Bolzano – Dolly Travels

Author: , September 15th, 2018

Bolzano - Dolly Travels

Good evening,

I finally have time to sit and write. We have been in Bolzano since yesterday afternoon, and it seems we have been going non-stop since we arrived.

We had a long train trip from Vernazza to Bolzano. If you look at a map of Italy, you will see that we came from the Ligurian Coast to northern Italy, to the gateway to the Dolomites. Actually, I have to admit, our train trip wasn’t so bad. We got a medium high speed train, the Frecciaargento from La Spezia to Florence, taking only and hour and a half, versus the usual 3 hours on a regional train. We had to wait about an hour in Florence, then we got another Frecciaargento train direct to Bolzano, a little over three hours.

Our hotel, Hotel Feichter, is located about four blocks from the train station, near the center of town. We got checked in, then took a walking tour of the town. It is a lovely Austrian-looking town, and of course, as we walked, we did not hear Italian being spoken anymore; the primary language here is German. Everything is so clean and neat. We walked down one street that had a covered portico to shield us from the sun. The shops were pretty upscale, but we weren’t shopping, we were just strolling.

Of course, for me, the biggest draw to Bolzano, is that this city is the gateway to the Dolomites. From the walkway in front of my room, I can see the stark Dolomite mountains. They are calling me.

Last evening, we walked again, and had not really decided where to have dinner. There was a big black cloud hovering over the western edge of the city. I told the kids that our dinner destination would be determined by what that cloud did. Interesting enough, we were just a few steps from a brew pub when the first fat rain drops started to fall, and within minutes, everyone was scrambling to get out of the rain.

We made it into the pub, got seated and enjoyed a traditional Austrian type dinner.

Of course, Danny had a beer with his dinner. After all, he had to try the locally-made brew.

After dinner, the rain had stopped, so we were able to walk home without getting soaked. However, about an hour after we got back to the hotel, we were treated to one of the most spectacular lightning and thunder shows that I have ever seen, complete with pouring down rain. It was so incredible, I had to open my window and watch the show. Heather and Danny told me that they went out onto the walkway in front of our rooms to watch it. What a fantastic treat…one we could enjoy from the comfort of our rooms.

Today, we visited the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, where we saw the displays focused on Ötzi, the Ice Man: an intact body of a man that was found high in the mountains between Austria and Italy in 1991. He has now been determined to be between 5,100 and 5,300 years old.

Later, we took a gondola up to the town of Oberbozen, a small resort town in the hills above Bolzano.

Tonight, we walked through some small streets, finally settling on one small restaurant for our dinner.

I do enjoy being in Bolzano, for it is an interesting city. There is a university here; it is the largest city in the northern part of Italy. There are many shops, eateries, plus parks and places to relax. Staying here is always a pleasure.

We will leave here in the morning, and take a bus for the one hour ride to Castelrotto, where we will spend four days, hopefully hiking and enjoying the outdoors in the clean Alpine air. For me, just being in the Dolomites makes me happy.

I will try to write a blog post within a day or two. It is hard to believe that this vacation is drawing to a close. What wonderful memories we will have to take home with us.

Arrivederci,
Ciao for now,
Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels

Trentino-Alto Adige Gay Travel Resources Gay Travel Resources

Vernazza: Beauty, Disaster and Recovery – Dolly Travels

Author: , September 10th, 2018

Vernazza - Dolly Travels

Buongiorno, tutti,

We started our morning at the Il Pirata Bar at the top of the town. This restaurant has the best pastries; all are made on the premises. Their reputation has made this small place such a popular breakfast place, that one must get there early to get a table.

While we were enjoying our delicious pastries, we began talking with the couple who sat next to us. By the end of our breakfast we were best friends. We had such a good time with them. We discussed our plans for the day, and before we knew it, we had learned far more about each other than I know about my next door neighbors at home.

Soon, though, we all went our separate ways. I love the way that travel allows me to meet such interesting people as I go along.

The kids had their own plans for the day, so here I am, telling you about my day.

