We said goodbye to our friends at the Villa Marsili and left Cortona heading north through Arezzo and onto the A-1 Autostrada, past Florence and Bologna, stopping one night in Sirmione: a tiny town at the end of a long skinny neck of land that juts a couple of miles out into the waters at the southern end of Lake Garda, Italy's largest lake.
We stayed here three years ago and this time picked a little place in the old town, about a block from Scaliger castle with its Ghibbeline battlements on top. This is an unusual port fortification dating from the 13th century. We had time for a nice dinner at an outdoor place while throngs of tourists, mostly Dutch and German in this part of Italy, strolled by. A stroll out to the very tip of the peninsula revealed a 2,000 year old Roman villa ruin, just maybe once the home of the poet Catullus, who wrote about this place two millennia ago, proving that people are drawn to nice places forever.
Our turn-in date for the car in Munich was looming, so next day, we headed for the Alps, stopping for lunch with a favorite client in Bolzano. Crossing the mountains this time was a lot less dramatic than the Stelvio and Innsbruck was soon in the mirrors.
There's only a short stretch of unrestricted Autobahn between the Austrian border and the slow traffic of Munich, meaning it was my last chance to let the M3 stretch its legs. Unfortunately, a guy in a Mercedes wagon was stuck in the fast lane like a tick on a hound, and wouldn't move over to let me past, no matter what I or a local driver in another Mercedes wagon did. I saw a solid 120 mph, but had been hoping for considerably more.
It being our last afternoon, we decided to spend a little time in the heart of old Munich, so turned off the guidance and just followed the map to the middle of town. This is the historic Marienplatz, and we got to watch the antique mechanical marvel of the clock tower strike five with its jousting knights on horseback and dancing burghers - all mechanical animations. Way too many people for our liking, though, so two hours here was plenty. We spent our last evening in a nice hotel not far from the airport where the barman was Italian and was delighted to have a chance to speak some to us strangers. It was a nice last touch of Italy.
Everything got re-packed in our two rollaboard bags and we sweated out a missed appointment next morning at LogInOut at the airport. When the apologetic staff finally did show up, the turn-in process took about seven minutes instead of the normal thirty, and the easy walk to the terminal got us to the BA lounge in plenty of time to make the flight.
We both managed a few hours of sleep on the return direct flight from London to San Diego where we were met by our nine-year–old niece, who was every bit as glad to see us as we were to see her.
The BMW is consigned on a ship sailing July 2 from Bemerhaven, that's due in Port Hueneme on July 27, meaning I may get it back in time for my annual blast up Pacific Coast Highway to Monterey for the big classic car weekend in mid-August. That would be a really nice cap to a great trip.
This whole European Delivery thing is pretty addictive, as the manufacturers meant it to be. I'm already hoping the economy improves enough to do another one sooner than three years from now – Karen's Volvo S80T6 could stand replacement…....
Not a picture on the wall, but rather, the view out the window in Sirmione, looking toward the castle.
Purple bougainvillea have taken over this shop wall in Sirmione.
Through the looking, err, water glass at dinner in Sirmione.
Visiting American service families needed a photog for an action portrait near the Roman ruin.
Client Claudia joined us for lunch in Bolzano.
The back-breaking work of harvesting grapes on these steep slopes in Italy's mountainous Alto-Adige make the wine even more special.
The gothic architecture of Munich's Marienplatz was nice to see - once.
Was this really three weeks ago?
The papers and one key was all we had to leave with the shipping agent to get the car home. A total of 2,052 miles, a lot of dirt and dead bugs, but otherwise, not a mark on the car.
Last edited by boothguy; 07-29-2011 at 12:42 PM.