Day 11 – Heading Home

Tuesday January 31, 2006

We are packed and ready to hit the road. Randy and I checked out the waterbus schedule the night before to make sure we got there on time. These pictures show us as the only people in St Mark’s square. Of course it is 5:45AM and no one else is moron enough to go out at that time.

As it turned out they had changed the schedule but failed to change the sign that gave you the time. The waterbus had just left and there wouldn’t be another one until it was too late to make our plane. We went back to the hotel and everyone there were taking private watertaxis from the hotel. We were able to share a ride with the rest of the group so we made it on time.

Here is a picture of the Munich airport. It is the last picture taken on this trip. Or was it the Venice airport. Who knows !!!!!

The plane ride home was uneventful and LOOOOONG…… I tried to get some sleep between movies. Yea, that really happened!!!!! It took almost 4 hours to get home on the Super Shuttle. REALLY SUPER EH !!!!! We were the last stop. Then I drove home from Randy’s house to San Clemente. Still couldn’t sleep after I got home even though I had been up over 24 hours.

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Day 10 – Venice – Grand Canal

Monday January 30, 2006

Some views taken from our hotel room. The first is the Campanile and the others are just roof tops.

Randy and I having breakfast in the dining room looking out to the gondolas. YUM !!! YUM !!! The breakfasts were good. Finally had a good cup of coffee in the morning.

A view from the other side of the canal looking back on our hotel.

A view walking down the Grand Canal.

The Rialto Bridge.

The is the Venice form of the UPS delivery service.

Another pic take from the top of the Rialto Bridge. It has small shops on both sides of the bridge.

A couple of views from the Rialto Bridge looking down both sides of the Grand Canal.

This picture was taken on the other side of the Grand Canal from our hotel. The shop lined streets are very narrow. The shops are very small. Didn’t see too many people in any of the shops. I wonder how anyone makes any money owning these shops.

This was a really nice gondola we happened to see parked off the Grand Canal.

Buildings along the Grand Canal.

Somewhere on the other side of the Grand Canal.

This was some type of government building we found on the Grand Canal. It was very beautiful and looked like it was freshly restored and painted. It also had trees and shrubs all around which is rather rare in Venice.

This home on the Grand Canal actually had a yard with several trees and shrubs as well as grass. I assumed this must belong to a very wealthy person.

More pictures take from various spots along the Grand Canal.

Another home along the Grand Canal with trees and shrubs.

Construction along the walkway of one of the canals.

This is a real rarity. I found these cacti growing outdoors in one of the window sills. Are we in the middle of the desert? WOW!!!

I found my good friend’s name on this door. Thought I would take a picture just for kicks to show her where her Italian residence was located on the Grand Canal. HA!! HA!!

Here you can see reconstruction of a canal that runs off of the Grand Canal. It looks like a lot of work is being done on this canal to bring it up to date.

A cathedral somewhere in Venice. No telling how old this building was.

A small yard that looks like it had just been planted.

A couple more shots taken along the Grand Canal. These were taken from the Guggenheim Museum. Peggy Guggenhiem collected the art of many abstract and surealist artists including works of Picasso and Jackson Pollack. Some of it looked more like an old drop clothe used to paint your house. Oh well !! As they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. SURE IT IS !!!

A minstrel somewhere on the way back to the hotel. Sing along with Mitch!!!!! OH YEA!!! Sign this guy up to a record contract!!!

We just happened to be walking along not nowing where we were when we ran smack dab into our hotel. We couldn’t have found that if we tried. Will miracles never cease !!!!!

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Day 9 – Sunday – Venice – Murano, Doge Palace

Sunday January 29. 2006

Here is a view out the dining room window of our hotel showing the gondolas all lined up and ready to embark passengers.

A couple of more pics showing a canal near our hotel and gondolas in action.

