Italy Bound! #
I’d like to write about my most recent trip to Peschiera del Garda, Italy. It was a spur of the moment decision, and was actually booked 6 days before we (me and @rebeccarobot) left. We were there for 4 nights in total.
Getting there was theoretically easy, as it’s only a 2 hour flight from London Gatwick to Verona airport. Except the deal we used limited the flight out there to 8:20am, and we had to get there 2 hours before, so that was already 6:20. Then luckily for us (not), Gatwick is about an hour drive from where we live. Basically, we ended up leaving at around 5am. Add that to the fact the Rebecca was up all night packing, we slept for about 2 hours max.
After arriving at London Gatwick, we followed the signs to drop our luggage off to then find we had to go to another floor. For some reason our flight was on a different floor to everyone else. But after all the travelling around the airport, I found a Starbucks. As soon as the gate was opened, we swiftly moved there and pretty much slept through the whole journey.
Once we had got to Verona airport, we quickly decided that a taxi would be the easiest method of getting to the hotel. As we flew out on the 27th December, the taxi prices go up by about 20% for some reason. When I originally looked on a map it said the drive was around 24 minutes, it actually took just over 10. It cost us around €60 but we really didn’t have a choice.
Our first day was a bit short, mainly due to the issue of sleep. However, we did decide to take a visit to the Lake. Where we were greeted by a very affectionate cat, who even like to sit on my lap. The view was amazing, even though we could see hardly anything because of the mist. It was also the perfect moment for a panorama.
One of the probably funniest moments of the trip, came when we found a little place to get a coffee, seeing as it was pretty cold outside. I asked for a Latte, and Rebecca asked for a Hot Chocolate, what we got wasn’t what we expected. Turn’s out Latte in Italian literally means milk, and when I was asked "Do you want milk?", I thought he was referring to milk in a coffee. Also, Rebecca had thought she was getting a Hot Chocolate, but instead received hot chocolate. It was pretty much melted chocolate, and it was really nice. Then for a snack I had some kind of pizza, but it was served on bread?
Well we made our way back to the hotel (around 15 minutes from the Lake), ideally to have a nap and then go out for dinner. At around 5pm Rebecca fell asleep, and I think I was watching some Kevin Hart on Netflix. I must of fallen asleep because I then woke up at around 2am, so I guess we weren’t having dinner! Seeing as I wasn’t too tired after that sleep, I watched Star Trek (the first J.J. Abrams one). Then I had a bit more sleep.
Our second day in Italy was a bit more interesting, and as I’m thinking about it now, we did a lot more than I thought.
We started the day with a plan to buy some food for the room, as the prices were pretty steep – I cant remember exactly but around €3 for a can of Becks. We actually looked for a supermarket on Apple Maps the day before, but it said the nearest one was about an hour walk. However after seeing a sign for a Lidl near our hotel, I downloaded Google Maps and turns out it was only a 10 minute walk. I did buy some Becks actually, the same cans as the hotel except they were 60c each. Of course we bought some chocolate as well.
After a little food shopping, we headed into Peschiera centre where most things were closed (Italy don’t do mondays). We found a nice little café to go for lunch, this time I actually managed to order a real coffee.
We explored near the lake for a while, and the water was crystal clear. I got some good shots of the ducks, and even a cool panorama.
Late afternoon we went back to the hotel. I had found the Arsenal game on my iPad so I was planning to watch that, and Rebecca wanted to go to the Spa. So as there was a "Relaxation area", we decided to both go down and I would just watch the football in there. What I didn’t plan, was for the WiFi to suddenly become unreachable as soon as I entered. I think Rebecca had a nice time, but I had 45 minutes exploring what I could do without internet access. I did manage to catch the second half though, where to my delight we won 1-0.
Then it was time to find a restaurant to eat at, there was one near the Lake front, which was apparently quite modern and usually full of tourists. TripAdvisor had some good reviews on it, and they had some good comments on Facebook, so we used Apple Maps to get there.
It didn’t turn out to be a wise choice, because when we got there it turns out the restaurant is shut until March 2016. It was pretty cold by this point, so we were not impressed. Especially as their own Facebook page seemed pretty active and it even said they were currently open. Apple Maps was pretty useless for finding restaurants, so I downloaded Google Maps – which actually showed the correct info about it being shut. It was this and quite a few more previous bad Apple Map experiences over the past two days, that made me retire it for the rest of the holiday.
