Today we rented the car we will have for three weeks. We were upgraded to an Audi and it drives, well, whenever I drive a nice car, I can partly appreciate why some people spend so much money on cars: very smooth and great pickup speed when merging quickly onto Italian roadways.
We drove to nearby Lake Garda. I drove around it thirty years ago, when backpacking through Europe with Helen and Betsy, and remember loving it. At first, as we approached the lake, I was disappointed. It was so built up and touristy, including some big amusement park called Gardaland that was a cross between Disneyland, Sea World, and Schlitterbahn, but of course smaller. But as we continued to drive along the lake, it became beautiful again. We stopped in Bardolino twice and walked along the water. It was windy and choppy, so we didn’t swim. We kept driving to a place another waiter recommended, Torri del Benaco. We parked and walked into the town center. It is so beautiful: a small harbor with brightly painted boats, tremendous panoramic views of the lake and the distant mountains, and little cafes and shops along the waterfront and in the village. As we ate lunch, a storm gathered in the mountains and blew in. Rather than be storm chasers, we were storm fleers and drove back to Verona. Caroline fell asleep, and I got a little lost. Of course, I stopped to ask at a gas station. The attendant said to go through four lights straight, turn right and then turn left at the second light. It was amazing! We not only ended up in the town center, but we ended up on the street where the rental car woman recommended we keep the car overnight in a lot.
Now we’re waiting until it cools down a bit before a spritz, a late dinner, and Aida. I picked up our tickets. They’re pretty good, I guess, but how can they be bad in an open air ancient Roman arena?
Yesterday a sales clerk taught me a new Italian expression. Da Dio! It means, “of God” or “like a God,” as in, “It fits you like a god!” or, “Today is of God!” Just an exuberant Italian superlative. You must say it with feeling and hand gestures. Domani a Ravenna.