Day 8 Continued, Verona

The City of Verona is the 2nd time we've needed to leave the coach outside the city limits, and seek alternative transportation.  Well actually, the 3rd time.  Once we were able to walk, once we took the train in Pisa and here...apparently the city bus is the transportation.  We're milling about the parking lots while our guide pays for the 40 of us to get in line for the ride into the town center.
Verona has a working Coliseum.  The Arena di Verona built back in the 1st century is still used for life performance, Opera's.  It's located in the Piazza Bra
It's quite large.  We did not tour, but ventured on.  
Verona has interesting architecture throughout the city, but is probably best known for Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.  However..........
 Juliet's balcony....What a tourist trap.  Our guide said...I have to take you there, it's part of the "deal".  Then you're on your own, meet back at...whatever our appointed time was to get the city bus again back to the parking to our comfy coach.  The wee little balcony you see, speculation has it or perhaps folk lore that this could have been "The Balcony".  However, there is proof, or documentation to support that.  It's crowded, as you can see, the courtyard with people reminded me of the scene from Animal House when the drum major leads the band into a dead end alley.
There is no plague, or historic marker to tell you this is something special.  There's lots of notes and graffiti to the left under vines.  The bricks were getting destroyed by notes left..often stuck on with chewing gum.  So the city decided they needed to do something and put up wooden boards and when a panel is full of notes, they remove it and add another panel.  You're suppose to leave a note to Juliet.  It's suppose to be romantic.  One right up indicated you could tour the house and stand on the balcony, another article indicated they no longer permit people to stand on the balcony.
 These two pictures aren't photo's I took, but those on line (wiki), where you better get a feel for the graffiti.
We spent maybe 3 minutes there.  What a huge disappointment.  There used to be a bronze statue of Juliet, and it was said to be good luck if you rubbed her breast (not making this up, honest).  The statue was getting worn down so was removed and is in a museum.

We decided to explore a bit and Wondered who was being honored here.

Google telle me it's Flavio Tosi, the Major of Verona.  Apparently he served the community/area in multiple capacities.  The assumption is, he must have been well liked.

Verona is a medieval town, and it might have been worthwhile to spend time looking around at the buildings, a Basilica, but we're now off on our comfortable coach making our way to Venice!

PLEASE leave me a comment when you come visit, so I know you were here. Your visits and comments are very special to me.

Day 8, Wine at Contadi Castaldi

Yawning, as you can see by our bulletin board note...we're scheduled for an early morning departure from Lake Maggiore.  Bags out at 6:45, breakfast starts at the same time and we're to be on the coach at 7:45 am, ready for departure.

Welcome to day 8.  Our tour guide posted signs like this every day on the bulletin board at each hotel, so incase we forgot what he told us, we always had a reference.

Our itinerary for the day says we're following the southern fringes of the European Alps to the vineyards, close to the shores of Lake Iseo.


The purple twins for the day, perked right up at the sound of wine, vineyard, and snacks.  See how ready Jeanie and I are!  We've shaken off the sleepy early morning start and have disembarked the coach to Que up for wine tasting.  
But, before we get to drink the wine, this good looking guy wanted to talk to us.  LOL  He really did have all the ladies attention, as he described the process and location (see maps behind him), about this vineyard.


 We continued on with the promise getting to taste the wine.

 He even showed us how they rotate the bottles, explaining as the process continues the need to tip the bottle more comes into ply and these special wine racks help accomplish that task....even though they are manually turned...one bottle at a time.


 Back upstairs, I spot some rather large wine glasses!
 The tasting room was quite pretty with flowers about
Glasses and bottles a plenty lined up....can we have a drum roll.

We enjoyed our tour and wine tasting at Contadi Castaldi, and now it's time to board the coach and make our way to Verona,  O Romeo, Romeo wherefore art thou Rome?

PLEASE leave me a comment when you come visit, so I know you were here. Your visits and comments are very special to me.

Day 7 Lake Maggiore Continued

Day 7 Lake Maggiore Continued.  In the previous post you saw pictures of The Church, and The Square.  Though these are quite faded, I thought it still nice that they exist.


I did photo graph all 13 stations, but will share just a few.

I spotted this in this square and photographed, so I could look it up later.  Giovanni was in an Alpine regiment, and was taken prisoner by The Germans/Nazi's.  He died in a prison camp and 73 years later he was repatriated here in Baveno, the place of his birth.  I believe the sign was to let people know the ceremony would be here the following Sat.  We were there on Sept 23rd, and the ceremony to honor him was the 29th of September.

**While this video is in Italian, you can see how pleased town folks were to honor him and his family.  He was awarded a medal.  It appears the ceremony took place in the little church we visited (please see previous post).

