Sunday, 1 April 2012

Riva! Riva! Riva!

Rush hour in Riva

I can't help smiling as I sit here contentedly looking down the lake. The late afternoon sun shines on my face, its warmth comfortable and soothing and on the table beside me I have the choice of a stunning cup of coffee or a glass of crisp white wine from the perfectly chilled half bottle sitting on the white linen tablecloth. 

Beside me The Lovely G also sits quietly. We are on opposite sides of a small, circular table here beside the small harbour of Riva Del Garda, which as the name suggests is on Lake Garda in northern Italy. Behind us and the two rows of tables with their attentive staff is the Hotel Sole which has quickly become our place of choice of an afternoon or almost any part of the day on this short holiday. The 20 or so feet between my stretched out legs and the edge of the harbour allows people to pass quietly by, walking or sometimes on bicycle. It's a promenade, a place to see and be seen for the locals and tourists here. Around the corner of the hotel the tables continue, facing the harbour with its small but well fed population of ducks and three or four swans and the town square with its mediaeval plaza and tall watchtower. That too is a favourite spot but more so earlier in the day as by now it's in shade and the temperature in this last week of March cools quickly when the sun has gone. 

A waiter passes, nodding a quiet smile of recognition in our direction, weaving through the tables with a tray of coffee and drinks expertly balanced in one hand. The staff here are immaculately turned out in black trousers, white shirts, black dickie-bows and black waistcoats as they bustle efficiently to and fro even though the season hasn't yet started and they lend an extra air of dignity to the slightly faded elegance of the old Hotel. From the tables around us conversations spill out towards the water. English, Italian, German and Russian are the easiest to spot but there are more and I watch a family of oriental origin walk past in front of me. I like this.

It feels great.

My attention is momentarily caught by a squabble between two male ducks down on the water as one fends off a rival for the attentions of his mate and I watch the loser depart at frantic speed as he tries to stop his rival give him the indignity of a hard peck on the behind for his troubles. The water disturbed by their thrashing glints silver and black against the bulk of the water in the lowering sun and flares through my sunglasses causing me to look away and I take the opportunity to savour a sip from my coffee. I glance across at The Lovely G as she sits looking down the lake. Despite the sunglasses masking her eyes I can see a look of utter contentment and I smile and settle myself comfortably deeper into the wicker chair. It may be a long afternoon.

It's a tough job but somebody has to do it.

See you later.

Listening to:


DB Stewart said...

Like a postcard I could climb inside.

Twisted Scottish Bastard said...

You make it sound so peaceful and lovely.
We'll be looking forward to the pics when you get back.
I hope you and G had a lovely time before you head back to Scotland's delightful spring weathre.

Antares Cryptos said...

You described that feeling perfectly.

Indigo Roth said...

Ah Alistair! I loved this tale of contentment in foreign climes. Travel brings out the happy chap in me. Indigo

Alistair said...

Thanks folks. This little birthday surprise has given me yet another favourite wee corner of the world. The Lovely G has once again struck gold with her intuition and keen eye for a sweet deal off the internet.

More to come, no doubt. {including photos TSB}

Rebecca S. said...

Happy Birthday, Alistair! Yes, that's the wonderful thing about living where you do - you are so close to so many incredible places to visit. Sigh.
Reminded me of that Uma Thurman film 'A Month by the Lake' set on Lake Como.

Alistair said...

True - but so far away from so many of them too..... sigh.

Not seen that one but I do love her on-screen so I may very well hunt it down.


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