October 22, 2016


Press HERE to see a slideshow
of Verona (80+ photos).

The Arena
The Arena IMG_0932

Church of Santa Anastasia

Church of Santa Anastasia IMG_0967

Outside Castelvecchio

Outside Castelvecchio IMG_1014

In case you forgot, Verona is the place where Romeo and Juliet met, fell in love, and died. Perhaps that is why it has become such an important tourist attraction. The large number of tourists, mostly Germans, totally surprised us.

We arrived on Sunday afternoon and made our way to a nice one-bedroom apartment. It has ended up being our most expensive booking on AirBnB, but given the popularity of Verona it was the best we could do. The manager of the flat was the Truly Agency. They were not totally prepared for us. We make it clear that we MUST have broadband internet. Once again there were problems, which were temporarily resolved the next day. Then the problem re-emerged and their solution was to move us to a different apartment. I use the word "move" rather loosely, we packed our own things, had to move food we had gotten for the week, then walked almost one mile to the agency, then another quarter-mile to the new apartment. Since then the place has been fine with a great internet connection.

Castle Scaligero in Sirmione
Castle Scaligero IMG_1071
Bill in Sirmione
Bill in Sirmione IMG_1607

We started with a visit to the city's central square, Piazza Bra, which has a Roman arena in the square. The next day we returned to the Piazza Bra. From there we walked to Piazza Erbe and on to the first of many churches. This one was the Duomo Cathedral of Santa Maria Matriculate. Before our week ended we visited many more. The best was the Church of Santa Anastasia. You will want to see our many photos of the churches.

One day we went to the Castelvecchio. Historically, the castle was mainly a military compound. Today, it is museum full of old, fairly uninteresting religious art. But the castle itself is beautiful with many battlements with crenellation. From the castle emerges a bridge of similar architectural forms that crossed the River Adige.

Yesterday, we took a day trip to Sirmione. Sirmione is on Lake Garda. We had heard that it was a popular place. We wrongly assumed that this would be a quiet little village with a few tourists. There were more than two thousand in a fairly small place. The area is thick with hotels and restaurants. We explored the peninsula for a few hours then stopped for a delightful lunch. I had several perch fillets from Lake Garda and Betty had a beautiful plate of lasagna. By the way, in Italy all sit-down restaurants have a cover charge of $2 to $4 per person. That means one does not stop for a coffee or even a beer, unless you plan on eating and drinking a lot. We have seen this from time-to-time in other places, but we always find the practice disgusting.

Tomorrow we will travel to Ravenna. You can expect a posting from Ravenna in a week.

Along the River Adige
Along the River Adige IMG_0930

Posted by bill at 04:58 AM | Comments (1)

October 18, 2016


Press HERE to see a slideshow
of Venice (90+ photos).

Bill Over the Grand Canal
Bill Over the Grand Canal IMG_1514

Betty on the Riva

Betty on the Riva IMG_1564

Another Canal

Canal IMG_0867

We traveled by train to the Mestre Station. I just want to rave about the Italian Train System. The system runs on time, is not expensive costing less than buses. Even stopping at many small cities, the time from Trieste to Mestre was less than two hours. We will use the trains through out our Italian journey.

We booked a room in Mestre for three nights. Mestre was once a separate town, but is now a large, on-land neighborhood of Venice. The room was nothing fancy but adequate with a private bath. The B&B provided something of a breakfast. We arrived on Thursday morning. We took the bus into the old city that everyone knows as Venice, arriving in the early afternoon after a 30-minute bus ride.

The weather was not great, being very overcast and a bit cool. We had about four hours to explore. We walked to Piazza San Marco often getting bit lost, while stopping along the way to walk into an ancient church or to view a little canal. We were getting turned around because Google maps just not work well in a city of very narrow walking streets with four-story thick walled buildings looming on each side of the street. On the Riva next to San Marco, we finally purchased a city map. Every other city will provide the visitor a map, but not in Venice. The map was EXTREMELY useful. As we were leaving Venice about 4 pm, the mist and the light rain began to fall.

The next day, Friday, it rained ALL day long. We took the day off, trying to stay warm and catch up on the news of the world.

Finally Saturday was a beautiful, warm, sunny day. We covered some of the same ground that we did on Wednesday. But we made it to several new parts of the old city. At the end of the day at 5:00 pm, we returned to the Church of San Rocco. Here we were greeted to an hour-long concert of organ, trumpet and a soprano.

On Sunday, we left the Mestre Station for a ride lasting a bit over one hour. We stopped in Verona, Where we will spend a week and which I will write more about next time.


Gondola on the Riva
Gondola on the Riva IMG_0927

Posted by bill at 10:29 AM | Comments (1)