We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Your Editor Dog is back after 12 days without phone, email, internet, TV, or radio. That was a blessing, and put life in perspective - as corny as that may sound. Home is good, work is good, but away is good too. We saw very few Americans, which was different too.
I'll post a few Show 'n Tells of pics when and if I get them organized, with my usual snappy commentary, keen observations, and handy travel tips.
In short, our itinerary was flying non-stop to Milan (Malpensa airport, Italy's largest and busiest), arriving at 7 am local time and picking up our rental car (thanks, Costco international rentals) which they unaccountably and without charge upgraded from an Audi A3 sedan to a Mercedes diesel standard shift wagon which was a comfortable car to drive. The standard was handy for the mountain driving and endless uphill hairpin turns.
We promptly escaped Milano and headed east on A-4 (which is Italy's I-95 - busiest highway in the country) to our excellent B&B about a third of the way up the western shore of Lake Garda, but we had to spend a few hours on the way checking out Bergamo (parked in the town center and took the funicular up to the old city, and had an elegant lunch and a good stroll). Then we proceeded up to our 15th C. B&B farmhouse (Thanks, Karen Brown) in Gardone Riviera for a couple of days on the lake before driving up (the long, scenic route with tunnels, curvy roads, and the large Alpine foothills via Riva del Garda for a brief look-see - lots of quick stops for a caffe or Coke) before getting on the A-22 through Trent and Bolzano to our B&B high on an alpine hill outside Ortesei in the Val Gardena in Italy's Alto Aldige on the Austrian border for a few days of energetic hiking in the Sud Tyrol where nobody speaks Italian but mainly German or Ladin. (Yes, I can write run-on sentences if I need to.) The Val Gardena in the Dolomites is an UNESCO World Heritage site.
After that, we cruised down from the Alps on A-22 to Verona in the Veneto, and spent a few days exploring the old part of the charming city from our elegant old hotel (which was about twelve steps from the Piazza del Erbe) before departing early yesterday morning to drive the A-4 again from Verona to the airport in Milan. Verona has the most beautiful women in the world, in abundance. Juliets, most of them, and they know how to dress - and walk - for maximum impact. Make a note of it, you single fellows. La Bella Figura.
Highest points of our trip:
- Rigoletto in the Arena di Verona, 4th row center. This year was the centennial of Verona's opera season in the huge Roman arena, built to seat 20,000 blood-thirsty citizens of Roman Verona. They request that you dress nicely for the good seats, so we did.
- Hiking above the top of the Seceda funicular in Ortesei, up to 3200 m. where you have to take a breath between each spoken phrase while hiking until you get down a few hundred meters where there is a bit more oxygen.
Sounds great! I've never had the travel bug (I've been in 45 of our 50 states, but that's different), but if I did, England and Italy would be at the top of the list. Besides, how many people get to claim they've ridden on a funicular, much less have drunk a "caffee"?
One thing I don't believe you've ever pointed out is why you choose Italy ever year. Is there Eye-talian blood in the family? Got a thing for Juliets? Have stock in Fiat or Alfa Romeo? All of the above?
Welcome back Bird Dog! Since you were away from new sources, you'll be glad to know that things here haven't changed much. Our new Secretary of State wants to punish Assad for supposedly using chemical weapons with what he calls an 'unbelievably small’ strike on Syria (see Drudge).