Our trip up to Riva del Garda was wonderful. We arrived on Sunday evening, after a truly spectacular drive up the western shore of Lago di Garda, an enormous, long lake below/amid the Italian Alps. The last half of the trip was *through* the mountains, since the roadway was mainly in tunnels, not in the open. We were burrowing through solid rock! Finally we were in Riva itself and found we had a very nice hotel (although too hot). After settling in, we had a walk around the lovely city and had a big pizza dinner. The city is so scenic, not only its little streets, cobbles and churches, but the setting, which is wedged between enormous snow-covered mountains. At night you couldn't see the mountains anymore but you could see a monastery and shrine floating high above the city, like the moon or something. Finally we went back to the hotel again and fooled around on the laptop in the lobby, to pass the time.
Monday Dagmar had to be off at a conference, where she was a speaker, and thus Caleb and I were left to our own devices until 3 p.m. We awoke to a enjoy a wonderful buffet breakfast, with everything you can think of -- bread, croissants, fruit, yogurt, coffee, tea, juices, cookies, cake, etc. Mmmm! Afterward Caleb and I took a walk down a newly built walking path to the lake. The park around it and the lakeshore were among the most beautiful things either of us have ever seen; Caleb described it as "Arcadian beauty," with its cypruses, lavendar, blue lake water, soaring mountains. We walked along the pebbled shore and Caleb fed little birds breadcrumbs out of his hand. We went back to the hotel afterward and had the hotel store our luggage, then spent the next three hours on what the Germans call a "Stadtbummel." We went in a beautiful, old church, with every surface painted or carved, with an insanely ornate inlaid floor. We walked around and around all the streets, taking pictures, going in what very few stores are open (it's the dead season and on Monday many shops are closed anyway), stopping for a great pizza lunch at a local place, sitting in the sun on the lakeshore, and finally have cake and cold drinks at a pasticeria (sp?) when finally Dagmar was ready to go.
The trip home was also great. Dagmar decided that rather than drive home the way we came, we would go down the eastern shore. This meant far fewer tunnels and instead a lot more views of the lake, mountains, and all the towns along the way. We took a nice "field trip" in this one town, starting with an M, along the way, which was one of the oldest (Roman) towns on the lake. It was charming and despite nearly every single business, bar, restaurant, etc., being closed, we managed to find this sort of private men's club that was operating, and there we got coffee and cake, very simple. That place was amazing, like taking a trip back to the 1940s. There was even a 1930s radio there! Finally we continued the trip again, down through more towns, past more lake, and then we were on the autostrada (highway) again, which led at last to Rovello Poro. We had a cold dinner of various cheeses, spreads, bread, etc., and spent a leisurely night together before bed.