Lago di Garda is usually full of Germans. In an effort to maintain that, I joined the crowd two weeks ago. It was another ultra-ride – the second of this season. That was the day that I spotted this weird Jesus-on-a-Swastika in Lumezzane. And other things.
I stood over in Brescia. Quite a cute town! That was maybe one of the biggest surprises already. I mean, I had been to Brescia one time before and left it with no intention to ever come back. Looked so dead and boring. A true provincial place, I thought. It maybe is provincial, and maybe I just discovered my preference for provincial. After all, there’s a lot of sympathy for Bozen. But maybe I was also just more smart in actually walking through nicer streets at a more lively time of the week. Granted, Sunday in the morning also Berlin and Milan look a bit dead.
Now, what didn’t surprise me positively was my ride through Val Trompia. South of Brozzo, I find it just too urbanized and industrialized. Unlike other places with many people, however, it doesn’t have enough space to accommodate a high-level street and a low-level street. So I’m forced to share with the traffic. The street is wide… so wide that it would be easy to convert part of it into a bike lane. It’s not dangerous. It’s just not very pleasant either.
Frankly, that’s the same with my experience of the Southern end of Lago di Garda. Just too much traffic. But here better alternatives exist. I just didn’t use them. Unfortunately, I also couldn’t really enter some of the city centers. Limone sul Garda and Peschiera sul Garda, for instance, don’t allow to take bikes in their historic parts. Not even by walking them. The amount of people crowding some very tiny streets explain this measure. I get it.
Normally, I would still have the views. Not this time, as it was a rather misty day. From the Southern lake towns, I couldn’t even recognize that the lake is surrounded by mountains. (The mountains end about 15km from the Southern shore.) Then I left the lake and had some nicer views – for something like 20km. Afterwards, I just had to follow a canal leading into Verona, and then I still had another 35km to go to Mantova through nothing but wide and empty flat fields.
Nope, I’ve done nicer routes. The video does a good job at hiding how bad the bad parts were. Because it’s still Italy, so there were also plenty of great parts.
From Mantova going back to Milan, trains go only every two hours. I rushed myself a bit, because I had the ambition to catch the earlier train. Had I not taken a break in Verona and then continued with high speed, I might have had a chance. Just I desperately needed that break. In Salò and Limone, crowds had kept me from taking a larger break, and while I did get some ice cream in Peschiera, my break in Verona was the only real break I took all day. 170km into the ride.
At the very end, I almost messed up my footage. All day I had been waiting to capture a video while crossing the dike over to Mantova. This one comes with a beautiful panorama of the city’s historic skyline. A bit earlier during the day, I accidentally had had the GoPro running for twenty minutes. Add lots of shorter clips, and it just so happened that my battery was running out. I was twice lucky. First, I noticed the issue when I tried to film myself eating ice cream, and second, I actually had a spare battery with me and enough time left to return to the dike and repeat the shot. Attentive viewers will notice that the position of the sun in that scene slightly changes between cuts.
Oh, that ice cream! Mantova’s best also earned an award for Italy’s best Fior di Latte (i.e. milk cream). Totally deserved: It was really, really good. But so were the other two flavors, one of which was Mascarpone, and the other one some yogurt with fruit adding. Mantova itself looked like a rather average Northern Italian city. I know, I’ve made that mistake with Brescia, and I might be completely mistaken, but this time I got this impression during a very busy moment on a Saturday afternoon. So, the city might be average, but I would love to return just for a second try of this ice cream.
Meanwhile, it’s early October. Not sure there’s much left of the season. Meaning: I will soon publish a post or two that are focused on gear that I’ve been using rather than on footage from actual rides.