Saturday, 30 April 2016

Around and about Lago Trasimeno

Monday 18th April, 2016 - Thursday 21st April, 2016.

Gentile, relaxed, civilised, soporific - the shores of Trasimeno are certainly less frenetic than most places in Italy. Our sense that life here was being lived at an old fashioned, more leisurely pace may partly have been the result of where we stayed. Camping Kersaal is situated in the grounds of a small lakeside boutique hotel. The facilities for campers are superb; it's definitely glamping.

Trasimeno - a haven of peace
Hotel Kersaal
It's stylish dining room overlooking the lake
lakeside pitches in the hotel grounds.

Our spot
One odd aspect of this mix of luxury hotel and campsite is the way you have to pass by the rather stylish restaurant, or couples having a romantic glass of Prosecco on their bedroom balcony as you hoik a Thetford cassette or pile of washing-up towards the sanitary block. In the end I started to take the long way round, not wishing to spoil some romantic dinner for two at sunset with the vision of a portly, overladen Englishman staggering towards the WC Kimik.

A romantic balcony with sanitary block view...
From the site you get a lovely view towards the nearby town of Passignano sul Trasimeno, especially at sunset. The place itself is a pleasant mixture of lakeside resort and medieval hill village, though oddly enough it has the substantial remains of an old aircraft factory next to the station. Given the lakeside location it did not surprise me to learn that in the interwar period Macchi seaplanes were produced here.

Sunset view
A view across the lake to Castiglione
Passignano's medieval gate

view from the ramparts
The old town hall
and an abandoned seaplane factory.
Otherwise the village is a good place to wander around and has shops selling regional produce. The butcher was keen to point out to is that they were HIS sausages we were buying.

The lake has a cycle way running around the eastern side. Most of the way it  runs in parallel with the railway track near the Arezzo to Perugia dual carriageway. Though you get nice lake views, it's not exactly peaceful. Moreover, the unmetalled track passes quite a few houses and is used by agricultural vehicles. Gill was almost squashed by a local exiting his drive somewhat carelessly. After the incident we were more vigilant, not just because of traffic, but also the potholes and gravelly surface add to the hazards. Nevertheless, we had two interesting rides, northwards towards Tuoro, and south in the direction of San Feliciano. 

Lakeside cycle tracks
There is a memorial sculpture garden at Tuoro commemorating the Battle of Trasimeno in the 3rd Century BC where Hannibal's invading army defeated a large Roman force in one of antiquities bloodiest battles. Contemporary sources report that 15,000 soldiers perished in a matter of a few hours. The memorial itself, erected in the 1980s is a drab affair in a faintly ludicrous modern style. 

Not exactly the Angel of the North is it?
On our final day we decided to take a boat trip to Isola Maggiore, the largest of the three islands on the lake. It feels lost in time. The village once had a permanent population, a mixture of fishermen and people who worked in a nineteenth century villa of palatial proportions. It had been remodelled from a former monastery, but now it is fenced off and falling to bits. There were lots of walks through the densely wooded island. 

Trasimeno lake cruiser
Passignano ferry terminal
Woodland walks on Isola Maggiore

The island's ancient fishing village.

All of this would have been peaceful and idyllic but for the fact that we were joined on the boat by over 100 teenagers on a trip from a local school. As two ex-teachers it's always interesting to observe fellow professionals. We could sympathise as they anxiously counted heads to check they had not left anyone behind. Above all I was impressed by the informal but mutually respectful relationship between staff and students. On the whole the young people's behaviour was excellent. After an invasion of over 100 teenagers into the area on the island with a gelateria and food shops there was no litter. Amazing!

our youthful fellow passengers
Gelateria invasion
The plan is to start out journey homewards after visiting the Cinque Terre and Provence. The weather is not looking good, thundery rain for the next few days. We need blue sky to see Cinque Terre at its best. So we've postponed the turnaround for a bit and are heading off tomorrow to visit Perugia.


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