Salo, Torbole and Arco

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.

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 apartment,”Casa Tortuga”, in the afternoon and immediately went to check out the environs. 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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Torbole 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. Which I guess was fine, in that our Italian is pretty terrible, too.


 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 on the water.  We were back to our previous routine of school in the morning and afternoon adventuring.  I added 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 nato-phonetic alphabet.  Our school room was located on an outdoor 2nd story deck off our apartment, 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. It was 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.
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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 pros in the sport.
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Now for RACING DRAGONS.  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. Our entire trip was anchored, 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 our friend 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) Exploring with 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 because we have toured many castles 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 of our 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 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 Venice. We loved this 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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