Italy travel diary/travelogue

Looking for Limone

Day 14, 1 Sep 2001

Since this was the last full day for us in Lake Garda, we decided to make the most of it. We took a bus to Limone which came recommended by the Malarkies, who'd stayed there on their previous visit. However, we missed our stop and ended up at Gardone. Limone is hidden at the base of hilly ground and since we expected to see it at road level, we did not get off the bus! We only realised we'd missed it when we were far beyond Limone and looking back at it.

Once we had got off at Gardone, we had to try to make our way back up the road. The next bus was due in half an hour - since it was absolutely tipping down with rain, we decided to grab a hot drink from a café. The only place that offered shelter on that stretch of the road - if you do not count the derelict petrol station. Derelict as it might be, it still did not seem like a good idea to stand under here as the sound of thunder and flashes of lightning appeared to be coming closer.

Once we finally found Limone, we decided to follow where the crowd was going. To get to the centre, we half walked, half ran down cobbled pavements due to the steepness of the narrow paths. We were not disappointed once we got to the bottom - Limone is a small yet pretty place. Lined with small boutiques, touristy type shops, cafés, winebars and hotels, Limone definitely has its own relaxed style. Like so many of the towns here, though, there is not a huge amount of entertainment - definitely a place for relaxation, and not for activity.

Almost a candid camera moment

The rain continued throughout the day, on and off, and the water was being whipped up by the strong winds. I spent a particularly amusing time in the warmth of a café watching a group of 50-60 year olds attempting to board a boat that was rocking all over the place by the quayside. With video camera in hand, I filmed them, calling on the spirit of Jeremy Beadle to grant me the wish of at least one person not making the stride across to the boat and netting me £250. Unfortunately for me (but fortunate for the oldies), there was to be no 'You've been framed' material today.

Don't mention the score

The evening meal was anything but ordinary today. Well, to be more precise the circumstances. Tonight, England were to play Germany in a crucial world cup qualifier. The hotel was mostly frequented by German tourists, and at dinner, the owners had evidently tried to get a TV tuned in to the game, but had failed dismally. For ages, people watched what appeared to be Grand Prix footage, and there was one particularly animated German guy who was desperate to inform the owner that it was the wrong channel, and obviously wanted to help re-tune. He probably wished he hadn't, with hindsight.

It's a very strange feeling to be watching such an important game in a foreign land, particularly when you are one of a handful of Brits surrounded by Germans whose team had just gone 1-0 up. But of course, that was all to change. When England took the lead, I found myself thinking, "Now, do I cheer? Is that wise? We are on neutral territory after all ... ". The mood of our fellow hotel guests dropped considerably throughout the evening. Other guests kept popping their heads round into the side room where the TV was placed asking for an update: "drei-eins", "vier-eins" then finally "fünf-eins".

A memorable night, for sure.