Postcards From An Italian Adventure: The Carlis Launch a New Apartment

Author: , August 22nd, 2010

Gay Friendly Tuscany Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Our dear friend, Bella (Dolly Goolsby) is on an extended adventure in Italy. She has graciously agreed to let us republish her travel logs. Enjoy!

Friday, August 6th

I was one of 10 people who attended a dinner party given by the Carli’s in this new apartment. Lots of “bubbly” wine for a proper toast, and more food and drink than any of us needed. What a lovely evening!

The other guests were the Ochoa family from Mexico (Amanda and her family). plus 3 very interesting guests of Magda and Massimo, so there were several languages floating around the dinner table.

I really have to get busy and study my Italiano more, but when the conversations are flowing as quickly and abundantly as these were last night, it is difficult to keep up anyway. I did get the gist of some of the conversations, and thoroughly enjoyed being with the people that were there.

One of the guests, Anna, is a retired art history teacher, who taught for 40 years. Lena, the other lady present, is an architect. Lena and I did have some conversation, as she speaks some English.

Now that the Allegri apartment is officially open, I wanted to move there straight away; however, I was told that it has already been reserved for three months by some people from Canada.

Anyway, I thought you might like to see some pictures of the apartment and our lovely dinner party. There seems to be something new to do every day.

Ciao for now…

Dolly

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Postcards From An Italian Adventure – Sciopero

Author: , July 28th, 2010

Gay Friendly Tuscany Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Our dear friend, Bella (Dolly Goolsby) is on an extended adventure in Italy. She has graciously agreed to let us republish her travel logs. Enjoy!

Friday, July 9th

Sciopero.

I learned this word in “Italians for Travelers”. It means “strike” and it happens all the time in Italia, but today, I was personally inconvenienced, and I had to wonder, why do they do this?

I had a paid reservation to go on a wine tasting tour out of Siena. But today there was a strike, a “sciopero”, and I could not get to Siena…

Of course, there were notices posted yesterday that the strike would be from 0900 to 2100 today. The strike involved all public transportation…

City buses, intercity buses, railroad travel.

Knowing there was going to be a problem, I went early to the bus station. It was almost eerie: no buses, people going to the counter, and being turned away. I then walked across the street to the train station, and saw on the boards, cancelled, cancelled, cancelled. It was amazingly quiet…people with luggage, talking in whispers to each other, no one made a scene, no one questioned why… It was so quiet.

The one bright spot was, that I knew I would not get run over by a bus on my way back home.

Today is miserably hot, so when I did get home, all I wanted to do, was to have a shower. Later, I went out for a bit, and I could see the tourists wilting before my eyes… no one had the energy to do anything, except find an air conditioned bar and have a beer, perhaps.

I came back to the apartment and stayed here, until Amanda came down, and we went out to dinner. The air is so still, just hot and humid and not moving. We only went a few blocks, but fortunately, the ristorante was very good, the place is beautiful, they gave us a complimentary drink and appetizer, then we had a wonderful meal.

I still love Florence, in spite of the heat and the strikes. The heat just makes me get up earlier to do my exploring, and the strikes are part of the culture, so I will learn how to work around them, too.

The heat, well I cannot say I will learn to love it,but fortunately, the sea coast is just a couple hours train ride from here. If there is no strike!

So, no pictures today, sorry. But just an insight to another aspect of Italian culture, but I cannot think of anywhere else I would rather be.

Ciao for now,

Dolly

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Postcards From An Italian Adventure – Orvieto, Bagnoregio and Civita

Author: , July 21st, 2010

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Our dear friend, Bella (Dolly Goolsby) is on an extended adventure in Italy. She has graciously agreed to let us republish her travel logs. Enjoy!

Orvieto

Monday, June 28th

Orvieto, ItalyHi, everyone,

I just returned from a wonderful 2 days in Orvieto. Orvieto is a hill town, about half way between Florence and Rome. It has been on my “must see” list for some time, and I finally got to go there.

I arrived by train into the lower city, from there I took a bus to the upper, old city. This old city perches on a hill that is about one mile wide and maybe 1-1/2 miles long. I would call it a plateau, but it definitely is not flat. It is a lovely medieval city.