What a nice explore we had!

We met up with the tour group again in the lobby of the hotel at the appointed hour to disperse for dinner.  Menu's had been passed around the coach on our way to Lake Maggiore and folks selected where they wanted to dine (included meal), based on the 3 menu's.  


Our group was the largest of 3 groups, but I'm not sure based on the reports from each group about dinner we choose as well as the other 2 groups.  They had some outside tables, but our reservations took us indoors.
To a back room with no windows, and it was quite stuffy.  We did finally get them to turn on the fans.  We were sitting at one really long table which made it difficult to talk well with everyone.  It wasn't a great meal, but wasn't bad either.  We had a really good time with our group.  But the reports from the other 2 groups...sounded like their meals might have been better.  One was there at the hotel and they said they had so many courses they couldn't eat it all (ours wasn't that filling), the other group sat outside on a very pretty patio and said it was such a nice evening and such good food.  Some in our group made their selection of this location because it served rabbit.  We selected it because it had Tiramisu for desert, lol.

Returned to our rooms and sat on our patio's.  Several of us were next door to each other.  Had a night cap while we watch fireworks!  They were fantastic out over the water.  Tomorrow up early, and back on the coach making our way to Venice with a stop in Verona.

Day 7 Lake Maggiore

Morning, would you like some coffee?  Here we are at the start of our day 2 in Lake Maggiore.  Well I'm the one taking the picture as Dear Hubby pours the morning coffee.  We slept in..............ahhhh, so nice.  Ordered a pot of coffee and sat on our patio enjoying the morning sun and coffee, checking out emails and just continuing in our relaxed mode.  We didn't even get dressed and go for the group breakfast.  

The only scheduled activity of the morning/day was yet another optional (paid extra excursion).  This excursion was another 44 Euro's per person, titled Italian Lake Como and Bellagio.  The description for it Lake Como is the most picturesque of all the great Italian lakes.  You cruise around (yes another boat ride), the magnificent villas of the rich and famous (the home of George Clooney), and stop at Bellagio with time on your own.

Day 6 Continue, Lake Maggiore

As we continued on with Day 6 after leaving Pisa (please scroll back to previous post), our itinerary indicated we would cotninue on to our lakeside resort on beautiful Lake Maggiore.  The plan for the day was to check in here at Grand Hotel Dino in Beveno and then those who had opted for yet another optional (additional paid excursion), would head out.  However due to time and traffic, that plan was altered.  Prior to arriving at our hotel (another one that got changed just days before our tour started), we dropped the folks off at the dock who were signed up for the excursion.

The excursion was Isola Bella for 42 Euro's per person.  The description said they were to take a private boat to tour Isola Bella, the largest of the the Borromean Islands; said to be a premier attraction of Lake Maggiore.  They were to visit the Botanical Gardens and have a tour of a private palace while there.  From memory believe these folks got back and checked in around 6:30 pm.  


A good number of us were happy we had not opted for the excursion and were happy to get checked in to begin some down time.  I thought this was the nicest of all of our hotels and so to me, was the perfect place to have chillax time. Dinner was to be on our own this evening.
The hallway that lead to door and the hallway.  Bathroom on left, closet across, bench for luggage.  And as you can see in above picture, we had a nice sitting area with chairs and a table, and just beyond a lovely patio to enjoy the outdoors also with table and chairs.  This was the only hotel room on this trip that didn't seem a bit tight and offered a sitting area.  Rooms in Europe really aren't very large, generally speaking.
After checking in, we heading to the pretty outside balcony off the bar and enjoyed a beer and an Aperol Spritz.  Aperol Spritz are very refreshing and quite popular in Italy.  A good number in the group opted for the same thing, we ran into quite a few in the bar and or balcony area.
Later, Ernie enjoyed a dip in the pool while I showered and got ready for dinner.

A view of our patio (we were on the 1st floor), those above us had a nice balcony.  Though it was hazy, still nice to sit out and enjoy the lake.  Notice the domes...sky lights for a dining area below that opened onto another pretty lake view.
We walked down the street to this lovely spot for dinner at Cava Drink and; Restaurant  It was dark by the time we arrived so it was lite up rather nicely.  We were right by the waters edge.  A peaceful, relaxing meal.  Very enjoyable.  The most interesting part of the meal perhaps, was watching the wait staff making their way across the main street...the actual restaurant was on the other side of the road.
After dinner and back on our patio for a night cap.  Remember the domes, they looked very interesting after dark.
 Sorta reminded me of a James Bond movie, lol.
Wonder what day 2 in Lake Maggiore will being.........please check back in to find out.

PLEASE leave me a comment when you come visit, so I know you were here. Your visits and comments are very special to me.