I am sitting at the Ananasso Bar again. Lest you think that I might do this too often, this bar sits right at the harbor’s edge. From here, I can look out at the little cove, where people are swimming. I can see the boats in the harbor and look beyond to the town of Monterosso. Over to my left and closer to the harbor is the good pizza restaurant that we visited yesterday. So, you see, my perch here, for the price of a drink, is perfect.

Today, I went for a walk up through town, past the Il Pirata Ristorante, where we had breakfast this morning. I walked up the road while following the little stream that starts somewhere up above, then flows down through the town. I remembered well, the deluge of October, 2011, where the rains came down so hard and for such a long time, that the mountains washed down into that stream, pushing homes, cars and anything in its path, into that stream, until the town was flooded with mud, debris up to the second story of the buildings.

Today, as I walked through the town, seven years after that disaster, I felt that the people of Vernazza have made a remarkable recovery. Although reconstruction is still going on in some areas: rock walls are being rebuilt, some facades of buildings still need to be repaired, life goes on as before.

As I sit here, watching the tourists, I wonder how many of them know the calamity that besieged the town those years before. I watch the people that work in the shops and the restaurants; I see them wait on the customers, and they are so kind, so patient. They are indeed lovely people.

Vernazza is one of the five villages in a unique area. During the day, the little town is filled with tourists. Many people come here to hike the trails between the villages. I honestly don’t know why the cruise ship passengers come here. When those cruise ships unload their tenders, the town is immediately flooded with up to five hundred extra people; more than the town can comfortable accommodate.

However, when evening comes; the town settles down and becomes an almost-quiet village. The people of Vernazza are resilient. They have rebuilt their town and life goes on in this little city as if the disaster never occurred.

My point in writing this blog post is to remind all of us, that no matter what life hands us, we have the choice to adapt, rebuild, and get on with things, or curl up and admit defeat. I want to pattern my life after the citizens of Vernazza: there is always light at the end of the tunnel, if I choose to follow it. Or I can let the small disasters get me down.

I am inspired by the people of the town of Vernazza.

Until next time,
Arrivederci,

Dolly

By Dolly – Full Story at Dolly Travels

Vernazza Gay Travel Resources

More About Florence – Dolly Travels

Author: , August 23rd, 2018

Florence - Dolly Travels

Buona sera,

Now I can settle down. Mexico won their first World Cup game, defeating Germany, so we are more relaxed. The kids went to a bar to watch the game. I had to do some more walking through my favorite Italian city. I finally stopped and watched the last two minutes of the game, before coming back to the apartment.

Saturday morning, we decided to follow Rick Steves’ audiotour of the Renaissance Walk. We fought our way through the crowds around the Duomo, continued down via Calzaiuoli to Piazza Signoria, then across the Ponte Vecchio.

We stopped for a snack and cold drinks after the walk…the most expensive snack we have had. But I needed a break from the crowds.

On our walk back to the city, we stayed on the Oltrano side of the river, until we came to the next bridge, Ponte Grazie.

Later in the afternoon, the kids made a visit to Bargello galleria. There is so much to see in Florence. Danny and Heather had their list of places to see. They have more stamina than I do, so I simply walked all around my favorite city, watching the children at play, following some of the streets I know so well.

This morning, after breakfast, we walked up to Piazzale Michelangelo. It is quite a hike, but we made it. The view from up there is incredible; it made the walk worthwhile.

We walked down the hill, following the paths, and soon we were back in the city proper. We stopped for some lunch, then it was time to go home and take our afternoon nap. These one-hour naps are becoming quite the habit, but so necessary, especially after being out in the humid heat of the day.

Now we are all unwinding at home, making our plans for tomorrow, our last day in Florence.

Until next time,
Arrivederci,

Ciao for now,
Dolly

Vernazza – Disaster & Recovery – Dolly Travels

Author: , August 4th, 2018

Buongiorno, tutti,

We started our morning at the Il Pirata Bar at the top of the town. This restaurant has the best pastries; all are made on the premises. Their reputation has made this small place such a popular breakfast place, that one must get there early to get a table.

While we were enjoying our delicious pastries, we began talking with the couple who sat next to us. By the end of our breakfast we were best friends – Lynda and Jake, from Toronto. We had such a good time with them. We discussed our plans for the day, and before we knew it, we had learned far more about each other than I know about my next door neighbors at home.