So we walked for about an hour along the lake front, in the direction of the centre as somewhere had to be open. There was one open that we had actually seen before that day, it was really nice inside. I chose a Beef fillet, and it was a bit more raw than i’m used to. I think the waiter said "Medium?", but I only realised after I had received it. Normally it’s well done for me. One last treat of the day was what Rebecca chose for pudding, it was something to do with strawberry and chocolate. According to the english translation is was "Emotional Chocolate and Strawberry Gelato", we still don’t know what made it emotional.
This was the first time we really had good weather, it was actually so warm I think Rebecca might not of worn a coat at one point!
We decided to make full use of the weather, so we decided to take a trip to the Sealife Center, which was around an hour walk. But we detoured a bit so we could walk along the Lake. We found out today that there is a really nice path you can take, which leads you directly to the Lake. It also features a house with some cool gates! They look pretty weird at night though.
Once we were at the lake, we were greeted with the most amazing view again! So of course I took another panorama. The lake is so nice, you can just sit and watch for ages.
After hanging round the water for a bit (and taking loads of photos that you can see later), we started our journey to Sealife. Then we found the bit of the Lake where it connects to a river, which looked really nice, but it has nothing on the next part. Because after we crossed the river, and walked behind some buildings, we found a really beautiful place to walk. And then! Over that tiny little hill, there was one of the best sights.
It was the next section of the river I think, but the clear water, the sun, and this really nice bridge made the perfect view. So I took loads of photos (here’s three: one, two, and three).
The rest of the journey wasn’t as pleasing to the eye, as for a while Google Maps directed us to walk alongside a pretty busy road. And there was no path, so most of the time we were walking on the verge, or even in the road!
After quite a lot of time, we finally made it! The prices weren’t that bad either, only €15 each for an adult ticket. Rebecca wasn’t too pleased, because you don’t get to do the fun little quiz for children with it.
There was some odd animals, like a very big crab, red starfish, loads of different fish, and all sorts that I’ve taken far too many pictures of. It was going really well, until I decided to look at the time on my Apple Watch. As I brought it up, the glass slightly tapped the internal concrete wall (I’ve knocked it much harder than this before). Then, crack. I had cracked my pretty new Apple Watch from top to bottom. Luckily it doesn’t affect the use of it, and it’s not super visible. But it certainly pissed me off.
I was cheered up a bit with the Jellyfish, they looked awesome. There’s probably more photos of Jellies on my camera than pictures of us. You could see right through to the other side of the tank as well, so we took a photo of myself and of rebecca through that!
The last animal we saw was their sealion, I was surprised they only had the one actually. Both of us are huge fans of the Sealions at our local zoo Whipsnade, so we decided to go to the show. Yeah it could jump a few feet out of the water, and it could do a handful of tricks. But it’s nothing compared to the Sea-lion show at Whipsnade. Maybe it was a mix of stress of the watch breaking, and our previous experiences at our zoo, but it didn’t seem spectacular.
Thankfully, they had a restaurant. So chicken burgers it was!
By this point it had become pretty dark, so we asked (Rebecca did) the people in the gift shop about any buses that run, or even if we could get a taxi. And they kindly pointed us in the direction of a free shuttle bus to the central station, not far from the Lake.
We saw something pretty unique when we got back. There was a whole nativity underwater. INCLUDING BABY JESUS!
As usual the day ended with some more hot chocolate.
This was our last full day in Italy. First things first, we headed to breakfast. Mine and Rebecca’s breakfast were a bit different.
Then we decided to go back down to the lake, but this time we walked in the opposite direction to normal.
It was a lot clearer this day, and there was also a lot more swans out. We also found loads of fish all together in the harbour, and some more ducks.
Rebecca decided that she would go and stroke one of the swans, while I kept well away.
Here’s one of her new friends:
We also had a little bottle of Prosecco each to drink (Christmas present from my mum), so we "enjoyed" that in the afternoon!
There was one more animal left to greet us this day as well, as this ginger cat wanted to follow us for a bit. It didn’t like to be stroked though.
On the walk back to the hotel, Rebecca captured a rather nice photo of me, and I also got a really cool timelapse of the lake!