The hotel clerk offered us a free watertaxi to Murano Island to see the glass makers. We would see how they blow the glass and then tour their show rooms. Both Randy and I have always been interested in Murano glass so we are looking forward to this trip. These next pics show a glassblower in action. He made a small horse in about two minutes flat. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Plus this guy was not even a master yet.

Unfortunately the Murano factory had sales people hounding you after the demonstration. They took you into the showrooms where all their works are displayed. They are very beautiful, but also very expensive. There was hardly any piece under 1,000 Euros. Most had prices on them and they were willing to bargain but they were too forceful and wanted you to buy right now. Needless to say we bought nothing from them. They did give us a free watertaxi ticket to get back. Here is Randy in front of a Murano glass shop waiting for our watertaxi.

Another pic of other glass factories on Murano Island. The glass blowers do not normally work on Sunday so the place looked pretty bare.

A picture taken from the watertaxi showing what I believe is St George Island. Someone said this is their cemetary for those that die in Venice.

This is our watertaxi stop where we got off. It shows more gondolas rarin’ to go. In the past the gondolas used to be brightly painted in multiple colors. Then the city fathers issued a law stating that all gondolas must be black. Seems like they are going back in time. Weren’t all the Model T’s black? Now we have multiple colors. DUH!!!

Randy standing under some statue. Not sure who it is. Then myself in from of a line of gondolas.

Randy looking for a bargain? I doubt if you will find one there.

This is the famous “Bridge of Sighs”. This is the last bridge that prisoners would go over after getting the royal treatment in the Doge Palace. There destination is the cold, dank prisons on the other side. Not a pleasant future once you get in there.

A Holland Cruise Line was going through maybe to another port. It seemed huge compared to any of the other boats in the water.

People pushing clothes carts in the narrow streets of Venice.

Randy and I eating pizza for lunch. We were famished!!!!!!! YUM!!! YUM!!!

Another shot of the Basilica.

Several shots taken in the open square of Doge Palace. The doge was the Venetian ruler who lived in this palace the entire time of his rule. He would meet with other bigwig Venetions and make the law of the land. It was a very big and beautiful palace yet the rooms did not have any furniture in them to show you how the doge really lived. I was only able to get a few pictures before someone yelled at me to not take any more pictures. BLAH!!!!! The first pic is outside the doge palace and the others are in the square.

This is the golden staircase leading to the second floor doge private rooms where he lived.

A picture of the beautiful frescoes painted on the ceiling in the middle of the golden staircase. Also one of the doge fireplaces.

Some pics on the doge balcony looking over the courtyard. Those doges were dirty old men. They liked everybody naked all the time.

Randy and I playing “doge for a day” at the entrance to the doge palace.

Another view of the Bridge of Sighs from the other side.

A view of the Grand Canal from the Rialto Bridge at night.

To see pics in full view click on slideshow after clicking here

Day 8 – Saturday – Venice Arrival

Saturday January 28, 2006

Today we leave Cotrina via bus and head to Venice where we will stay for three nights. A few pictures out our hotel window before leaving Cortina and heading to Venice.

This picture was taken out the bus window of the ski jump used in the 1956 Winter Olympics.

Here we are in Venice in St Mark’s Square getting directions to our hotel.

Once we got settled in we walked around St. Mark’s Square. This first picture is of the Basilica of St Mark. The next picture shows all of the pigeons in the square.

The next two pictures were taken from the balcony of the Basilica showing the pigeons in the square.

Here we have pictures of Randy and myself under the famous horses on the balcony of the basilica. The original horses, which we saw inside the Basilica were brought from Constantinople in 1204. Talk about OLD stuff!!!

More views taken from the Basilica balcony. Unfortunately I couldn’t taken any pictures inside the Basilica. All I can say is that it is very beautiful with many paintings throughout.

A view of the Basilica at night.

Our room in the Hotel Cavalletto was quite small. However it had this stairway that led only to a window. Almost like the Windchester Castle in California. SPOOOOOKY!!!!!

