice, but it’s completely and undeniably gorgeous. In retrospect, all the places we visited in Italy were very different from each other, yet they did seem to have something in common, too. Something subtly, but distinctly Italian.

Swans looking for some attention near the shores in Sirmione.

Blue haze hides the details in the mountains across the lake. It was somewhat disappointing at first, that one cannot see quite so well into those mountains. After a while though it becomes part of the charm as you can estimate the distance to the peaks by the amount of blue haze you see in front of them.

The old castle of Sirmione and the town around it.

And a little more up close.

Small whiffs of clouds venturing low to the slopes of the mountains, casting dense fog over the towns scattered around them.

A narrow bridge leads to the old town of Sirmione. Swans entertain the visitors, just like they do in Toronto.

A real Italian sparrow, going after some kind of insect.

The low mountain hills near the lake are completely covered in towns. None are particularly large, but they cover the slopes almost entirely.

Willow growing in the shallow waters of lake Garda. Infrared cuts through the humid air as always and shows the three-dimensional slopes in all their glory.

This may seem repetitive, but I just cannot get tired of these views.

This was supposed to be a beach, but perhaps the cloudy weather stopped most (but not all) from dipping in.

The gardens of Sirmione and the mountains just across the lake.

The name of this bird is unknown to me crested grebe (thank you, Scozzese from tripadsivor). It was one of a few local birds that were actually new to us.

And of course, the pigeons. You cannot go anywhere in Italy without seeing pigeons.

A duck family.

These guys have quite a view from their nest.

At times like this I start missing my cats.

Bottoms up!

When you go for dinner in Sirmione, order some of their lake fish. Here are 4 of those fish swimming just meters away from the shore.

Olive trees spread over a hill near the shores on the lake. The very tip of the peninsula has a high point from which some glorious view can be seen.

The footpath passes through a small garden, with a well, some sculptures and lots of fauna.

A group of Russian tourists set up a picknick near the end of this boardwalk leading into the lake. No, they were not just hoarding the space to themselves and eagerly offered up their sandwiches to anyone friendly enough to ask.

The olive trees.

The geometry of their trunks is mind boggling.

Two is a company.

A fishing boat. Someone has to stock up all those restaurants with fresh fish!

180° of lake Garda

Sirmione boardwalk in infrared.

And this is a view from the top of the hill at the tip of the peninsula. We are facing somewhat west, the perfect direction to look at sunset. The location is so picturesque, locals realized it and put up quite a few benches there to allow people to enjoy the finest hour of the evening here. A whole group of fishing boats are still out catching more of that tasty fish (which we will not try until the next evening, because this evening we stayed outside so late, our restraunt of choice got closed up by the time we were ready for dinner. To avoid further delays we had pizza for dinner at a nearby pizzeria. I mean, who would have thought that you cannot have a fancy meal in Sirmione after 11pm?)

Look at them! Is this work or is this a vacation?

Sunset over lake Garda

The hills are alive, and on the opposite side there is someone looking in your direction and enjoying a view almost as glorious.

Views like this make me feel like I'm hallucinating.

The last fishing boat leaving for the night.

After the sun finally went down it turned dark very quickly. A cat sneaked up on us while we were watching the sunset (not shown), and we eventually headed back to town to have dinner. Ended up eating a pizza with white house wine (what else? If in doubt, ask for house wine). Then back through almost empty streets to the hotel, which looked quite deserted, too. Headed up to the roof terrace. It had a view of the town and particularly the yards of nearby houses. No lake view, oh well. It was rather dark, and very quiet.

And to end the day, I’m going to come back to an earlier point in time, when we just walked from the parking lot back to the old city boundaries and saw this:

A cup of diced fruits, anyone?

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