Soon, though, we all went our separate ways. I love the way that travel allows me to meet such interesting people as I go along.

The kids had their own plans for the day, so here I am, telling you about my day.

I am sitting at the Ananasso Bar again. Lest you think that I might do this too often, this bar sits right at the harbor’s edge. From here, I can look out at the little cove, where people are swimming. I can see the boats in the harbor and look beyond to the town of Monterosso. Over to my left and closer to the harbor is the good pizza restaurant that we visited yesterday. So, you see, my perch here, for the price of a drink, is perfect.

Today, I went for a walk up through town, past the Il Pirata Ristorante, where we had breakfast this morning. I walked up the road while following the little stream that starts somewhere up above, then flows down through the town. I remembered well, the deluge of October, 2011, where the rains came down so hard and for such a long time, that the mountains washed down into that stream, pushing homes, cars and anything in its path, into that stream, until the town was flooded with mud, debris up to the second story of the buildings.

Today, as I walked through the town, seven years after that disaster, I felt that the people of Vernazza have made a remarkable recovery. Although reconstruction is still going on in some areas: rock walls are being rebuilt, some facades of buildings still need to be repaired, life goes on as before.

As I sit here, watching the tourists, I wonder how many of them know the calamity that besieged the town those years before. I watch the people that work in the shops and the restaurants; I see them wait on the customers, and they are so kind, so patient. They are indeed lovely people.

Vernazza is one of the five villages in a unique area. During the day, the little town is filled with tourists. Many people come here to hike the trails between the villages. I honestly don’t know why the cruise ship passengers come here. When those cruise ships unload their tenders, the town is immediately flooded with up to five hundred extra people; more than the town can comfortable accommodate.

However, when evening comes; the town settles down and becomes an almost-quiet village. The people of Vernazza are resilient. They have rebuilt their town and life goes on in this little city as if the disaster never occurred.

My point in writing this blog post is to remind all of us, that no matter what life hands us, we have the choice to adapt, rebuild, and get on with things, or curl up and admit defeat. I want to pattern my life after the citizens of Vernazza: there is always light at the end of the tunnel, if I choose to follow it. Or I can let the small disasters get me down.

I am inspired by the people of the town of Vernazza.

Until next time,
Arrivederci,

Dolly

Sorrento and Amalfi Coast – Dolly Travels

Author: , August 2nd, 2018

Sorento and the Amalfi Coast - Dolly Travels

Buongiorno, tutti,

The sirens of the Sorento and the Amalfi Coast were calling us. We left Rome on Sunday morning and traveled to Napoli by train. At the train station, we got a taxi to take us to the port, where we would board a ferry for a short ride across the Bay of Napoli to Sorrento. The taxi ride itself was an adventure. I felt like I was on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride in Disneyland. Napoli, to me, is so crowded and congested, I never want to spend any time there. The taxi driver made certain that we got to the port in one piece, but I had my doubts for awhile. He was a genial soul. He did not speak English, but I was too terrified to speak, anyway.

The boat ride across the bay was such a pleasant way to get to Sorrento. I have always, in the past, taken the small train, the Circumvesuviana, which is usually very crowded and takes twice as long to get to Sorrento. I was happy for this new experience.

Once we arrived in Sorrento, and checked into our hotel, we set off on a short walking tour of the town. The walk was not very long, as we were hungry. We went to Ristorante Aurora, to have pizza, for they make the best pizza in Sorrento. The restaurant sits right on the main piazza, Piazza Tasso. From our outdoor table, we could watch the people walking by, as well as the activity of the piazza.

Sorrento sits on top of huge limestone cliffs. The canyons, the small streets, the hills, as well as the parks and quiet places, are so stunning, making Sorrento a superb walking town.

On Monday, we went on a driving tour of the Amalfi Coast. Carolina Monetti, daughter of our usual driver, Raffaele, picked us up at 8:30 and away we went.

Carolina drove us over the mountain to the Amalfi Coast side of the Mediterranean. She pointed out different points of interest to us, and stopped frequently for us to take pictures and get better views of the sea.

