Getting lost in Castel Gandolfo

Nemi is a town with a lake well-known for its little and fresh strawberries. For weeks, my friends and I were raving about how excited we were to have some strawberry gelato and cake, swimming in the lake to burn it off.

We left in the early afternoon to take the train to the town to connect to a bus. That town is called Albano Lanziale which is near Lake Albano and to town Castel Gandolfo where previous popes would spend their summers. Yet, when we arrived we were so hungry we stopped by a little shop and grabbed some lunch. The grapefruit-strawberry soda was stupendous!

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Following, we sought tirelessly to find the bus, asking shopkeepers and passers-by with assistance but people pointed us in different directions. After about an hour, we decided we would make the 40 minute walk to Castel Gandolfo two towns over which had a lake, was popular, and would ensure us a good time. So we set on our walk, my dog in tow as we passed through parks, sketchy roads, were almost attacked, and smelled amazing flowers from a small-town market. Then we wound past lovely roads in forests and found peepholes in the cobblestone walls too!

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Arriving and with super tired feet, we took a rest in the Comune di Castel Gandolfo drinking some lime spritz at Baruffa CafeĀ over-looking the lake and children laughing. And honestly, looking for the actual pope’s residence we expected a medieval castle and slipped past it and into the humble Chiesa di San Tommaso. And after more winding roads and confusing intersections we made it to the base where Lake Albano spanned as far as my eyes could see. There were boats, many young people playing volleyball, and dogs splashing around the water. Even when I let Amelie off her leash, she ran for the water and after the mallard ducks until she was covered in the lake’s beautiful black sand and soaked in water. We sat marveling at how miraculous the mountains were, how powerful the valley we were in was, and how calm the weather was.

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We really loved it, including the part where we lost our way and made it here. It turned out to be better than expected and I even got strawberry gelato at the end of it.

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