Lago d' Iseo
Although I'm now in Val 'd Orcia in Tuscany I will catch up on a few stops in the next couple of blogs.
After Bormio we headed south and spent a couple of nights at Lago d'Iseo, another of the northern Italian lakes between the mountains and vast fertile plain further south. We drove along the eastern side of the lake and stopped at the town of Sulzano, a small village on the lake and only a short ferry ride to Monte Isola, a huge mountain island in Lago d' Iseo. We found nothing much open and hadn't booked any accomodation so we started driving around the village looking for somewhere to stay. We followed some steep lane ways up the hill to Trattoria Cacciatore which had a great terrace which looked out over the lake and town. It wasn't open so we were about to look elsewhere when a woman drove in and pulled up. She said that she was closed Monday and Tuesday and so sent us on to a b&b further up the hill. Just as we were about to go out the gate she called us back and said that as she was there we could stay and have the place to ourselves for the next two days. We settled in and after a rest took the ferry over to Monte Isola and walked to a nearby town, Sensole, and a great little resturaunt on the waterfront. Monte Isola is an island of fisherman and we had a great fish meal looking out over the water. We took a late ferry back to the mainland (about a five minute trip) and then off to bed. Next morning we decided to go back to the island and take our bikes for a ride around. There are a network of roads and while not many cars, lots of scooters. We rode around the island which has beautiful views in all directions and then decided to ride up to a church perched on top of a cliff in the centre of the island. This was the hardest bike ride we had done, while not a big climb it went up 300-400m in a very short stretch so the grade was around 25% in some places-that's steep! How or why the church was built where it was is quite amazing and again the views were wonderful. Pardon my ignorance of Catholicism, but inside the church were a series of old paintings on pieces of wood depicting how different people had died - eg off a ladder, off the side of the mountain, getting gored by a bull and so on. Very bizarre. Our 2 days here were much like the rest of the trip, sensational. Next we were off to Barga, a hill town in Northern Tuscany.