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Northern Italy Road Trip Part I

Author: Jim and Donna C. (More Trip Reviews by Jim and Donna C.)
Date of Trip: October 2010

We have a room with a king bed, table & chairs, couch, balcony and a huge bathroom.  I'd guess it's darn close to 500 sq feet in total.  For about 100 Euros we also get dinner and breakfast.  The place has a spa and pool and fitness area.  There's a playground and BBQ outside.  Not too shabby.  We step out on the balcony and are surrounded by the Dolomites.  There's a towel warmer in the bathroom, so we threw our still wet clothes from the Venice sink wash over it to dry.  May be an incentive to wash a couple more things if it helps them dry quickly.

1900 is dinner, so we're catching up on the log and checking out where we might stop next...maybe Milan.

Dinner was good.  We both had a salad, a first plate of spaghetti carbonara, a second plate of grilled pork chop with fried potatoes and leeks and finally a dessert of blueberry torte.  This was what was included in the price of the room.  No complaints here.  We're both so full we can hardly move.  Jim is doing a little more work on tomorrow's agenda and then off to bed.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 -- cold (2C) and clear another Donna Day! 

There was frost on the rooftops and it looked as if the tops of the mountains had a little snow last night.  We went outside and downstairs to the little restaurant where we had dinner last evening.  The same German couple from room the room down the hall was having their breakfast as well

Breakfast consisted of meats and cheeses, cereal, yogurt and rolls.  We both had a couple of cappuccino's and water and we were ready to meet the day.  Donna got some nice sunrise pictures -- of course.  The scenery here is very beautiful -- breathtaking. 

We briefly considered bypassing Milan and going up to Innsbruck but we decided to stay with our plan, heading to Verona and spending the night in Milano.  Tried to take a final shot at booking rooms in Milano but no luck.  Either everything was taken or the places were too far out of town.  I guess we will just try our luck at finding something around Milano.

We started down the mountains, passing Bolzano.  Glad we didn't spend the night there.  Too busy, too crowded, too much - we kept going onto Verona, via the small towns on Lake Garda.

We drove into Riva Del Garda and around the town a bit.  Very crowded, much like a summer tourist town.  No place to park so we left the town and headed back up the hill to an overlook we passed on the way down.  We stopped at the overlook and found some nice benches where we decided to have our lunch.  

We enjoyed the great scenery overlooking the town and the large lake.  What a way to have lunch.  We set up the tripod and took some pictures of us at the overlook.  Have to find that perfect shot for the Christmas card.  Checking Lola we decided to go back down the hill and continue our journey around Lake Garda on the way to Verona.

We stopped in Malcesine and checked out the castle.  The walk up to the castle, through the small streets was pretty nice.  Lots of little shops and enough people to realize you were in a tourist spot but not in August when it would have been unbearable.

The castle had nice views and a room set-aside for Goethe; guess he was a local celebrity.  After poking about the castle we went back through the town stopping at a lace shop.  Looked as some table runners but nothing grabbed our eye.  The shopkeeper started at thirty Euros, quickly down to twenty and as we walked away was willing to go lower.  Yes they do bargain in Italy. 

Returning to the car we continued on our way through Bardolino.  From there Lola sent us up a narrow winding road to the main highway.  A comment here on some of the roads; 180 degree turns are not unusual, more the norm.  Twisty turns all over the place, narrow roads steep climbs, lots of shifting and turning, but I digress.

verona italyReached Verona and laid in a course for the coliseum.   Found the place but ended up in the pedestrian plaza facing a cop.  He directed us to turn around which we did, and were able to find a parking lot nearby that was located under a market.  Ah the dumb touristas!

We walked around the coliseum, which was smaller, and less ornate, then the one in Rome, but still very large and well preserved.  They still use it for various shows.  We didn't go in as it was eight Euros and there was a sign that said some areas were blocked off for the show.

We saw the devotion pole outside the coliseum, took some pictures of course.  We wandered back toward the car deciding to have dinner here in the plaza.  Donna had lasagna; Jim had Spaghetti Ragu, i.e. spaghetti with meat sauce. Both were really good!

Ok off to find a hotel for the night, but first, let's see if we can find a castle!  What a mess finding the castle.  Traffic was horrible and when we got there no place to park. We gave up after a brief try to see the castle and the Roman bridge.  Plugged Milan into Lola and off we went.

We were leaving town around 1900 -- very late indeed.  Our thought of finding a hotel soon proved to be a problem.  The Autostrada has limited exits and no information on where you can find hotels.  After a mistaken exit to Torino, we headed to a small town outside Milano. 

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