Orvieto, ItalyI emerged from the bus, right onto the Piazza Duomo, in front of one of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen. The style of construction is Romanesque, with alternating stripes of black and white stone.

The facade, though, is very ornate, lots of color and gold. The doors of the Duomo are huge, and fairly new, designed by an artist called Emelio Greco, and installed in the 1970′s, I believe.

Inside was so simple, huge, with very ornate side chapels. It reminded me of the Mezquita church in Cordoba, Spain (which is my favorite church of all time). Sometimes one piece of art, or one building, can make the entire trip worth while. This church not only touched my heart, it touched my soul.

There are several old churches in Orvieto, and all beautiful in their own way. I was intrigued with the stone houses, all the buildings, the tunneled passageways, and just how many times I could get lost I a city that is not all that big!!

There is a walkway, around the perimeter of the city, from where I could look over the Umbrian countryside, from any direction. There is also a walkway about half way down the cliff, that also is very scenic, but I knew if I walked down that circular staircase, sooner or later I would have to walk back up those stairs.

Yesterday, I took a bus from Orvieto, to a little town called Bagnoregio, further into the hilly countryside. The bus ride was supposed to take one hour; however, my driver made it in 40 minutes. I think he stopped at one stop sign, and that was in Bagnoregio.

The trip reminded me of going on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride in Disneyland! From the bus stop, I walked through the town, which took about a half hour, as my goal was to go to the isolated city of Civita.

CivitaThis city, definitely medieval, is connected to Bagnoregio by only a pedestrian bridge. There is no other way to get there. The cities used to be connected by a land bridge, but that has long ago eroded.

Then they had a trail, called the Donkey Path, replaced by a bridge that was destroyed in World War II. I saw pictures of the Donkey Bridge as well as the old bridge, and I would not have made the trip on either of those!

Civita, ItalyThis bridge spans a canyon, and only takes about 10 minutes to walk it. But about midway there, I nearly had a panic attack: I am afraid of heights, and here I was in the middle of a bridge over a canyon, trying to convince myself that it would be OK, and I would not fall off.

I finally got across, and thoroughly enjoyed the city. The experience was similar, in my mind, of walking across the Foresthill Bridge in Auburn (which, of course, I have not done!)

Civita, ItalyBy the way, I was one of 5 tourists in that entire town and the other 4 were an American family, so I had it all to myself.

Before going back over the bridge, I got a bottle of water, thought about having a glass of wine to calm my nerves but nixed that idea before it had time to germinate. Just as I was almost to the Bagnoregio side of the bridge, here came 2 tour groups. I was glad I did not have to move to the edge of the bridge mid-canyon, as I would not have done it..they would have had to go around me.

It was quite an adventure, and I am glad I did it, and have found another new adventure for my tour groups. It really was lovely.

After I got across, I did sit at a sidewalk cafe in Bagnoregio, to watch the traffic. Remember, this is a tiny little town, very few places to park, and as it was Saturday, there seemed to be a lot of traffic. But the residents take it in stride: one double parks, parks behind someone else, or if you see a spot that looks like your car will fit into, then just go for it. It was fun, and amazing.

I saw one guy, who saw that someone was backing out of a spot, put his car in reverse, started backing up, so everyone behind him had to do the same thing. And there was no swearing, no fights; just seem to be the way the people were used to doing things. I saw it as another reason I do not want to drive in Italy!

Back in Orvieto, after a little lunch and rest, I had the rest of the evening to explore some more, got lost a few more times, but just soaked up the medieval flavor of the town.

Orvieto, ItalyThis morning I went to Mass in the Duomo. I just had to see it one more time. Then, on the bus to the train station, and got the train back to Firenze. Back home.

Tonight, a young lady from La Paz, Mexico, is arriving by herself. Her name is Amanda. She just graduated from high school, and will be studying here in Florence. Her family is coming over in three weeks, so I told Magda that I would help Amanda get settled and watch over her, if she needs it. Amanda’s mother liked that idea. So now I have a duckling. I am happy. I hope Amanda will be happy, too. I will try not to smother her.

Thursday, June 24, was a holiday here, St. John’s Day, and I went with Massimo and Magda to watch the fireworks. We lined up along the walkway by the Arno River. The fireworks were set off from Piazzale Michelangelo, up on a hill overlooking Florence. The fireworks were beautiful, a very nice display.