It was a long ride by bus to get to the Venice airport where we took a waterbus to get to St. Mark’s Square. Our hotel was right on the square which made it very convenient for siteseeing. Carrying the luggage from the waterbus to the hotel wasn’t too bad as I only had two bags and they were on wheels. I’m glad I didn’t hassle bringing my own skis as it would have been a real chore carrying them. I am glad to get settled in and expect to see a great deal of the city in the next couple of days.

To see pics in full screen view click on slideshow after clicking here

Day 7 – Friday – Cathedral

Friday January 27, 2006

Today is the last full day in Cortina. Where did the time go? It seems like we just arrived. I awoke to more snow and it doesn’t look like it is going to stop. This is a picture of the hotel.

We stopped in our favorite coffee shop and had coffee and strudel. This girl put up with us all week. When we first went in to this shop early in the week we asked for a Carmel Machiatto, which is one of my favorite drinks at Starbucks. She looked at us as if we were from another planet. Even though it is an Italian name it is probably just another American product devised to sound like authentic Italian. Oh well we had a good time in this coffee shop and she was very nice. What a babe!!!!!

We finally found a door open to the cathedral and let ourselves in. It is very large and beautiful. I hadn’t completely figured out how to use the camera in dark light yet so the first few pictures I took were somewhat dark.

Now I finally figured out the setting. I am getting more and more used to this camera now. Unfortunately I bought it expressly for this trip and am learning as I am going. These pictues are much better.

This is another picture of the dude standing next to the statue again. Only I was not about to sit down and get my tush soaked.

A picture taken on the Corsa Italia showing what the weather was like. It was still cold and snowing. Quite a difference from when we arrived. Needless to say no one was sunning themselves in the afternoon.

We ran into several of our group on the Corsa Italia. From left to right, Sue, Salley, Irma and Jack. In the second picture it is Jack, Sue, Salley, Irma and Joe. Fancy me you guys!!!!

WOW!!! Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in Cortina. AMAZING!!!!!

A scene of the bell tower on the Corsa Italia.

This is a major event that happened more times then we wish now that we are back home. GULP!!! I’m out of Euros AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN……!!!!!!!!!

The remaining pictures show both Randy and myself walking around in a blizzard waiting for the shops to open so we can spend some of those new Euros we just got. HA!! HA!!

It looks like Randy is the only one left on the Corsa Italia. Except for yours truly of course.

I found this on the sidewalk just a few stores down from our hotel. I have K2 skis so it caught my attention. I do not know what this means on the sidewalk. Big deal eh? Like who cares !!!!!

It was a fun day, although very cold and wet. We basically just hung out around the Corsa Italia. I did buy an Italian lottery ticket for one Euro. I figured I might strike it rich and pay for the whole trip and stay longer. HA!! HA!! Although I did hear that they were looking for the winner as he has never turned in his winning lottery ticket. If I could only figure out how they play their lottery.

To see pics in full view click on slideshow after clicking here

Day 6 – Thursday – Olympic Celebration

Thursday January 26, 2006

Took a day off from taking my camera with me as we were going to ski all day. DUH !!! What a mistake!!!!! We skied in a different area with more great Dolomite mountains scenery. Even went up a lift with two World Cup ladies next to us. I guess I felt like I wanted to ski more aggressive and didn’t want to take the chance that I might fall and damage the camera.

After skiing, we returned our skiis to the rental store. There was to be a big Olympic celebration tonight commemorating Cortina’s 50th Anniversary since hosting the winter games. We went down to the Corsa Italia and got there just in the nick of time. There was a big parade going through the town. This is the start of the parade.

Here is the parade as it approaches the ice rink where the celebration was to take place. It was an exciting day for Cortina and all the town came out for this.

This is a closeup of the band in their 1863 garb.

The weather was very cold and it just started snowing out. The mountains which had always been in full view where now getting clouded over. Needless to say it was VERY COLD !!!!!

Many of the past Olympic medal winners were there as well. The gave each a medal and all had someting to say to the audience. However I have NO IDEA what they were talking about since it was only in Italian. OH WELL !!!