We stopped in one turnout on the road, where a man with a small truck had set up a little fruit stand. Lemons are everywhere. We were told that the trees down here produce three crops a year. Most of the lemon trees are in groves that are fenced and covered with mesh screens, as the torrential rains of winter, plus the birds and other calamities of nature, would destroy the fragile lemon blossoms.

Finally, though, we had to return to Sorrento. We finished our day by enjoying a fabulous dinner at my favorite restaurant in all of Italy, Ristorante Delfino, situated down at the Marina Grande. We celebrated Danny’s birthday in style. This was a perfect finish to a perfect day.

Until we meet again, Arrivederci. There are certainly more adventures in our future, but Danny’s birthday this year has to go down in history as one of the best days ever.

Ciao for now,
Dolly

Back In Rome – Dolly Travels

Author: , July 25th, 2018

Buongiorno, tutti,

Trevi Fountain - Alain

I am so happy to be back in Rome. This trip I am with my granddaughter, Heather, and her husband, Danny. We had a long, long flight from San Francisco to Rome, which not only made us all very tired, but the flight delays were stressful. However, near midnight on Wednesday, we made it to our lovely little apartment. We were hungry, too, so not long after we got the keys to the apartment, we ventured out to find food. Fortunately, Rome has several restaurants that stay open late, so we found ourselves eating pasta at nearly one o’clock in the morning.

The first sight we saw as we went in search of food was the Trevi Fountain. This lovely monument is only a block and a half from our apartment. In fact, we heard the sound of the water first, then the fountain came into view.

I had never seen the fountain with so few people around. The lighting and the sound of the gently falling water made the scene quite emotionally moving.

The following day, Danny and I ventured out to see some of Rome. I loved seeing his reaction to the city itself, as well as the sights we saw, for this was his first visit to Italy.

Danny and I walked all over that historic area of Rome, found a nice place for lunch in Campo di Fiori, then walked back to our apartment. We needed a “siesta”.

Later, Heather, Danny and I went out walking again. We stopped first for a gelato, then walked to the Spanish Steps, up to Piazza Barberini, and found a restaurant where I had been seven years ago with my grandson, Patrick and his girl friend, Kiri. After dinner we walked some more, taking Heather back to the Pantheon area and to Piazza Navona. We ventured over to Campo di Fiori for a drink, then home again.

Our days have been filled to the brim with activity. Over the past three days we have been to the Colosseum, the Vatican Museum and St. Peter’s Basilica, Borghese Galleria, Piazza Della Popolo, across the river to Trastevere.

Last night, after a lovely dinner near the Pantheon, I wanted the kids to see the Isola Tiberina, the island in the middle of the Tiber River. Lo and behold, we found an entirely new activity, for lack of a better word. Right down next to the river, on the Trastevere side, were tent-like structures, each one a different business. Many were restaurants or bars, a couple of hookah bars, a carnival area, with some clowns and games for kids, shops with clothings, jewelry, etc., etc. This area follows the river edge for about two miles. It was fun to walk along and watch the nighttime activity. The place was hopping.

Now we are packed and ready to go to Sorrento for a couple of days. I will try to blog more often, but we have been busy. Danny kept track of our miles of walking. We got in over 9 miles each day on Thursday and Friday; yesterday we walked 10-1/2 miles, and lots of stairs. I made the comment that I would be skinny as a rail when I get back home, but I think the gelato and the good food are going to balance out the calories lost in walking.

Ci vediamo presto. We will see each other soon.

Ciao for now,

Dolly

By Dolly – Full Story at Dolly Travels

Rome Gay Travel Resources

Returning to Lucca – Dolly Travels

Author: , May 5th, 2018

Lucca - Dolly Travels

Good morning, Everyone.

Today I am remembering Lucca. Lucca is another of my favorite cities in Tuscany. To get to Lucca, I usually take a train from Florence and enjoy the city as a day trip. The older part of the city is enclosed within ancient Roman stone walls. One walks from the train station, across a busy boulevard, then on a path that takes you through an archway in the wall, up a few steps and you are in a totally different world.