ItalyAfterward, we went to a pizza ristorante and had a late night pizza. Very fun. On the way home, I almost got run over by a scooter. Magda saved me and proclaimed herself as the new “Mamma Duck”. We had a very good time together. They are fun to be with, and will keep me from being too lonesome.

They are finishing remodeling and furnishing a new apartment, near Santa Croce. I am anxious to see it, and have proposed that the apartment needs an appropriate christening. I will wait for them to tell me the date, then we will do it right! I love the fact that it is two doors down from a Wine Bar, called Intelligente. My kind of place!

Now I am back in Firenze, home. And just like when you come home, in the United States, from an excellent adventure, there are things that need to be done, like laundry, making a grocery list, mundane chores. So I will do those things now, then watch soccer matches until time for Amanda to arrive.

Ciao for now. Keep in touch, and new adventures will be posted soon.

Dolly

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Postcards From an Italian Adventure – Alone in Florence

Author: , July 14th, 2010

Gay Friendly Tuscany Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Our dear friend, Bella (Dolly Goolsby) is on an extended adventure in Italy. She has graciously agreed to let us republish her travel logs. Enjoy!

Florence, Italy

Thursday, June 17th

Florence, ItalyAll my “ducklings” have gone back home now. The first day I was totally alone was yesterday. I decided that I should systematically cover Florence, so I started with a plan… one must always have a plan or you have nothing to deviate from… an old saying but very true in my case.

I have a guide book that sets up these little walking tours in the neighborhoods, so I started with our area, the Santissima Annunziata. I toured the church first, and it is beautiful inside.

I then went to the 1 Euro cafe, got a capucchino, then headed towards the San Ambrogio market, but via a route I had not taken before. I had barely gotten inside the building when the rain came pouring down. I waited a bit, bought some fruit out in the stands, and already the rain had stopped.

Florence, ItalyLater, I took another walk, tucking an umbrella in my purse first. I walked for about 2 hours. I went to the San Lorenzo church, and then looked at the merchandise in the street stalls. I actually bought 2 scarves (I was known as the non-shopper by my “ducklings”).

Today, I went to San Marco museum. I was headed toward Oltrano, across the Arno, when the sky started getting darker and darker. Darn! No umbrella with me, so I ducked into a store, and bought one, then just as I was going past the Duomo, the lightning and thunder roared, hail and rain came down in buckets.

My umbrella tried to turn inside out, so I had to hold down the edges. I had myself tucked up against a building, but I got soaked. The entire episode lasted about 10 minutes, but it sure emptied out the piazza. Even the guys selling umbrellas ran for cover. So I slogged my way back to the apartment.

Florence, ItalyThere I found that the bedroom window had blown open, and the floor was wet almost to the hallway. After I finished cleaning up that mess, I took a hot shower, did the laundry, made some soup for my lunch, and decided I was not going anywhere anymore today. End of adventures for now.

Tomorrow I move upstairs for 2 weeks, then back down to the Oyster apartment. I still have more adventures awaiting me, so stay tuned to the blog site. I am sending a couple pix I took this morning before the storm.

Ciao for now.

Dolly

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Postcards From An Italian Adventure – Florence & Fiesole

Author: , June 16th, 2010

Our dear friend, Bella (Dolly Goolsby) is on an extended adventure in Italy. She has graciously agreed to let us republish her travel logs. Enjoy!

May 26th, 2010

Fiesole, ItalyBuon giorno,

Today is Wednesday already! How time flies when you are having fun!

Saturday was beautiful, so the ladies all went to the markets to do their last a minute shopping and to see more of Florence. I, of course, took everyone to San Ambrogio market in the morning.

We discovered the most wonderful hardware store ever… it had a little bit of everything in it. Tucked between the insoles for shoes was the kitchen appliances, some linens, actual Hardware items, like screwdrivers, light bulbs, but the store just kept going… there was a downstairs with a Christmas tree, among other things. It was better than going to Home Depot!

At Bella's TableAcross the street from that was a fabric store, and home decorating items. Eventually, we got over to the market to do our weekend grocery shopping. I was tired after that, so the ladies had to go to the street market without me.