This was the beginning of the parade back through Cortina. It was dark and snowing much harder by the time it started. These pictures didn’t come out too well but thought I would throw them in anyway to give an idea of what took place.

This is the famous downhill skier that was a big medal winner in his time. He carried the torch through the first leg of Cortina. It was difficult getting a good picture as so many people were crowded around.

Here I have another Olympic medalist standing in front of the ice sculptures on the Corsa Italia.

This is anothe Olympic medalist carrying the torch on the Corsa Italia on another leg through Cortina.

Afterwards they had one of the biggest fireworks displays I have ever seen. It went on for a very long time and really lit up the skies.

This was a mime just doing his thing on the Corsa Italia. This guy must have been freezing his tush off. It was really cold just to be standing there.

It turned out to be one of the best days yet. We had a great day of skiing and then we saw this wonderful Olympic celebration. Afterwards we went to our favorite restaurant, saw and spoke with Maurisse (or whatever this guy’s name was) and had a delicious meal served by our favorite waitress. What more could you ask for?

To see pics in full view click slideshow after clicking here

Day Five – Wednesday – Side Trip to Bolzano

Wednesday January 25, 2006

Today we took a side trip to Bolzano, Italy. It is located south of Innsbruck, Austria and has a combination of Italian and German speaking citizens. It is about a two hour drive to get there. Below are some pictures of the scenery, taken out the window of the bus, on the way to Bolzano.

The bus let us off outside the city and we had to take a tunnel to get to the main streets. It was very awkward at first when the bus driver said everyone out. He said he wasn’t allowed to take the bus into the city. We didn’t know where the hell we were at first, but soon found the way.

This is known as the duomo, which dates back to the 15th century. It has a multi-colored roof made of mosaic tiles.

This is the Piazza Walther. The statue is of Walther von der Vogelweide, a 13th century minnesinger – born,according to legend, in the Bolzano area.

These are some photos of the exterior of the duomo. I don’t know why it is called that. It is really a Gothic church. There is also a picture of me freezing my ass off!!!

The folowing are all pictures of the interior of the church. It was absolutely beautiful. It had lots of gold everywhere. The pictures do not really do it justice.

While there I lit one candle for a good friend back home and another for my father, who has been in and out of the hospital numerous times in the past month. Maybe this will help. Let’s hope so.

This is an ornamental wear dating back to the 12th century. Very impressive!!!

Randy and I at the door to the confessional. Only visiting though. The priest would do flips if I ever went in there!!!!!

The altar of this church was really beautiful!!!

This a picture of a school in Bolzano. I believe it was a University. We went in it by mistake looking for the Ice Man and a very nice student directed us to the museum. We are always so great with directions. HA!! HA!! We couldn’t find our way out of a wet paper bag.

More scenes of the wonderful streets of Bolzano. They were very narrow and very old.

The outdoor market place in Bolzano. The had just about anything your could think of. We bought a couple of apple strudels, which we had for breakfast the next day. They were delicious!!!!!

LUNCH TIME !!! Just happened to run into this cart selling frankfurters, only they called them something else. The were long and you dipped them in either mustard or catsup. They were so delicious we each had two. The Germans sure know how to make good frankfurters. HOT DOG!!!!!

More scenes of Bolzano. I really loved this place. It’s streets dated way back centuries ago. There were places where they had 15th century dates on the buildings. I wished I had taken a picture of that. All the streets were cobblestone and used for pedestrian traffic only.

We also toured the Historical Museum where we saw Osti, the Ice Man. He was found on a mountain by hikers. They determined his age to be 5300 years old. He is the oldest known man in the world. Amazingly he was mummified because of the extremely cold climate. He even had skin, hair and fingernails. You could view his entire body from a small window. They keep him in a temperature controlled set of three rooms. Randy purchased a book telling all about him. Unfortunately I couldn’t take any pictures.

