Sirmione, Lake Garda. A much needed day off. #2

Until yesterday, the weekend I’ve spent wandering by the lake with my friends felt close. I still had a permanent stupid smile on my face and I felt relaxed. That was because the weather kept warm and sunny and everything is better when it’s sunny. But today I woke up to a foggy, cloudy sky and suddenly the beach and the lake days felt distant.

So I needed to write this post. Add some lake, beach, and sunshine to this day, even if only virtually.

The second stop on our lake exploration was in Sirmione. It is a narrow peninsula that’s been fortified in medieval times. You enter the village from a castle and walk the narrow streets until the very end.

To this beach.

sirmione

This is the strangest beach ever. I adore it. It feels like being in a faraway land, on some desert, tropical island. If there were palms and coconuts the atmosphere would be complete! It’s nicknamed ‘Jamaica Beach’ for obvious reasons.

sirmione

sirmione

It is not a beach, actually, because there is no sand. Is basically a giant, enormous white, flat rock. Part of it is submerged in water, making this part of the lake incredibly clear.

sirmione

sirmione

Up there, there are the ruins a Roman villa built in the first century. Take a look here and here. It gives you the sense of how big the rock underwater is.

sirmione

sirmione

sirmione

sirmione

The village kept a lot of its medieval history, but as much as I adore everything related to medieval times, I think this place is the real peculiar thing about Sirmione. Medieval villages look similar, while nature is an amazing artist and creates unique things!

I really need to earn a ton of money and buy a new reflex, I miss taking pictures. Photographing with a cheap compact is no fun…

So, off to get some work done!

Malcesine, Lake Garda. A much needed day off. #1

 

malcesine castle

When I moved here from Milan, I almost knew nothing about lake Garda. I visited a couple times a friend who lived for a few years in the south part of the lake, but we didn’t do much lake life as they were all touch and go kind of visits. All I knew was that Lake Garda wasn’t as smelly and trafficked and stressing as Milan, and so I left. I actually literally ran away. I do love my hometown very much, but I can’t digest city life.

After moving, once Cat Cottage was kind of set, I dedicated most of my weekends to explore the area and I completely fell in love with the places.  I always thought that one day I was going to live near the sea, but really, Lake Garda has nothing to envy to the sea. The water is clearer than in most seashores, the beaches are always super clean, and there is so much to do and see.

Last week my long-time friend Erica and her family came finally to visit me. They had never been to Lake Garda before, which is kind of amazing given the fact that it is only an hour and a half drive from Milan. It’s strange how we tend to be super curious about what’s on the other side of the world, but we’re totally blind to what’s next door to us! Anyway, we all come from a rough time so we really needed this couple of days off… and what better place than a beach to get some breath back!

The first stop was Malcesine, which is almost at the top north of the lake. It’s a medieval little town, with narrow streets full of small shops and beautiful medieval houses. It was Sunday and it was quite packed with tourists, but not too much. The one thing I love about Malcesine is that it’s not so touristy, the medieval houses are lived in by real residents. I sold my Nikon to pay for vet bills and haven’t bought back a decent camera yet, so no pictures of the narrow streets.

malcesine

After lunch, we hit the beach. The temperature was warm, so we took our shoes off and dipped our feet in the water. There were people in bathing suits tanning, and a whole family took a long swim. I have always gone to the lake until late September, but the water is usually too cold in October to swim. But it was such a hot day that I was tempted to swim too. I would have done it, but I had no bathing suit with me! The nerves!

malcesine

malcesine

malcesine

malcesine

Look at the color of the water! To someone like me, it’s an irresistible temptation.

Lake Garda is always windy and because of this, there are all kinds of water sports available. Sailing is big of course. Strangely, there was not much wind until late in the afternoon, so there weren’t many sailboats.

The next day we went to Sirmione, on one of the strangest lake beaches of the world, but it deserves a post of its own!

C-C-Changes…goodbye Svatantyra.

The other day, in the blink of an eye, I deleted my site ‘Svatantyra’. It was my third website. Third’s a charm, they say. And in a way, it was.

Svatantyra is Sanskrit and it stands for the power of free will, the freedom to be yourself. I’ve been practicing Tibetan Buddhism and Yoga for many years, I’m fairly acquainted with a few Sanskrit terms, but this was a new one for me.

One evening I was searching for a word that could represent what I was going through during that time, something to use as a mantra during my meditations. I looked up in my Sanskrit vocabulary and there it was, my word. I fell in love with it instantly. The sound vibrated perfectly inside of me. You need to ‘feel’ your mantra and I really felt Svatantyra.

After a few days or maybe weeks, I decided to name everything I was doing at that moment ‘Svatantrya’. I started a new Etsy shop with handmade accessories and a website. While the name was perfect for the shop, something wasn’t quite right on the website. It didn’t really feel like me. Svatantrya is now my word, it is how I live, it is how I am building my life. But naming a website Svatantrya raised expectations, somehow. Writing personal stuff didn’t seem right and turning it into a profitable blog…it isn’t me.

The word Svatantyra helped me to understand that I want to express myself freely, in the real meaning of the word and to do this, I don’t need a fancy website. A free blog will do just as right.

Like I don’t need a fancy villa to be happy… in fact, I live at Cat Cottage, where everything feels Svatantyra. Svatantrya is a feeling, It can’t be a place. Nor a website, probably.

The shop will be still called Svatantyra because it is perfect. But the online space where I’ll dump my thoughts and inspirations can’t be anything else but Cat Cottage.

I started this blog months ago as I felt like a change was in the air. The other day this change became definitive. Who knows what’s in store in the future…I like to go with the flow. Cat Cottage is flowing!