Day 5 - Riva del Garda and Verona
An easy day today with the plan being a bit of a rest with just a lap of the lake and immediate vicinity so something around 110 miles.
I headed off about 10am down the western side of the lake which is a series of tunnels and open roads hugging the lake's edge. The road is lovely and slow and about 30mph all the way with time to take in the views and the fresh air, unless you are one of the hundreds of bikers on some sporty crotch-rocket then it is a frustrating series of desperate overtakes as you try to set a new lap record for a lap of the GardaRing. Settle back and enjoy the views and air lads and ladesses. It being a gorgeous day and a Sunday the place was full of Italians having a day out as well and the difference between them and the bikers is amusing. The Germans are all, again, head to toe in leathers, all black, all mean n'moody looking, racing along, while the Italians heading out for the day are on little battered scooters, in shorts, usually with a girl in a short dress on the back, and look perfectly content in the world.
My morning coffee stop was a small town towards the bottom of the lake and I love the idea of just pulling up outside, having a quick espresso next to the scooter, and then hopping on and trundling off again. This was in the town of San Felice, a quiet and thoroughly charming place.
The bottom of the lake is out beyond the mountains and in the first flat lands south of the Alps and if I'm honest is rather less charming than the northern mountainous end. It is a series of fairly tacky towns and beaches with lilo shops and the like which wouldn't look out of place in Rhyl.
Verona wasn't on the schedule for the day but as I was meandering through the slightly less charming end of the lake I realised I was only about half an hour away so a spur of the moment decision was made to have a lunchtime coffee in Verona itself.
Being a scooter rider again has a huge advantage there as you can just ride straight up to the main square by the opera house and there is a long long row of free parking spaces just for scooters and motorbikes. The intention wasn't to stay long as the idea of this trip is the journey rather than the destinations, so I only stayed for about an hour, long enough to have a coffee and a place of seafood spaghetti in the square, before hopping back onto the bike and heading back towards the lake again.
The ride back up the eastern side is absolutely gorgeous - loads of lovely quaint towns and the road just meandering along the water's edge all the way back up to Torbole and then Riva itself. In the end it was about a six hour trip out but spent largely trundling along happily at slow speeds, just taking in the air, the sun and the views. Lovely.
The evening was a pizza in one of the back street squares in Riva, and short meander around the town as the sun set, then off to pack ready for the next day's journey up to Chur and into Switzerland.