We stopped in Piazza Walther and I had an Irish coffee. I found that was the one coffee drink the Italians knew how to make. However not all of them were made as potent as they should have been. Come on now Italians!!! Your are talking to an Irishman who knows his Irish Coffee!!!!!!!!!

We met our bus at 3:00 for the return trip to Cortina. I wish we had been able to spend more time in Bolzano as it was such a neat place.

On the way home all you could see aroung Bolzano were vineyards. There were everywhere, even on the steep hillsides.

We got back to Cortina about 5:00, walked around the Corsa Italia for a bit and found a new restaurant that we thought we would try that evening. It was called the 5 Torrie. Randy found it and we later gave it a try. They actually had waitresses that could speak English.

We also met another American from Santa Crus. who supposedly had been staying with friends. Then he said he was staying at the same hotel as us. I never remember seeing him at the hotel. Randy called this guy Maurisse and we both thought he was gay. We had great laughs from then on about this guy.

The dinner was great and from then on we were hooked. We went back to this restaurant every night. I especially liked this waitress. She was really a babe!!! She sounded German but she said she was Italian. Nevertheless she was our official waitress until we left Cortina. We even ran into her while walking on the Corsa Italia.

To see pics in full view click on slideshow after clicking here

Day Four – Tuesday – Hiking Cortina

Tuesday January 24, 2006

Today was a beautiful day and so we decided to start hiking wherever our feet would take us. This is a picture taken from the front of our hotel. It was the Hotel Impero located just one block from the Corsa Italia. This is a family run hotel and the people were extremely nice.

Below are pictures of Randy and myself standing in front of our hotel.

This is the Olympic ice carving in the Corsa Italia. It took the sculptors several days to complete it and they looked very cold in the process.

Below are some beautiful views of the mountains seen at various spots around Cortina.

A small garden, which we found. I bet it is really beautiful in the summer.

This was an old bridge that went over the river many, many years ago. I wonder if the early Romans ever crossed over this bridge in their travels through Cortina.

This cat was perched on the window sill. It was very cold out but the cat seemed OK. That was one COOL CAT!!!

More scenes from around Cortina.

Stopped for a break at one of our favorite coffee shops and I got a chocolate sundae and Randy got a bannana split. Needless to say he couldn’t finish it all, but came very close.

This is where people congregate in the early afternoon to take in the sun. This was taken on the Corsa Italia across from the bell tower. All the shops close down from 12:00 to 3:30 except for the coffee shops and a few restaurants. There is no 24/7 in Italy. I wish the US would do it this way as well.

When in Rome do as the Romans do. Well when in Cortina do as the Cortians do. We also found a nice chair across from the bell tower and sat in the sun for about an hour. It was really relaxing. What a way to live !!!!!

A good shot of all the older ladies dressed in their full length furs probably standing around talking about all the shops they had been in and where they would be shopping once the shops reopened.

All of the eeves were made of copper pipes. They would probably stand up better in this cold climate. However everyone was fairly well off (except for us) as shown by the previous picture of the ladies, so cost for copper was probably no problem. Must be nice !!!

Some nice scenes around Cortina.

Even found a tennis court. While we were in Cortina the Australian Open was going on. We watched the highlights on TV in the evening. Bet this court hadn’t been used for a while.

After the tennis court we just happened to stumble on the bob sled track. That looks like a real blast. We were planning on going on it but it happened late at night and would have cost 80 Euros (about $100). Fortunately by walking around the town we ran into it and got to see what it was really like.

This was a really neat home on the outskirts of Cortina near the bob sled run.

Some shots taken on our way back to downtown Cortina.

After a long hike we finally made it back to our hotel room. These are views taken from our room. Not to shabby!!!!!

After a long day we relaxed by watching TV. What a bore!!! The only English channels were CNN and BBC, which are both news channels. All we heard all week was how Hamas won the Palestinian election. YUK!!! The rest of the time we watched soccer matches broadcast in Italian. Bigger YUK!!! Our room had two twin beds and one chair facing the TV. Randy got the chair and I got the bed.

