Jul 2, 2014

Live for the moments you can't put into words: Europe continued

Lake Garda

Circolo in Torbole

Lake garda mtn view

My magical place.... For most, Hawaii or a tropical island would feel like their magical spiritual escape... right now, for me, it is here in Lake Garda. I don't know what it is about this place but it definitely has me excited from the inside. I feel its air and spirit like it is part of me, I am full of energy and just want to go explore the water and mountains, as well as the old historical buildings. I love the Italian way and people, although I may need a little detox from gelato, wine, and pasta.... I could not not enjoy these things to their fullest while in Italia...

This lake and area is full of outdoor potential. I mean there is everything here other than SURF surf... There is mtn biking, trekking, climbing, skiing, road riding, windsurf, kayaking, sailing, etc etc... the list goes on. I will focus my memories surrounding our adventures on the lake as it is the reason I found myself at Lake Garda in the first place. This is already a windsurf haven with consistent winds everyday, safe surroundings, and the town stoke surrounding the sport. After playing on our SUPs for the last week we found out this lake has the potential to also be a downwind mecca... The wind is consistent, fun, and manageable and the water a refreshing temperature. In the mornings you can enjoy calm waters if that is your thing, we found a beautiful waterfall while it was calm and explored the shorelines that are full of hidden treasures. If wind is your thing then all you may need to do is wait a little and it will come. We enjoyed downwinding in a variety of ways which is too rad and was so fun to experiment with. We did the normal driving shuttle/drop off; we paddled up the lake in the calm, had lunch, coffee, and waited for the wind and then downwinded home; we just plain old paddled upwind then downwind and then last of all we took the ferry from Torbole to Limone (upwind) and then paddled downwind back to Torbole... AMAZING!

We found a waterfall photo by Cristian Dessi

found an old tunnel in the mtns on my bike ride....
Almost every night we got a lightning show, one night in particular it was spectacular. We were driving back from this amazing little restaurant in the mountains called: and we HAD to stop to enjoy the rain, the lightning, the backdrop, we were mesmerized with the power of the sky. When it showered on us during the day we were blessed with rainbows galour!

We spent most of our time exploring the towns of Torbole and Riva Del Garda but also ventured out to Arco, Bolognano, Limone, and Malcesine. We also did a photo/film shoot up in the mountains where I got to test out some mtn bike trails and enjoy the unbeatable views.

Flora Gelato was the best

Our home for the week was La Colombera (Riva Del Garda)
I totally have a little girl crush on Paulo, the owner of this magical sanctuary. It is a restaurant, hotel, and winery, rich in history and full of delicious goods and kind people. I love Paulo's spirit and well his eyes as well.. hahaha.. I MUST return here, hopefully with Andrew, hmmm maybe when alpine skier superstar AKsel, Paulo's friend returns for his annual summer training camp... haha.. But seriously some pretty amazing moments were spent here from eating some fine fine italian deliciousness, drinking some of the most unbelievable wine and having the most romantic and rich chocolate dessert one can have... (I really needed Andrew here for that one:)) We watched Italy lose in the World Cup:( I was cheering for you Italia, with all my heart along with the rest of the country. I learned about the production of grappa, a strong after diner drink that maybe I had one too many of this past week:) We also used some of their common bikes to bike into town and get us some of the finest gelato there is at Flora (Riva Del Garda). Sunset Power was my staple gelato filled with goodness such as Acai, mango, strawberries, blueberries and more it somehow felt justifyable to eat because it seemed just as healthy as a freshly squeezed juice smoothie... For my second scoops I mixed in some different flavors each time to test out different options.. This place was constantly busy and totally amazing, gelato ice cream will never taste the same again... not until I return to lake Garda and Flora for more:)

views from la Colombera

Arco, the climbing town surrounding Lake Garda. I would like to come back here to explore the climbing area even though climbing is not my main outdoor pursuit anymore... it just seems to be too amazing to pass up. Here we walked around town and saw the church Helgo got married in and visited another amazing restaurant.

La Allegro?(cant remember exact name) (Arco). This restaurant has history.. For me growing up in Canada all this old stuff, rich in stories and history is pretty unbelievable... This particular buildin has paintings on the wall that have been uncovered dating 3000 years ago: my mind was blown to bits....
The food once again was amazing. In Italy, you eat a lot. We always have bread on the table, you start with starters that are usually cold and meaty ( I am starting to become a met eater....haha...love it), then you move onto some pasta dishes, then you have your meat/hot vegetable dishes... during all of this you enjoy wine and water to wash it all down with... THEN there is dessert, cafe, and grappa....

the crew Alessandro, Sonni, Helgo, me, Cristian

The meat restaurant in the mountains.... It was sooo cool... We even had one of the most amazing thunderstorms on the way home from this beautiful place

Talking about coffee. I love that all the rest stops/gas stations actually have coffee bars where you go order an espesso drink it at the bar and then keep moving... the whole concept is so different then back home where you bring your mug and get a BIG coffee/Americano and drink it in the car for the next hour or so.... different is fun for sure.. I will miss having espesso in Italy with Italians... haha

Bolognano (Marcos) restaurant
For my last dinner in Lake Garda, after a long drive back from Croatia and before a long travel schedule home, Helgo took Cristian and I to one of his old favorite restaurants close to an old home of his. Again, this restaurant had character and the owners were too kind. I definitely enjoyed my last meal before heading home in style.

