Arrival - at last

Gardone Riviera Travel Blog

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The Grand Hotel takes up most of the Gardone waterfront !
At Desenzano we were accosted by the obligatory eastern European beggars, the largest of whom furnished us with a Gypsy curse as we struggled by with our cases.  As the day was mild, we walked down to the port (15 minutes) and sought the ferry ticket office.  Fermato.  When the guy finally arrived and sold us tickets, we were directed 'behind the big boat' to the catarmaran.  The captain was desolate, but as the lake was choppy this morning, he could not guarantee to go all the way to Gardone, but might well stop short at Garda (on the opposite shore) instead.  We opted for breakfast at a local hotel/restaurant and awaited the later Batello which could manage the rougher water.
Chilling out
  A wonderful trip - it takes an hour and a half (less if you're prepared to pay for the Rapido, and assuming the crew feel like making the journey), calling at several smaller ports along the way.  We were worried how far we would have to walk (based on experience to date) from the ferry to the hotel and were amazed to find that this was less than ten yards as the Grand Hotel was thoughtfully located adjacent to the landing stage.

The Grand takes up much of the waterfront, and has several shaded areas where one can await one's room, as one has arrived at an unseemly hour.  Glad to be able to take a shower, we then strolled though the small town, took in lunch at the hotel and began to chill out big-time.  Our table for dinner was less than three metres from the lakeside and we decided that we would spend the Monday in Gardone.
The four-man Bissa crew on a practice run

The towns along the lake shore all take part in a boat race in which crews of four row against one another.  The boat is called a Bissa, and whereas on a normal rowing boat the crew sit facing away from the direction of travel and pull to make the stroke, on the Bissa the crew stand facing forwards and push on the stroke.  There is no rudder, and the crew have to steer using the oars.  There are also Dragon Boat races on the lake.

Rounded off the evening with coffe and Grand Marnier in the lounge listening to the pianist who palyed and sang well, but looked like a younger, slimmer Michael Winner.  "And so to bed" as Pepys wrote, but with the sound of the waves lapping against the rocks below our window.
bronbiles says:
The hotel looks and sounds amazing. Such a great location.
Posted on: Jul 27, 2009
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The Grand Hotel takes up most of t…
The Grand Hotel takes up most of …
Chilling out
Chilling out
The four-man Bissa crew on a pract…
The four-man Bissa crew on a prac…
Gardone Riviera
photo by: Gandul