When we got back to the hotel, Rebecca went to the spa and I stayed in the room for a reason which I have already forgot. She then dragged me down there, in order to take some pictures of it, as it was empty. It only took a few minutes, but I was scarred for life. I did something I never wanted to do in my life. I wore sandals. I was just standing by the door taking a photo, but nope I was told to wear them. Never mind my aversion to wearing sandals, or people that wear them. They were also far too small.
Picture evidence will be destroyed.
Both of us went out to meet my friend Cesare! Who is the developer of Tasktic for iOS! It was very odd how we ended up meeting, but the story is… I run an app review site called App Recap, and I reviewed Tasktic for him a while ago. But recently I got an invite to Product Hunt, so I submitted Tasktic, which had some good effects! He then said the next time i’m in Italy he’d get me a beer, this was actually the day after I booked our trip, so this was the day we took him up on that offer!
We both had a beer each, Rebecca had to be different and get an icecream.
It was a few hours of talking about apps, random stuff, and also what we’d been getting up to in Italy so far. Including my incident where I ordered a cup of milk instead of a coffee.
Then it was time for dinner. We first walked around the shops for a bit, where we saw another cat that was running round inside one of the shops. We actually planned a reastaurant to go to this night, but we then found it was closed. So we found one nearby.
I had the finest in Italian pizzas – the Margherita, and Rebecca had erm, something a bit different (who puts onions on a pizza?).
The pudding was like the normal ones you get here in England, mine was some massive ice cream, brownie, cream, thing. Rebecca had a strawberry thing with cream, I’m sure you love these descriptions.
As we left, Rebecca had to ask a woman if she minded her taking a photo of a painting behind her. She got the photo fine, but the Italian woman looked a bit confused why she wanted it. (I don’t know either).
The last day! Well half a day, because our flight left at 12:00 so we had to leave before 10am!
So all we had time to do was to eat some breakfast! I had the usual ham, cheese, croissant and a coffee. Rebecca has bacon and egg on toast. Of course she had to find the biscuits table, which meant she had to get a few of these. They actually survived the trip back home.
After eating this, we got a taxi to Verona Airport. They say you have to be there 2 hours earlier, but we didn’t even have the info drop the luggage off for another 30 minutes.
Once we had that, Rebecca gave them her bag (She had the only hold luggage). It was overweight! So quickly she moved her soap bag to her other bag. The only problem with this, was that we forgot about the liquid rules, so she lost some expensive stuff going through customs!
I then had to wait with the bags, while she looked at what rubbish she could buy at the airport. Then finally we were able to get on the plane.
The flight was okay, apart from the landing which was a bit dodgy. They couldn’t seem to fly the plane straight for a while.
This was a minor issue however, compared to what came next.
We flew from Gatwick North Terminal, and we were scheduled to fly back here. But for some reason which I didn’t listen to – we had to go to the South Terminal.
It was pretty confusing, as when we landed I checked Google Maps and it showed where we were, and we were next to the North Terminal! But we then had to walk for about 20 minutes, which I’m guessing was to get to the South terminal.
It shouldn’t of been that bad, because there are pretty regular shuttle buses that go to the North Terminal Long Stay Carpark (where we were parked).
So we found our way out the front, and the bus came with "Long Stay" on the side of it. We didn’t know if it was the same one, or if there was another for this terminal. The driver didn’t know either.
He suggested we went back inside, and got ""the shuttle"" to the North Terminal. Surely this defeats the point of us being redirected in the first place, but that’s a mystery.
We went back inside to ask someone who worked there for instructions, and what the best solution was to get back to the car. We asked if there was actually two long stay car parks, or if it’s the same one. No-one knew this, the guy even asked someone who looked superior to him and she didn’t know how many there were either!
They then suggested we got the quick train to the North Terminal, so we got there eventually. But if you remember, earlier the bus driver told us "It’s not a train, it’s more of a shuttle". Turn’s out the driver had clearly never seen a train before, because that’s what it was.
Finally, we reached the car. About 2 hours after we had landed.
We then diverted to McDonalds, and went home.
(I hope this wasn’t too boring to read, it certainly took a long time)
If you want to stay updated with the other boring things we do, you can follow us on Twitter:
- Rebecca – @rebeccarobot
- Me – @chrishannah
There was loads of photos and videos that we took, that aren’t in this post. To view them all, check out my Flickr.