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