Tomorrow we are planning on a side trip to Bolzano, Italy where we will see the Ice Man.

To see pics in full view click on slideshow after clicking here

Day Three – Monday – Ski Day

Monday January 23, 2006

Finally a ski day. It was a beautiful outside although the temperature is around -5 C (22 F). We had to go a few blocks to rent equipment as we did not bring anything but our boots. We both rented skis and poles.

The sky was very clear. This is a beautiful picture, going up the gondola, leaving Cortina in the distance. The last 1/4th of the gondola ride was almost straight up or at least that is the way it appeared. What a gorgeous view!!!

Once on the top we skied down to a lower elevation and got on a lift taking us back up. The runs were very long but rather flat. It was fun and I got my ski legs rather quickly. Then we started to race down some of those runs. We noticed a lift that was taking a lot of skiers down the mountain. We inquired and found out that it goes to another ski area across the road. We took the lift down, crossed the road and got on another lift going up the other side of the mountain. This is a picture going up on that lift.

Here is the mid chalet. Since it was Monday none of the lift lines were busy and we got back on the lift as soon as we skied down the mountain. It was a blast !!!!!

We then skied down into another area and played around in this area for a couple of runs. Then we noticed one last lift that would take us almost to the top of the mountain. With more snow I am sure it would drop you off at the top. But today it only went up about 3/4 and let everyone off at a nice spot. I took many pictures and even some videos from this spot. Skiing down from here was much steeper and very easy to pick up speed. The course was really wide so we could really let the skis run.

This was one of the views at the top. Notice how the lift lets you off before it reaches the top. I have never seen that done before. Randy is at the edge rarin’ to go.

This is another view at the top looking down the course. A beautiful view of the mountains as well.

I was able to get this from about 3/4 of the way up the mountain.  This was as far as the lift would go since it was so rocky at the top.

I managed to get a great video over my finger in this one.  However it does show the trail leading down the mountain.

Another goof with the video.

Some day I will get this right.

The following are pictures of Randy at the bottom of a long run and me in the lift line. Their lift lines were all automated so that it would read your lift ticket through your clothing and open a gate for you to pass through. This cut down the amount of personnel required at each lift to keep it moving smoothly.

Under one of the lifts there was ladders going up the mountain. These were used by mountain climbers to reach the top. Pretty neat. I have seen movies of ladders such as this in Mt Everest movies but never witnessed them myself.

Randy and I stopped at the mid chalet for some needed refreshment. We never stop for lunch but ski through lunch and then usually quit about 2:30 to 3:00.

A view out the window of the mid chalet.

A great view of yours truly at the mid chalet.

I took this video out the window of the mid chalet.  What a spectacular view.

Randy getting his equipment back on after stopping at the mid chalet. I was getting my equipment on as well but had all kinds of trouble putting on one ski. A pin had fallen out of the binding, which enabled you to snap on the ski. Without that pin I was dead meat and couldn’t get my ski on. It must have been that hard skiing all day that broke the ski. HA!! HA!! Randy had already started down the run and I lost site of him. I waited up at the top for a long time thinking he might come up. But he probably thought I was taking pictures and had stopped for a moment.

Anyway I was forced to come down the mountain on the lift. The lift operator kept pointing to my skis trying to tell me to put them on. I kept telling him I couldn’t because it was broken. Naturally I couldn’t understand Italian and I don’t think he could understand English. He finally understood and I got on the lift and he put my skis on the next lift. How embarrassing though. Then when I got to the bottom I found Randy waiting.

My ski day was over and we decided to take the bus back to Cortina. The next bus was over an hour away so went into the lodge and I had a beer and Randy had a coffee.

The bus arrived but there were a lot of skiers that had the same idea as us about quitting for the day and going back to Cortina. The bus doors opened up and it was a mad stampede. These are a few pictures taken on the bus while riding back. It was a long ride and we didn’t have a seat. What a mess!!!!!

