Two Greeks in Italy

I don’t know anyone in their thirties that really goes around saying, “I’m Greek” because he or she was in a fraternity or sorority – but it was certainly fun to be a part of Greek Life during college.  Jennifer and I were both “Greeks” while we attended Virginia Tech together and we each established lifelong friendships that have opened world’s of opportunities.

Lauren and Jen in front of Lake Garda

One of Jen’s sorority sisters, Lauren recently came to visit – and they instantly fell into their old college routine.  We welcomed Lauren at the train station; she was arriving from Switzerland having visited another friend living abroad.  We went to downtown Como and had a nice dinner, before enjoying a few drinks in the piazza while a live band entertained us.

We took an opportunity to visit, Lake Garda, the largest lake in all of Italy.  There is an amazing town on Lake Garda called, Sirmione.  What will strike you most about the town; apart from it’s beautiful castle, hip “beach vibe” and amazing architecture – is that the water shimmers a pure aqua-marine blue, as if you’re been transported to Caribbean waters in the middle of Italy.  The lake was formed by glaciers at the end of the last ice age, perhaps contributing to the unique color of the water.

The shores of Sirmione on Lake Garda
Family photo
Sirmione is certainly a wonderful place to own a boat

The history of Sirmione is quite rich – traces of civilization date all the way back to the 5th century BC. As early as the 1st century AD, the town became a favorite resort place for families from Verona (the closest major city).  I would imagine a vacation home back then would be a place you’d spend an entire summer (or longer) since I would assume it would take quite some time to reach the lake from Verona (horses can only go so fast).  I suppose nothing much has changed over the last 2,000 years – the rich and fabulous still snatch up the choicest water-front property for their personal playgrounds.

The medieval village stretches across a long peninsula
Sirmione has a stunning roofline
The village’s beauty is framed behind the natural beauty of trees, mountains and the lake
We loved this home inside the town
Lauren poses with me and Julia

We had an incredible lunch lake-side and then drove into the ancient Roman city.  One of the main sites and a most impressive examples of fortification, is the Scaliger Castle.  We spent hours walking around, stopping only for pictures and the required coffee and gelato pitstops.

The front of our restaurant
And out back, Julia takes a stroll
Julia took this picture of Lauren at lunch – apart from the partial finger over the lens, it’s pretty good!
Scaliger Castle sits as an imposing fortification in front of the ancient city
Restaurants and shops line the castles moat
A good place for a “selfie”
The castle as well as the only entry-way into the ancient city
The drawbridge had been lowered
I would love to know the story behind this
The castle has it’s own marina protected by a large, fortified wall
Lauren walks along the castle’s walls
Julia tries to climb the drawbridge
Jen and Lauren stop for a picture

Another day, we visited Lecco a major lake town along our Lake Como.  If you can picture the lake as a pair of legs, Como is the left “foot” while Lecco is the right “foot”.  In fact, people in the town of Lecco often refer to the lake as, Lake Lecco.  Of course, we all know that’s not the case – but it’s a beautiful town nonetheless.

The mountains in Lecco are quite striking
Sailboats back from a beautiful day on the water
Lauren and I take our picture in front of the lake

We loved having Lauren visit and enjoyed seeing a new part of Italy ourselves.

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