Salo, Torbole and Arco: Lake Garda, Italia.

IMG_20141002_130110-MOTIONArriving in Salo on the west coast of Lake Garda was a vision. Salo is a gorgeous town – which we would have never known, had Sophia not discovered it while researching her geography project in early September.  Her SALO Project pdf file is below:


After lunch we drove the last hour north to Torbole which was possibly one of the most beautiful drives we have ever taken. We arrived to our fabulous apartment,”Casa Tortuga”, in the afternoon and walked around to check out the town. Torbole is a small town at the tippy-top northeastern corner of Lake Garda and has the most beautiful mountain views all around.  As Sophia wrote in her report, “surrounded by mountains as if protected by them” IMG_20141002_153439

The cuisine here is pizza and pasta and is almost identical in menu selections at each and every restaurant.

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The town is filled with bike-riders, wind-surfers, rock-climbers, sailors and a lot of German tourists. As we are mostly blond-haired, blue-eyed, we were often spoken to in German.


 We toured  the 12th  century  Castle  D’Arco: an  independent town built inside the castle walls in Arco.  – a huge climb to the top and voila!  Frescoes were found recently in 1986… beautifully protected by layers of plaster walls.
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School was more structured this week, with Tony working everyday and on the water.  We were back to our previous routine of school in the morning and afternoon adventuring.  I added a strong element of art and poetry this week in addition to math, reading, critical thinking, art history and grammar.  We also learned military time and thanks to Simon and Pedro at a team dinner, the phonetic alphabet.  Our school room was on an outdoor 2nd story deck which was perfect for us. Also served as the laundry-drying area…
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In the afternoons, the kids have been rock climbing both on manufactured climbing walls and in nature and they LOVE it. Their greatest success was climbing the Via Ferrata. Via Ferratas are “iron roads” and were installed in the Dolomites and other mountains during both World War I and II to help troops to move through the area faster.  Absolutely so cool that they climbed these. Tony was both the idea-man and the organizer. He found a great guide for the kids and off they went. I would have kaboshed the whole thing mom-style so everyone was glad I stayed out of the way. I am better at organizing walking tours and afternoon art lessons.  🙂
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Climbing the manufactured walls were a great afternoon sport. The town recently hosted the Rock Climbing World Championships, so we met some real pros in the sport.
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Being able to greet Dad at the dock post-racing was really great for the kids. And Dad. 
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The DRAGON is a fun boat to race and I cannot imagine a more beautiful place to sail. Everyday in this little town is a new vista due to the ever-changing weather, clouds and fog. Sophia and Oliver bravely swam in the lake in spite of lacking towels or even swimsuits, for that matter. Four weeks in Europe will break you down; Next thing you know, you’re lake-swimming in your undies. 😉
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There were about 40 boats in this regatta. Team PowerPlay had a great week. Evening dinners were spent with the Dragon/PowerPlay team of Peter, Simon, Pedro and Pat. Our entire trip was anchored with knowing we would be seeing our wonderful friends on the last leg and it was all just perfect. After school was complete each day we would meet Pat for an excursion, a castle or harbor walk and we loved spending time with her. Peter and Pat have become important people in our children’s lives and we are fortunate to know them.
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(above left) Our dear friends, Peter and Pat in Trento, Italy.
On our last full day in Torbole, we drove about 30km north to a small town called Trento and hiked through the woods to see a beautifully-intact 12th century castle: Castle Beseño. It is the largest fortified castle in the area and was quite interactive, which is not common (I say this only because we have toured many a castle in Fr/Sp/It and I have never seen this). There were places where you could practice cross-bow shooting and try on medieval knight armour. For more: Castel Beseño
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We spent a good deal post-school time drawing the mountains. This is a really, really cool place and I hope is not our last visit here.
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We left the castle, had a small snack in the mountainside and enjoyed an impromptu art show of all the kids’ drawings from the week in Torbole.
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Touring the Castle Beseño. Stopping for a cool drink while Peter regaled us with wonderful stories. 
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Saying goodbye to Torbole and our friends there was hard to do.
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We decided at the last minute to forego the remainder of our European voyage to Istanbul and also Venice. We loved the little town on Lake Garda and sometimes, enough is just perfect. We created some unforgettable memories, learned a LOT, made new friends and experienced pure magic with our children. We had achieved what our dear friend Connie Horan calls, “abbondanza”.  Abundance.  
Time to go home.

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