Quote of the week:
Summer is finally here! There’s been a few rainy and cold days this past week but as of Saturday the weather has been great. It actually now feels like June even though we’re in the third week of the month. I’ve only got 2 more weeks here in Chiari and then a week in Salerno (south of Naples) and then I’ll be flying back to London to stay with my sister for a few weeks. It will be very sad to leave here but I’ve got lots of fun plans for the summer and then I’ll be back here in October so it’s not all bad. Summer has always been my favourite season of the year, it’s just a very happy part of the year. This year will be no different with a few trips away (in the UK and abroad), my cousins wedding and finally meeting up with friends who I haven’t seen for ages.
This hasn’t been a particularly busy week, I’ve mainly been relaxing and enjoying the weather in Chiari. I spent a day visiting Desenzano del Garda and a day visiting the Floating Piers at Lago di Iseo (completely amazing!).
I went to Desenzano del Garda on Monday and spent about 5 hours there in the sunshine and by the lake – and I even discovered a few new places! Usually when I visit I stick to the lake edge and around the harbour but this time I wandered towards the rear of the town and came across beautifully coloured houses…
In my wanderings I came across a castle that I didn’t know even existed! It was closed but you could walk around the walls and it had an amazing view of the town and the lake…
I spent time by the lakeside of course and even had a lay on the little beach. The pictures don’t do it justice of how hot it was, it was very cloudy but so so humid and I even got a little sunburnt!
The rest of the week I spent quite a bit of time around Chiari photographing doors for the new project I’ve started. My aim is to capture 1000 doors in any of the places I may visit/live. Here are a few of my favourite ones so far…
Find more photos at @1000doorsproject 🙂
Yesterday (Monday) we went to Lago di Iseo to see Christo’s Floating Piers which was absolutely incredible. Before we get into the photos and our experience, here’s a bit of information…
The Floating Piers was conceived by American-Bulgarian artist Christo together with his then wife Jeanne-Claude in 1970. In 2014, Christo found Lake Iseo to be the most inspiring location for the project. The project uses 220,000 polyethylene cubes, 200 anchors and 100,000 square meters of fabric to cover 3 km of piers and 2.5 km of pedestrian streets. It starts at the small village of Sulzano on the east side of Lago di Iseo connecting it with Monte Isola, the biggest lake island in Europe. From there it then connects the island with the smaller island (private residence) of Isola di San Paolo. The project is completely free as Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s goal has always been to create works of art of joy and beauty, without charging any viewing fees.
There has been months of speculation and excitement surrounding the exhibition that is only actually open for 2 weeks, albeit 24/7! When I first arrived at the end of February they were mid-way through building it so it’s taken months and months to get to this stage. The problem with it being at Sulzano is that it is a very small village with only one road and one railway connecting it to the other villages on the lake. Authorities closed the roads leading to Sulzano to make way for hourly shuttle buses or pedestrians walking there.
We decided to take the first train at 05.55am as we had heard that after that people were stopped boarding the trains as they were too full. We got to Brescia train station at about 05.30am and found the platform full of people! We thought it wouldn’t be so busy but apparently people had had the same idea as us. By the time we got nearer the lake the train was full and they stopped people getting on – at 06.20am!! I doubt anyone trying to get there during the day would be able to.
Anyway after an hours train journey we made it to Sulzano where the fabric started practically the second we stepped of the train! It’s a strange kind of fabric, very similar to seat belt material with a little more flexibility and in bright orange. And it was everywhere….literally…every street we came across whether on the island or in Sulzano was covered in it!
When we first got onto the pier it was only 7.15 am and it was in the shade so it was a little chilly and they hadn’t cleaned the sides yet but it was quite quiet. Later on in the day it was very busy so you couldn’t really get the full experience, but for that hour in the morning we really felt peaceful and calm.
It was great for me to finally visit the island, as its something I’ve wanted to do since I first came here. It’s not very big, only around 5 sq miles with around 1,700 inhabitants but it was really quaint and pretty. Peschiera Maraglio is the biggest (and really the only) village on the island with tiny hamlets dotted around all sides of the island.
After walking through the village and along the road running around the edge of the island we got to the biggest stretch of pier. Isola di San Paolo is owned by the Beretta family (famous for their gunmaking) and is private property so the pier just ran around the outside walls of the island and back to the main island.
From here you could see both piers shining brightly in the sunshine (it was around 30 degrees at only 10.30am!). The pier itself was very wide and very stable with only slight movements when boats passed.
Christo reccommended to walk barefoot in order to get the full experience, which we did! The pier itself was slightly spongy and a little slippy when wet but very comfortable to walk on. The fabric wasn’t tight to the pier so moved around when you walked, adding to the effect of walking on water.
After walking around for about 5 hours we took the train back to Brescia, which surprisingly wasn’t too busy. It was an amazing morning and definitely something everyone in the area should see if they can make it in the short time period. Personally, I think its a lot of work for it to only be open for 2 weeks but then again you have to think of the people living in the villages and the disruption it must cause them.
I will definitely be going back before the 2 weeks is up and I would love to see it at night, I think it would be whole different experience. Also this week, seeing as the weather is supposed to reach the mid-30s I’m sure I’ll be heading back to Lago di Garda too.
Ciao for now 🙂
Head to my Life in Italy category to read about my life here from the beginning.
Also I wrote an extra blog this week about flying affordably in Europe, read it here.