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Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Sunset Lago di Garda

I was feeling a little low on Sunday as my sister and brother and their families had been out for the preceding ten days, they had all gone home by Saturday evening and things seemed very quiet.
Then I received a phone call from our friends Livio and Tania, inviting us out on his boat for the afternoon, it was a beautiful sunny day and very hot, so a boat trip was just the tonic to lift my mood.
I’ve already been out a few times with him this year for a spot of sardine fishing, although each time our trips were cut short by a sudden change in the weather. The sardines in the lake are superb, same texture as salt water sardines but a milder flavour. I will tell you more about sardine fishing in a separate post. Sardine season is over so Sunday we would be fishing Coregone.
Coregone is a fish that slightly resembles Seabass both in appearance and texture. But again it is a lighter, milder flavour,  absolutely delicious…..I quite often eat them in restaurants.
We met Livio and Tania and then drove to Sirmione, where Livio’s boat is moored. 

“Sirmione is a one of the most popular towns on the lake with the tourists. It stands on a peninsula with a minimum broadness of 120 mt which stretches out for about 4 km in Lake Garda from the southern shore.

In ancient times Sirmione - “Sirmio” for the Romans – used to be a "road station" at the basis of the peninsula and a renowned place for holidays and thermal bath for nobles.

Sirmione still holds all the ancient ruins of the famous villa which is said to belong to the famous Veronese poet Caio Valerio Catullo who lived in Sirmione during the first century B.C., especially the part which stands on the peninsula was also inhabited in late ages (Byzantines and Longobards built fortifications), it received municipal orders in the XII century, and from the XIII century it was ruled by the Della Scala family of Verona.

Since 1405, Sirmione, as well as the other Lake towns of the area of Brescia, became part of the Republic of Venice.

Sirmione is nowadays an important touristic-climatic and thermal bath centre: the first information on the underwater Boiola source (69 °C), collected in 1889, date back to 1546; the first establishment dates back to 1898.

In the recent years there has been an significant development due to thermal cures.”
Livios boat is moored right under the bridge at the entrance to the town, in a very pretty little port. It always feels a bit special setting off from such an enchanting location.
Once out on the water Livio set up his sonar fish finder, he knew where we needed to be, but to stand the best chance of catching Coregone you need to find the right depth of water. One we arrived at the spot, the girls relaxed on the front of the boat, while Livio gave me a lesson in coregone fishing….which is fairly difficult. We spent about three hours fishing, taking breaks to cool down by diving into the lake and drink a beer. We caught three nice sized fish, but many more got away.
As the sun started to dip in the sky we packed away the fishing gear and set off to the town of Garda for refreshments. In the 14 years I have been coming here I have never visited Garda town before, I wish I had, like all the other towns on the lake it is very pretty, but with its own character.
It has quite a long promenade with lots of bars and restaurants, which were filled with holiday makers taking their aperitivo or eating an early dinner. The atmosphere was such that I felt like I was on holiday…a ‘holiday moment’.
It was still very hot, so we decided to venture into the back streets in search of a bar to drink a beer. We found a very quaint little place, complete with aircon. In most bars when you order a drink the bring you a little plate of crisp, olives and maybe a one or two other little snacks. This was one of the places where they lay it all out on the bar and invite you to help yourself….which is a bit dangerous, because I don’t think they expect you are going to eat your first meal of the day there at 6.30pm.
The salami in particular was very good, the beer they poured us was to die for. I could have quite easily sat and drank three or four, but it was getting a bit late and we had to get back to Sirmione before it got too dark.
The trip back was out of this world as the sunset was spectacular (check out my video on my Facebook page). The effect of the beer only added to the experience and I had a massive grin across my face and a feeling of content. 

We moored up in Sirmione and rounded the day off with a pizza in Livio’s friend’s restaurant ‘Erica’. The pizzas here are fantastic as is the fish and indeed the rest of the menu.
Perfect end to a perfect day.

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