Through Verona to Lake Maggiore, Italy
The sun sets over island gardens and tie-dyed flowers on Lake Maggiore.
Day 11: Woah, I'm sore....
To Verona after breakfast. We lunched in the 3rd largest Roman Arena still around, where they were setting up the stage for an opera. While others went off to see Juliet's fake balcony and the market, I split off and visited the Church of San Zeno, a 12th century Romanesque church with candy cane striping inside and out, and 2 huge doors with bronze-inlaid stories from the bible. Then a walk along the riverfront back to the pedestrian area and the market in Piazza Erbe. Enough time left over for some gelati (it's still very hot), then back on the bus for the trip west. Lots of time to rest on the bus...
Late in the afternoon we arrived at Stresa on Lake Maggiore. A scenic place, and a humid place as well. At least the temperature was not so bad, 80 degrees or so. My hotel room [the hotel's name was Hotel Milan Speranza Au Lac] had a balcony and a view out to the lake. I was sharing a room with Jack for the next 2 nights.
Dinner together in the hotel after a short walk among the village stores - to bed just after dinner.
Day 12: A bit hazy this morning.
I joined Santos on a trip to the top of Monte Mottarone, a 4000 foot mountain, via a cable car. There were two tour groups at the top (German and Japanese) that have never met before - and by some magnificent coincidence they both sing. They traded songs back and forth in a surreal duet, and I am in awe. I took a video of the event (see the bottom of the page). I also took a picture of Santos as he tried to get even higher up on the mountain.
Back down and a walk along the shore to the boat docks in Stresa. [I shot the following panorama photo of the three closest islands. Click it for a bigger version.]
Then a visit to the islands via the speedy ferry service. I first visited the fishing village island (Isola dei Pescatori, a Hemmingway hangout), and had lunch of mozzarella and tomato panino (sandwich), and a quarter liter of chilled red wine. I decided not to speak any English to the server, and actually made it through okay (although I suspect she knew I was American - but she didn't let on). I had a stray kitty cat for company as I brought my journal up to date. Swans and their kids floated around the shores.
Then to the quiet island (Isola Madre) where the highlight was the marionette collection [no pictures allowed] and the hundreds of peacocks. Flowers everywhere, including Passion Flowers [for the Passion Flower legend on another Web site click here], and a nice courtyard with a pond. Finally, the popular island (Isola Bella) with the big palace, lily pad filled ponds, and terraced gardens lined with statues. Bombastic, to say the least.
Dinner with 7 women (Susan, Lisa, Carol, Marilyn, Elaine, Evi, and Barbara) and me. Does it get any better than this? Then a walk along the shore, marveling at the sunset and the tie-dyed flowers everywhere. Apparently, minerals in the soil cause the Technicolor patterns.
Ice cream dessert with the Wild Bunch (Gary, Leslie, Don, Marsha, Janet and Dick). Susan found us yet again. Perhaps she smelled the ice cream? I had the strawberry split complete with palm tree and climbing monkey.
Alright, enough of Lago Maggiore. To bed.
Click the pictures for enlargements.
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Last updated 03/18/2006 . Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.