Paradisio - 9 1/2 Weeks - CycleBlaze

October 22, 2019

Paradisio

Experiencing some of the finer things in life - a day off in Peschiera

We decided to ease back into Italy so today was a wonderfully filled with  sleeping, eating, drinking and sightseeing, all in equal measures.

K pointed out that we did actually ride our bikes for about 10 km to accomplish all of this, but that won't show up in our totals.

First though we have to give our heartfelt thanks to Andrea, our Warmshowers host. He went out of his way to make us welcome, comfortable and extremely well taken care of over the last few days. It was so special to be able to experience this incredibly beautiful area through you.

As noted in the opening para, we started the day by sleeping in ... something we haven't really done yet on this trip. We didn't need it physically, but mentally it was great. This was followed by a leisurely coffee on the balcony overlooking vineyards reaching down to Lake Garda and then a short downhill spin on the bikes into Peschiera. 

Hang out, watch the world (mostly dogs!) go by, eat some lunch (great pizza on a boat / restaurant), have some gelato (habit forming) and then meet up with Andrea for some sightseeing.

First up, a tour and tasting of the Ca dei Frati winery, a very beautiful 3rd generation family winery in Lugana. Andrea's girlfriend Maria Chiara is part of the 3rd generation! In a word, it was fabulous. I'll let the pictures tell the story.

Next up was a late afternoon / early evening stroll through Sirmione, a fascinating and achingly beautiful town situated on a very narrow peninsula jutting 3 km into Lake Garda. There were still quite a few tourists around, even on a Tuesday in October, but just enough to make the place lively. It was not crowded at all. And the weather .... perfect. Once again I'll let the images speak.

That was pretty much our day. Tomorrow we remind ourselves that this is a 'travel by bike' trip and we head off south across the Po plain until we hit the Apennine mountains that lie between us and Tuscany!

Song of the Day, Slow Dancing in a Burning Room by John Mayer. This was playing in a sidewalk cafe in Sirmione as we strolled by. The sun was just starting to set, it was calm and peaceful, and the guitar riff in this song just seemed to define the moment. There you go.

Once again it was Tuesday and the day seem to be dominated by older retired folks walking their dogs ... perfect
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The dogs seemed to like it too
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We had a stress free morning of cycling a few km's into Peschiera, strolling around, having lunch ... and gelato
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At 2:30 Andrea was off work and he met us, with his girlfriend Maria Chiara for a tour of her family's winery
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Beautiful, modern and spotlessly clean facility in Laguna
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Making excellent whites and reds!
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Including an Amarone named after Maria Chiara's grandfather who started the business. Very modern and automated equipment throughout the facility ... this is the labeling machine
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I think I mentioned that the place was spotless
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They make a superb sparkling rose in the Champagne method. Here, racks of bottles are stored inverted so the yeast / sediment collects in the neck of the bottle. Cool picture too
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beatuiful entrance into the storage cellar 1 about 10 m below the level of lake Garda that's just 1/2 a km to the north
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lots of new French oak barrels
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... and here's the motley crew, along with Andrea and Maria Chiara
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This machine was an auto-rotator. It, almost imperceptibly slowly, would gently rock the cages full of sparkling wine to move any sediment into the neck area before freezing and disgorgement
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The grape harvest was nearing completion and these chaps were tending one of the hoppers where the newly harvested grapes would start their multi-year transition
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.... and here's where the transformation starts!
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... one of the next stops ... into the stainless steel fermentation tanks
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Maria Chiara having a chat with her father Igino, the winemaker of Ca dei Frati
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beautiful fall colours as we are off to the tasting room!
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... anticipation
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ah, that's better. A superb Rose Cuvee dei Frati sparker (made with Gropello, Marzemino, Sangiovese and Barbera grapes that spend 24 months on their lees), a very good Ronchedone (Marzemino - a grape I don't know that we've had before, Sangiovese and a small amount of Cabernet) and a 2008 , their first Amarone vintage, Pietro dal Cero Amarone- excellent
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-cut to a late afternoon visit to Sirmione, a very narrow peninsula that sticks out 3 km into Lake Garda. Exceptionally beautiful. K and I vaguely remember cycling by here 29 years ago on our Swiss Alps / Italian Lakes tour ... hard not to remember this in vivid detail!
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... so we decided to commemorate this one with a picture
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The drawbridge entrance to the old town ... we took a different route in
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Caught a little pigeon mating ritual going on up on the parapets
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... they have no shame
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... and this guy's not done yet!
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Really, it was this big ... but of course, it got away.
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Hey buddy, who stole your hand?
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Oh, here it is!
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endless mounds of frozen goodness
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.... and the fine folks who are slinging it out for the masses
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The sun starting it's descent to the western horizon over Lake Garda
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Warm, calm and bellissimo!
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Beautiful evening light on the pastel coloured buildings in Sirmione
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I just love this art filter! I think this looks better than the real thing ... which was pretty nice
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... and it does a great job on these girls dreads too
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Scorsese's in town casting for his next movie
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We started with the morning dogs of Peschiera, and we're ending with the evening dogs of Sirmione
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dutifully waiting, the dogs of Sirmione
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Hey, you talking to me?
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The drawbridge at Sirmione about to be pulled up on the day
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... with the light fading
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one last 'fish' story. This one appears to be much smaller than the last one
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