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Report 678: Italia - Umbria, Lago di Garda, Lago di Como & Visits with Friends in Empoli and Coccaglio

By girasoli from Hawaii, Spring 2005

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Page 11 of 24: Traveling to Sirmione - Three Train Rides and a Boat Ride

photo by girasoli

waiting in Verona for next train

After some last minute packing, I had a relaxing breakfast with Marusca and then we went to the train station. I said goodbye to Marusca and thanked her again for a wonderful time. I was off to Sirmione which is on Lake Garda. This trip entailed three trains and then finally a boat ride!

My first trip from Empoli to Firenze went smoothly. I had about an hour to wait while in Firenze before my next train trip. I have spent time in Firenze on three previous trips and so I decided to hang out at the train station and take some "train station photos" while waiting.

The Eurostar was 10 minutes "in ritardo" and changed tracks at the last minute. The ride was long (almost three hours) but luckily the seats were quite comfortable. There are only reserved seats on Eurostar trains. My seat ended up being across from a very crabby lady. Since the train was not full, I found another seat after a few stops.

My last train from Verona to Desenzano del Garda was 20 minutes "in ritardo". But as luck would have it, I did not have to go down any stairs with my bags the entire trip (all three train rides) until I arrived at Desenzano del Garda! This last train ride was hot (ac was not working) but the ride was not that long.

When I arrived at Desenzano del Garda, I started heading down hill, following the sign to the centro. At the bottom of a long street, I took out a map that I printed off the internet. This very nice older man came by on a bike and could see that I was not sure what direction to go. He said "Dimmi" which means literally "tell me", but more like "What do you want/need?". He was very kind and told me which street to take and even followed me a short way and again pointed out the street to make sure I knew the way.

The lake promenade was filled with little shops and bars/gelaterias. I stopped to get a slice of pizza at one of the little food shops since I had not eaten very much all day and was starving. Katia sent me the boat timetable in advance and I knew I had about 10 minutes before the next boat arrived. When I went to the ticket booth, I found out that I had two choices, the slow ferry or the faster "rapido" boat. Since it had been seven hours so far for my "travel day," I chose the faster boat.

There were two places where the boats departed in Desenzano del Garda. I walked over to the place where the ticket man told me that the rapido boats departed and asked one of the men in blue that worked on the boat if I was at the correct place (wanting to make sure and not end up there for another hour if I was at the wrong boat dock). He replied with a smile that this boat was "rapidissima"!

The ride was rapidissima as he said and when I arrived at the dock, I saw that my hotel was right there on the water next to the dock! I checked into my hotel (Hotel Eden) and then went to find the tourist information area before it closed. At the entrance to Sirmione, there is a big castle with a moat/permanent bridge that you walk over to enter/exit the town. The only way into Sirmione is crossing over this moat or arriving by boat. I took some pictures of this amazing castle and then went back to my room to unpack just in time for my favorite Italian show - Carabinieri! For dinner, I had spaghetti with seafood at a restaurant that was just ok.

photo - waiting in Verona for next train to Desenzano del Garda

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