This is part of one of my tour groups, my “ducklings”, as we walk up the path to go through the wall up to the old city.

Once inside the walls, the city is full of parks, pretty piazze and lovely little sidewalk cafes.

Churches are abundant. For the most part, there are no tacky sidewalk vendors or beggars. This old town is as popular with the locals as it is with tourists, for many fine businesses flourish on the inner streets. Via Fillulungo is one street with expensive stores; I only window shop on that street. However, there is a wonderful pasticerria on that street, so sometimes I do have to stop in there and get a delicious treat.

For me, of the most fun things to do in Lucca is to rent bicycles and ride around the top of the old wall, the ramparts. The path is about two and a half miles around, completely encircling the old town. There are two bicycle rental places within the walls, and one outside, near the train station. I don’t ride a bike, but I love to walk this path, as it is pretty, and I have a great view of the inner part of the city. From there, I can decide where I want to go next.

I don’t think I would ride a bike down one of the exits off the ramparts that leads to the old city, for even walking down was a bit treacherous. There are easier ways to get down. One important item to remember, is which exit to take back to the city, for there are four main “porte”, or exits. If you go down the wrong one, you may have a long walk back to the train station. The exit closest to the station, for your information, is Porta San Pietro. Remember that, if you go to Lucca.

Another fun thing to do is to climb Guinigi Tower. This tower, a remnant of the 15th century, A.D., has a garden with full size trees growing up on top. To get to the top is a bit of a strenuous hike; there are 227 steps. However, once you emerge onto that garden, you will have a stupendous view, not only of the old city, but the surrounding countryside.

Lucca

Lucca sits in the foothills of the Apuan Alps, or Alpi Apuane, as they are known in Italy. Over those mountains in the background, not too far away, are the more famous Carrara Mountains, known for its fantastic marble quarries.

The Piazza dell’ Anfiteatro is one of the largest in Lucca. I have been there when an auto show was taking place. Wow! Some of the most beautiful cars in the world are in Italy, and I think they all gathered in Lucca that day.

Or you can relax at one of the many small cafes that are on the fringes of Piazza San Michele. Usually, there are children playing soccer in the piazza. (I will insert a little side note here: children in Italy rarely throw a ball; they kick it.).

As with all the Italian towns, there is so much more to discover than I have seen; therefore, I need to go back and find some more wonderful sights. I still have not seen Puccini’s house, although he is one of my favorite composers, and he is a native of Lucca. I would like to stay overnight in Lucca one of these times, for every night there is a concert. I know I would enjoy that.

I am looking forward to going to Lucca once more time.

I will post more pictures of Lucca when I am actually there, in just a few short weeks. Until then,

Ciao for now,
Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels

Lucca Gay Travel Resources

Food in Italy – Dolly Travels

Author: , March 23rd, 2018

Food in Italy

Good morning, all,

As you know, if Italy is not on my mind, food is. When I have the opportunity to enjoy both Italy and the food of Italy, I am in Nirvana. Fortunately, whenever I go to Italy, I have been able to find apartments with a kitchen, no matter how small, and I can cook sometimes. When I am not cooking, I am always on the lookout for restaurants that serve specialties of the area.

This was the beginning of one meal in Rome on my last visit. Notice the stove with its 2 burners, a small sink and countertop, but that was sufficient space for me to make our dinner of tortellini soup and Caprese salad. Notice that I was able to buy the soup vegetables in a package. I love that I can just pick up one package and have carrots, celery, onions and parsley without buying a lot of either vegetable.

Each area of Italy has its own food specialty, according to what grows well in the area, for Italians use foods that are locally grown and not difficult to find.

Risotto, for instance, is a dish that originated in the Lombardia area, for the weather up in that northern part of Italy is cooler, and rice is one of the principal foods grown in that region.

Further south of Lombardia is the Emilia-Romagna region, where Bologna is a major city. It was in that city that the Bolognese sauce was born, as beef and pork are both raised in this area. The traditional meats used in the Bolognese sauce are veal, pork and beef, simmered with garlic, tomatoes and herbs for hours. This sauce is used for lasagne and spaghetti. The trattorie of Bologna specialize in dishes prepared with this sauce.

