.Since weeks I feel the excitement growing in me, slowly but at a steady pace. Only a few days to come until we pack up the car, get the kids and drive direction south. Going on vacation is always very exciting for me. Often to the extend that anxiousness predominates the departure day and leaves me toying with the idea to simply stay at home. This year we will spent our summer vacation in northern Italy, at the Garda Lake. It’s rather unusual for me to write a pre-vacation post, yet it feels only appropriate to dedicate a post of its own to this story.
Back to where it began
In the middle of the booming 50’s my grandparents and their siblings set off for their first vacation ever; to Lago di Garda in Northern Italy. It must have been a crazy adventure and a hell of a journey. Driving the 1100km stretch seems as easy as pie compared to the mountains that needed to be crossed. The Alps are after all the largest mountain range in Europe with more than 100 summits above 4000m. Conquering it by car, in the 50’s. That must have taken a while. I can only imagine their excitement by the views and sceneries that revealed their beauty to this bunch of first time travellers.
I don’t know much more about their trip than that they found a newly opened camping place in the south of the Garda Lake to pitch their tent. Well… and that they spent horrible nights in a tent that was mainly filled by the sun lounger of my grand aunt and left few to 0 space for anyone else to be remotely comfy.
They kept on returning every year (I suppose without sharing a tent with my grant aunt though). So did my parents with my sister and me in tow, and now I am returning with my family.
Garda Lake Memories
I can not even describe what this place means to me. Yes, it is touristic as fuck. If you want the only honest advise I can give, maybe avoid July or August. I can’t even say if it is really that lovely as I believe it is; I am dazzled by memories, happiness, love, friendship and those sweet and precious childhood feelings that everyone should have. The vast majority of any memory that is left from my early life took place under the shady trees of Camping Bergamini..
Me wearing cherries as earrings, me playing Yahtzee with my aunt. My dad and me paddling in a blue rubber boat. Me throwing a dead fish on the belly of my sunbathing grandmother. You know, all the good things. The treasures that need to be kept safe once it’s time to pretend to be an adult.
A couple of years ago I have been there for the first time with my children. It was compelling to see how they picked up the threads exactly where the child version of me left them years ago.
Carvings and other perspectives
If you sit on the little wall at the harbour, at the very end, you still can find my name and the year 1997 carved in. When you look over the lake and it’s occasional milky ice blue colour, and the last foothills of the alps on the opposite bank, then time freezes still. Centuries, generations, time and being are merging. I am enjoying the view through my grandmothers eyes and yet through the eyes of my children. Maybe even through their children’s futuristic goggles that can do crazy shit on a wink.
But I can be certain,mountains can’t be moved after all, nor a lake. Nothing will change.