After getting off the bus we had to walk through town in our ski boots carrying the ski equipment. Not fun at all!!! I took the broken ski back to the shop where we had rented it and told them I was not too happy with their equipment. I asked them for reimbursement for not being able to ski all day and he told me I would have to check with the boss. Since there were only two of them I assumed the other guy was the boss. When I asked him, he said I would have to check with the other guy. Finally I told them I was with a ski group and if I didn’t receive some type of reimbursement I would tell everyone in the group.

That got their attention and he gave me 10 Euros. I also got a new set of skis. What a bummer!!!

After that we were so exhausted, walking in our boots all over town, that we went back to the hotel and crashed. However we did wake up in time to go down and have a pizza and beer.

All in all it was a great day. We skied a lot of nice spots and took a lot of great pictures.

To see pics in full view click on slideshow after clicking here

Day Two – Sunday – Checking out Cortina

Sunday January 22, 2006

Didn’t get out of bed until 10:00. WOW !! I was really tired after all of the traveling the day before. Missed breakfast so decided to go down to the Corsa Italia to find a coffee shop and grab a cup of coffee and light breakfast. That is when the fun began. We found a neat little coffee shop and I ordered a cup of coffee. They brought me a cup of expresso in a cup so small I could hardly pick it up by the handle. On top of that the cup was less then half full. This stuff was like drinking mud it was so strong. Fortunately I like strong coffee so eventually got used to it. That was my first experience with coffee in Cortina. It got a little better but not much as the week progressed. More to follow about ordering coffee.

This is a picture of the bell tower on the Corsa Italia, The Corsa Italia is a cobblestone walkway through the middle of Cortina. It has shops and restaurants on either side. There are no vehicles allowed on this walkway. It is the main point to congregate in Cortina. Much of our time was spent here.

Yours truly posing next to the statue of Angelo Dibona. This was right below the bell tower. Not sure who he is or what he did but it must have been something very imortant to the history of Cortina.

Randy and I decided to look for the skating rink where many of the 1956 Olympics were held. This was on the way and shows a beautiful scene of the mountains. The weather was perfect most of the week until Thursday when it started snowing.

On the way to the skating rink we discovered one of the gondolas, which carries skiers up the mountain. It goes through some very steep terrain as we discovered later when we went skiing. The view up top is fabulous.

This picture was taken from the base of the gondola to an old bridge. I am standing in the middle of the bridge. Not sure how long ago this bridge was erected but it had to be many centuries ago.

A great shot of Randy and the mountain. This was taken between the gondola and the bridge. It looks like Randy has already been shopping. He bought some beautiful Italian shoes on the Corsa Italia.

We finally found the skating rink. It looks like Randy is practicing his new triple sow cow flip in the parking lot. Not so sure he would win a gold medal but he seems to think so.

These were ice sculptures that were carved for the 2006 Torino Olympics. They also carved identical ice sculptures on the Corsa Italia near the clock tower.

This is the Olmpic monument erected outside of the skating rink. Cortina hosted the 1956 Olympics and this year marks the 50th Anniversary.

We were able to go into the skating rink where many people were enjoying ice skating. Just imagine that 50 years ago people were watching the Winter Olympics featuring figure skating, racing and hockey games in this same rink. How exciting !!

This is a view of the skating rink from outside. During the 1956 Olympics the rink did not have a roof on it. It was completely open. The roof was not added until much later.

Randy holding the torch from the original 1956 Winter Olmpics held in Cortina 50 years ago. That must have been quite a site back then. I was only 12 at the time and don’t really remember anything about it. Of course they didn’t have television coverage of the Olympics as they do now.

This was a great day. We didn’t do any skiing since we were still a bit tired from the travel. We will get in a full day of skiing tomorrow.
After visiting the ice rink we went and had pizza and beer. The pizza in Italy is really delicious. They don’t have all the toppings we are used to and make it with a very thin crust. It was delicious.

To see pics in full view click on slideshow after clicking here