Corn is another crop grown in this area of Emilia-Romagna, so polenta is another dish you will find on the menu of the area.

Up in the most eastern part of the country is Venice, situated on the Adriatic Sea; therefore, the specialties of Venice are seafood delicacies. My favorite dish from that area is baked sea bass, although many varieties of seafood are available, as one trip to the fish market near the Rialto bridge will tell you.

On the other side of the country, on the Ligurian Sea, is Genoa, home of pesto, and the Cinque Terre, the 5 villages along the rugged coast, where fishing is a major commerce.

Going south and more westward, is Florence, almost in the midway point between east and west, with no seacoast. The most famous dish of Florence is the Bistecca Alla Fiorentina, a porterhouse steak from the Chianina beef that are only raised in Tuscany. These animals are huge!! I went to a festival once that featured the bistecca. The butchers marched into the Piazza Republicca, led by a band and accompanied by lovely ladies in Renaissance costumes. The butchers brought in sides of that Chianina beef and laid them on a big work table and started slicing off steaks. These steaks are cut about 2 inches thick and each steak weighs about 1 kilo (2.2 pounds). The steaks are brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper, then thrown onto a grill, they are cooked 5 to 6 minutes on one side, turned over and cooked 5 to 6 minutes on the other. Some chefs brush balsamic vinegar onto the steak after it is cooked, but I have not found if that is the normal way of doing things. It does no good to ask for your steak to be cooked medium or medium well; If you do not like your steak rare and bleeding, don’t order Bistecca alla fiorentina. The beef, though, is very tender and very tasty.

There are numerous farms as well as vineyards in the Tuscany region. Chianti is the most famous of the wines of that area, but farm crops, such as spinach also abound. If you see a dish on the menu that has the word “Florentine” or “Fiorentina” in its title, it probably has spinach in it. One of the dishes I had one of my tour groups make while we stayed in Florence, was Gnocchi alla Fiorentina….little pillows of potato and flour dough, with eggs and spinach incorporated into them. Those little fluffy pillows are cooked in simmering water, drained and served with almost any type of pasta sauce, but they really show off their tastiness with just some browned butter over them and Parmesan cheese.

As you travel further south in Italy, there are numerous hill towns. Wild game is plentiful in the hills and valleys of these areas, so foods made with the wild boar, cinghale, are prominent on the menu.

Rome claims to be the birthplace of pasta all carbonara, where freshly cooked pasta is tossed with egg, bacon and cheese. Pasta Arrabiata is another pasta dish that supposedly originated in Rome. Rome also promotes pasta l’amatriciana as theirs, although that dish actually came from the village of Amatrice, up in the hills east of Rome. That village was nearly destroyed by earthquakes a few years ago. Restaurants all over Italy held fund-raisers for that city by featuring pasta l’amatriciana on their menus, with proceeds from sale of that dish going to earthquake relief of the village.

One word of caution, though, when in Rome, do NOT try to order any pasta with Alfredo sauce. You will be met with cold stares, unfriendly words, for no one in Italy considers Alfredo sauce to be truly Italian. Yes, it was developed by a chef in Rome for a famous Hollywood couple, but it was his invention and not a traditional Italian sauce.

Further south of Rome is Naples, the birthplace of pizza. Traveling even further south we come to Sorrento, known for its lemons (limoncello) and seafood. I look forward to going to Sorrento, to the Ristorante Delfino on the Marina Grande, and enjoying spaghetti with clams, my favorite Italian dish anywhere, but especially when prepared at that ristorante.

No matter what you eat or in what area of Italy you are, there is always time and a place for gelato. And no matter how old you are, you must have a gelato.

So until next time, I hope you have enjoyed a little food tour of Italy.

Ciao for now,
Dolly

“Two Summers on the Helen Marie” – Dolly Publishes a Book!

Author: , March 17th, 2018

Two Summers on the Helen Marie: Cruising the Inside Passage

We’re so excited for our friend Dolly – she just published her first book, a travel memoir:

I was a bit busy last week, so I did not get a chance to write a blog post; however, on March 1, I received the notice from Amazon that my book, “Two Summers on the Helen Marie: Cruising the Inside Passage”, had been accepted for publication.

