Italy 2008 - Lake Garda  

This was our first holiday abroad with both boys (and Grandma!). We stayed in an apartment in Bardolino, Lake Garda.

The overriding theme of the holiday was definitely ice cream. Eight Euros a go does seem expensive, but if we could get the same experience in the UK for that money, then we would be broke (and even more overweight!).

The weather was unseasonably hot for the time of year, we managed to squeeze this holiday in just before Thomas started nursery (September), our last holiday with absolute freedom over the timing!

Bardolino is a nice village and certainly one of the best locations around Lake Garda. We did drive around the whole Lake during our stay and few of the other villages had as much to offer. We did however, mainly use it as our base, as we toured the other towns and villages around the lake.

We ascended Monte Baldo in a cable car from Malcesine and had an uneventful lunch at the summit. It was a beautiful place, though a little overrun with tourists, of course. We did have a rather too prolonged heart stopping moment when Thomas decided it would be fun to play hide and seek, and we lost him for about five frantic minutes. The top of a mountain with sheer drops on two sides really is not the place! We now have rather expensive tracking equipment capable of locating the two kids (and Grandma) to within a metre. So far it's mostly been used to locate Grandma!

Venice is about 50 miles from Lake Garda and we were drawn in like typical tourists. It was just a flying visit, but we did see the Rialto Bridge and have even more expensive ice creams at a cafe in St Mark's Square. Well, you have to, this is once in a lifetime, I hope! Thomas still remembers Venice, when we remind him of the Fire, Police, and Ice Cream boats! We even saw a Hearse boat! Our excursion to Murano was not so successful though, as it was Sunday, and by the time we got there, it was closed! The water buses are not always reliable in terms of timing.

There is a Theme Park on Lake Garda called Gardaland (what else?). We were running short of things to do towards the end of our holiday so we decided to give it a go (being the theme park junkies we are), and we're glad we did. It was so quiet, everything was unexpectedly open, and the rides were actually a good mix for the whole family. Thomas (then 3) experienced a roller coaster with three loop the loops. He, of course, loved it. We rode the log flume five times in a row, though Grandma got out after the second run (some sort of aversion to getting wet, I'm sure that will crop up again!). Even Jamie, at 18 months old, was allowed on a small roller coaster, and he loved it too. Health and Safety rules don't seem to be an issue here!

We can confirm that Pasta in Italy is indeed up to scratch. I particularly recommend the Spaghetti Vongole. The Pizza though, is just Pizza!