I had been standing in line for over a half hour as the line moved glacially up the stairs to the entry platform to the cable cars, trapped in a tourist trap. The thermometer on the wall above the wide and stuffy staircase kept inching up and the sweat kept dripping off of me. I was lodged among a couple hundred tourists mostly Germans waiting to board the noted Malcesine-Monte Baldo Cableway http://www.funiviedelbaldo.it/en/# . Being of German descent, I fit right in (In Europe I’m often mistaken for a German) except I didn’t understand a word of what they were saying. The cableway offers sweeping views of Garda on its way up and back from Mt. Baldo.
Italy was suffering through its hottest summer in 130 years. My Italian sister-in-law in Milan advised us to go to Lake Garda, contending it would be cooler there with refreshing breezes. She was only partially right. The thermometer hovered at about 96F instead of 98 or 99 in Milan during the hottest part of the day, but the breezes just blew hot. We spent a lot of time in our air conditioned hotel room.
Lake Garda, Italy’s largest, and the surrounding mountains are, without a doubt, appetizing eye candy. The crowds of tourists, mostly German, made me want to escape. During the height of the tourist season, Germans vastly outnumber Italians in and around the northern end of Garda. They were mostly families and well behaved. My Italian in-laws and the guidebook warned me. Surrounded by German speakers in Italy, not so much fun. However, we had booked a couple of nights in Malcesine and I had researched thoroughly the Cableway with its panoramic views, hiking and mountain biking possibilities. I walked the 1.5 kilometers from our hotel to the cableway and long line to board. By the time I was jammed into the cable cabin with about 30 other hot and sweaty bodies, I was hot, tired and feeling somewhat cranky. The views were indeed spectacular, but marred by a heated and hazy atmosphere hovering over the lake and environs.
When I finally exited the cable cabin, cool mountain air greeted me. I stumbled around the summit for about 10 minutes enough to get some views and decided I had had enough. I caught the next car down the mountainside and headed back to the hotel just in time to collect my wife for a very late lunch. We spent the evening watching TV in our room. So much for Malcesine during the height of the tourist season. Had I not been so obsessed with riding the cable car, I might have heeded the guidebook’s well stated cautions. We checked out the next morning and drove south along the lakeshore before the temperature and traffic congestion climbed to annoying levels. It was good to get back to Italy.
Visit Lake Garda; just don’t go during the height of the tourist season.