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Travels Through Lake Garda, Italy

“Your bill sir,” the waiter whispered with a gentle murmur of broken English. He spoke with a smile. He either expected a tip or had just broken wind. The consequences of the latter were too grim to bear so I settled up quickly and retreated to the waterfront. Lake Garda glistened in the moonlight, perfectly still but for the faint ripples from passing boats. Illuminations danced like fireflies upon the open water, enticing you into the lake to view the town from a different perspective.

Across the water the imposing presence of the Dolomite Mountains were just visible in the silver moonlight. At the base of one of the peaks the lights of a solitary hotel shone, a mere insignificance set against such a commanding backdrop. I continued along the waterfront. Everywhere was alive with vibrant bars and romantic restaurants bursting at the seams. Tourists and locals mingled beside the banks of the lake, enjoying the friendly ambience.

Courting couples filled every nook and cranny, tongues entwined and hands all over one other. I wanted to vomit. “You like cruise of Lake Garda sir?” queried a rather shady looking character. He looked like a second-hand car salesman eager to get his hands on my money. “How much?” I asked half-heartedly. “Only four euros. We back in twenty minutes.” What the heck I thought and handed over the money. At least it would get me away from all these sex maniacs. I took my seat on the boat.

In front of me a courting couple had tongues entwined and hands all over one other. “Oh Johnny,” she said. “Oh Shaz,” he said. “Oh Christ!” I said and quickly found another seat. We soon found ourselves in open water, gently swaying in the still night air. But for some idle chatter the silence was mesmerising. It was only out here, detached from the village and the modern world, that you could appreciate the seductiveness of Lake Garda. The lights from the village offered the only hint of civilisation. This was nature as intended. Back ashore it was late and noticeably cooler.

I made my way from the jetty and headed back to the hotel for some much needed shut-eye. The route back led through the high street. Despite the late hour, revellers were queued outside the more popular bars and restaurants. “You like a drink sir?” enticed a local bar owner intent on striking some custom. “Not tonight mate,” I muttered and trudged wearily onward into the night. “Free drink for you and lots of pretty ladies,” he called out behind me. I turned around. The night was still young!.


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