The book is now available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.com.

I am very excited about this, as this is my first book to be published. Oh, yes, I am already working on another book about my adventures, which will be about traveling with Frank. That may turn out to be a hilarious comedy. At any rate, it will be interesting, especially for those of you who know us.

Today I want to post pictures and talk a little more about the first trip I had on the Helen Marie with my brother, Lee, and his wife, Rosey. I was not able to put pictures in the book. Well, I could have done that, but it would have raised the cost of production so much, I did not feel it was feasible. I am only going to write and post pictures today of the Alaska excursion, and on Friday, I will write a post and include pictures of the second trip, to British Columbia. There are just too many photos to try to include both trips in one post.

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at SOURCE

Alaska Gay Travel Resources

San Gimignano – Dolly Travels

Author: , March 12th, 2018

San Gimignano - Dolly Travels

Good morning, everyone,

Today I am thinking of San Gimignano. This is one of the hill towns of Tuscany. True to its designation, there are hardly any flat places in this town.

To get there, one would take a bus from Florence, change buses in Poggibonsi. You might have to wait about a half hour for the next bus, but you will have time for a cappuccino at the little cafe in the bus/train station. That is about an hour and a half trip, and a pleasant one. San Gimignano is probably the most accessible of all the hill towns, so it is a busy place. I have never taken the train to Poggibonsi, as I would still have to take the bus up the hill to San Gimignano. My bus ticket gets me all the way to San Gimignano.

Once you get to San Gimignano and get off the bus, you walk through a stone archway, up an old stone street, until you come to the main piazza.

As you walk through town, don’t expect any flat ground, for there isn’t any…well, in front of the restaurants where the tables are set up, that is pretty flat. But most of the time, you will be either walking uphill or downhill. The picture above is deceiving, for it really is going uphill.

This is a city of towers. There are 14 towers still standing, surviving from the 13th century. Tourists can now climb one of the towers. I tried it once, and had to turn back, as the staircase was built of see-through steel grating, and as the stairs spiraled up and up and up, it scared the heck out of me to look down the way I had traveled, and I could see the stone floor so far below me.

You can see the people on the tower on the right. If you don’t have a fear of heights, like I do, this is a marvelous experience, to be able to look over the countryside, and if the weather is absolutely clear, you can see all the way to Florence, for that city is only 25 miles away, as the crow flies, I do believe.

San Gimignano is busy, as I said, for many tourists are there in the daytime. I would love to stay overnight there one of these trips, and see how it feels in the evening and I would enjoy the quiet of the nighttime up there.

When I am in San Gimignano, I find places like this. I don’t feel the need to shop, unless it is at a shop where I can buy the salami that is made from the cinghiale, the wild boars that roam in the countryside nearby. That is one cold cut that I really enjoy.

However, for the most part, I wander through the cobblestone streets, through the tunnels, up the hills, and find neat little staircases.

At the main piazza, appropriately named Piazza dell Cisterna, there is the old well. This used to be the gathering spot for the locals, for most people had to come there to draw their water. It still seems to be the gathering spot for tourists, as it makes a perfect Meeting Point. Everyone should know where the well is.

There are many good restaurants and cafes in San Gimignano. There are gelato shops as well, and as I mentioned before, shops that sell the salami and cheeses. This town is also noted for its very good white wine, Vernaccia di San Gimignano. The red wine from this area is not so tasty; if you are a red wine drinker, order a Chianti from the other side of Tuscany, the area between Florence and Siena.

San Gimignano - Dolly Travels

Some of the salami with different cheeses and grissini, the little thin bread sticks. So yummy.

I hope I have given you a glimpse of San Gimignano; enough of a glimpse that you will want to go see this town for yourself. Despite this being such a touristy town, it still retains the old world feel, and if you venture through town, go up to the Rocco, a view point that has you looking south over the countryside, then go down away from the center, you will probably feel as I do, that this is a perfect hill town.

I will leave you now with this little slice of Italy. Arrivederci, until next time, when I will tell you about some other place that I love and will visit again in June.

Ciao for now,
Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels

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