Monday, 5 December 2011

Sirmione, Lake Garda, Italy

The sun is an orange ball suspended low in the sky, its color reflected across the ripples of the water as I sit on my balcony overhanging Italy’s Lake Garda. It is warm now, with just the hint of a breeze stirring the trees, but there is cooler weather on the way. Church bells are ringing, first close, then more distant, then from across the lake. Five o’clock mass.  On the flagstone terrace below me there are palm trees and lemon trees, bright geraniums in pots and masses of bougainvillea climbing old stone walls.

We arrived here around two this afternoon. After flying from Canada to Frankfurt, we had a few hours of sleep and a quick breakfast of rolls and coffee before continuing on by plane and train to Sirmione, this fourteenth century walled town on a finger of land jutting out into a lake that extends north all the way to the Italian Alps.

At our favorite small inn, the Marconi, Mama Visani tells us lunch is finished but she’ll make us something to tide us over until dinner. We sit on the terrace in the sun and enjoy a luscious thin crust pizza accompanied by light fruity white wine, while Carlo takes our bags up to our room.

Then, before even unpacking, we pull on our bathing suits and go down for a swim in the lake, surrounded by ducks and sea gulls.  The water is surprisingly warm for October. As we tread water a huge white swan glides majestically by us, not three feet away, totally unconcerned by our presence.

We sit on the dock in the warm sun long enough for our bathing suits to dry before we give into the sleepiness that is a sure sign of jet lag.

We awake at sunset. From our balcony we watch the ferry that plies the lake from one end to the other, chugging past on its way to the town dock. A mist is creeping across the lake. The other side is invisible now. Silver lake meets silver sky. One lone swimmer is in the water, catching what is probably the last swimming day of the year. The now dull sun, a pale reflection streaked with purple, is setting into a cloud bank behind the hills.  The promise of cooler, wetter weather tomorrow.

The birds have retreated to their night time places.

The French call this time of day l’heure bleu, the blue hour. Here it seems an appropriate term.

There are few places in the world where one can feel utterly at peace. For me this is one of them. I haven’t yet set a book here, but one is brewing in my mind.

Blair McDowell
Sirmione, Lake Garda, Italy
Written on 5 October 2011

Abigail's Christmas was awarded Four Hearts by Sizzling Book Reviews!
"Abigail’s Christmas is a sweet and special story that honors both love and the holidays." 

Watch for Blair’s newest book, Delighting in Your Company, to be released by Rebel Ink Press in March 2012.

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Blair McDowell