A song that reminds me of my time at Lake Garda with Sonni, Cristian, Helgo, and Alessandro (thanks for the song Alessandro)

Croatia Race Report: SUPER Surfmania Elite SUP race
We had planned for me to do a clinic on the weekend but very poor weather and a small turnout meant we were forced to cancel... So instead, Cristian, Helgo, and I took an adventure to Porec, Croatia for a new elite SUP race, SUPER Surfer Challenge. I was pretty stoked to check out a new country, race a point to point race on the Adriatic Sea, and meet a new community of SUP enthusiasts.
The race was a 13km point to point race from Porec to Lanterna. We first rounded a small island and then followed the coast to the finish. I really enjoy point to point races for distance racing, as it really feels like you are on a journey and going somewhere for all that hard work and effort. Also, when you are in a new place point to point races allow you to see new, exciting aspects of the area you are paddling where otherwise you might not get to experience. Needless to say I was stoked on that aspect of the race and understand the logistical difficulties it could produce but in my opinion always worth it. The race was also on the warm, clear, and beautiful Adriatic Sea which I have never been on or in.

There weren't too many of us racing as it was the first year for this elite race but there was still some good competition and great potential to make it a larger race. I still paddled hard throughout the race as a race is a race... and it is an amazing excuse to give it your all... if anything it is always great training.... I had a great start and pushed to try and be with the top group of men, and I was for a bit until the person I was behind fell behind and before I could really react the front group was already a distance in front. So, it turned out to be a race with just me and the sea. It was pretty fun though, with some different bumps and waves to keep us occupied and focused. I was pretty much following the boys in front while trying to get some glimpses of my surroundings. I was on the 14ft SIC XPROlite model and it was perfect for the conditions. I finished in first for the women and 5th overall! Helgo won the Open class at the age of 62 (this man is a machine)... too proud! Following the race and awards helgo, Cristian and I went to explore the old town of Porec. This place is full of old old buildings... it was amazing to walk around the small side streets with crooked stone roads... we managed to find a sweet little restaurant for food but the best part of the evening was the locals “pub” we found... where we enjoyed maybe one too many grappa's! We were sitting outside on the corner of an old cobbley narrow street.... a little bit surreal coming from Canada. Loved it.
Thanks for the great race and giving us a reason to explore a little piece of Croatia.
finish with Helgo (he won the open race) i won the women elite photo: Cristian Dessi

top three ladies photo by Cristian Dessi

Old town Porec

Harbour Porec

cool old stuff Porec

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Now, it is time to head back home to Canada for some more SUP adventures in the interior!

photo by Cristian Dessi

Live, love, laugh,..DREAM!



Dental Office Sayulita said...

molto bello! Ciao Lina.

Helgo Lass said...

Thank you Lina for this nice article which make me understand that we did everything right.
Mission completed.

Lake Garda's SUP future is the Downwind and we explored it.
I am sure in few years from now Lake Garda will explode to become a SUP Downwind Mekka in Europe.
Hope to see it happen that the first Big Downwind Race in EUROPE will choose Torbole.

Europe is full of places like this. But Lake Garda is a very special one.

A video clip will come out soon of this adventure and will show the SUP conditions and the beauty of the Lake.
The video will also explain more about the life's of the two Water Women Sonni and Lina. Stay tuned..................:)

Thanks to:
- The actors: Lina, Sonni,

- Photo and Camera men Cristian, Alessandro

- Circolo Surf Torbole, our base
- Paolo @ La Colombera our home and best food
- A la Lega, Ristorante Arco
- Pie di Castello, Ristorante
- Gelateria Flora Riva del Garda
- Walter @ Mobi Dick 2, Riva del Garda
- Salvatore @ Ristorante Marosi Bologniano-Arco
- Andrea @ Carpentari Bike Center
- Mikel @ Shaka Surf Shop
- SIC Maui
- Jens @ Flow Sports Europe
- Antony, Braly, Brad @ Flow Sports International
- and to whom I forgot, sorry.....

- Special thanks goes to Lina, you are amazing Athlet.
Thanks to your positive spirit and for all your help and your nice wording on your blogspot. Actually you are a very good writer as well:)