That evening we had another good meal here at the apartment. We made panna cotta for dessert. Sunday again was a beautiful sunny day, so after our leisurely breakfast, some of us went up to Fiesole (picture above)  for the most wonderful view of Florence from a city that is even older than Florence.

No flat ground there, I can tell you, but the view was worth it. Two of the gals stayed in Florence and were finally able to get into the Bargello museum and see the other sights that we had not been able to see earlier.

Biking in LuccaAlthough three of the travelers had early flights on Tuesday and needed to pack, we nevertheless hopped on the train to Lucca early Monday morning.

Some of us walked the walls of the city and Thera rented bicycles and biked around.

We had a lovely lunch and came home to Florence around 6 p.m.

For our last evening together, we went to ZaZa restaurant.

Pasta from Magda and MassimoEarly Tuesday 4 of the ladies left us, Kristie and Ruth went to Pisa, Susan and I cleaned house. Massimo and Magda, our gracious Landlord and lady, came to dinner in the evening, and they even brought the main course, a wonderful clam pasta made with small clams from Viareggio, and they also brought sparkling wine go with the meal.

We had a great visit. I had made dessert, a plum clafoutis, which is French, sorry! But very good and not too sweet, to end our eating frenzy!,

Bella with her paperNow I am waiting for Christine and Kathy to arrive to make up our next journey. We will leave Friday for a three day stay in Venice, then up to Verona, then the Dolomites. Unfortunately, the weather forecast is not favorable, but we are going anyway.

My other computer crashed this morning so we are going to have a funeral for it later. Thank goodness I was finally able to access the internet with the iPad this morning.

love to all…

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Postcards From an Italian Adventure – A Sunday Stroll

Author: , June 3rd, 2010

Our dear friend, Bella (Dolly Goolsby) is on an extended adventure in Italy. She has graciously agreed to let us republish her travel logs. Enjoy!

Florence, Italy

Saturday, May 16th:

Buona sera,

I will have to make a shorter note tonight… we have really done a lot, in spite of the rain, in the last few days, and tomorrow we leave for Cinque Terre, and I will not be able to write for 3 days.

Florence, ItalyFriday, the ladies went to Boboli Gardens, without me, as I needed to get some things done here at the apartment. Susan took them on that tour, and of course, the rains came down in buckets, at times, but they did go into the Pitti Palace, and have a chance to dry out a bit.

The afternoon turned out to be sunny, warm and very nice. I had to go to the market, then I made an apple tart for Sharona’s birthday. Susan had decorated our house early on. When the ladies all returned in the afternoon, we had her birthday pie… we knew we were going to dinner later, and allowed enough time to not spoil our appetites.

About 7:00, we left for the restaurant, I Latini. We had 7:30 seating. It was very fun, as you pay one price for everything, and one does not have to make many choices.

Appetizers were a sampler plate, with barley salad, prosciutto, salami, cheese, then the first course was a sampler of ravioli, pasta with wild boar sauce, (I cannot even remember all, because the first thing they did was open a 2 liter jug of Chianti, the bottle with the straw bottom, but it was very good.!!)

I Latini, Florence, ItalyThe courses went on: for the main course, we each chose our own, and we each got something different. I had deep fried lamb chops, which were wonderful, Sharona had rabbit, Susan had rack of lamb, Then came the dessert sampler, then biscotti with vin santo, and a sparkling moscato wine, which was wonderful.

Somewhere along the way, a second bottle of Chianti was opened. Lord, Lordy!! When we were ready to leave, Sharona asked if she could take the wine home,,, no problema!! The waiter popped a cork in the bottle, we left, following Sharona through Piazza Repubblica, and no one even gave us a second glance.

As you might expect, Saturday, we did not do much of anything… in the morning. It was raining again… but by lunch time, it had stopped enough that finally, we were able to go to the San Lorenzo market and the ladies got to do some shopping.

Today, miracle of miracles, we woke to a sunny day. We had a lovely brunch with French toast, sausages, fruit salad, and mimosas, then left to see Florence in the sunshine. We could not do the Santa Croce church until afternoon, and the Bargello was closed, also… which were the two things we really wanted to do, so we went to plan C. Got on a bus, up to Piazzale Michelangelo.

Boy Eating Gelato - Florence, ItalyThe view from up there, looking down over Florence, is spectacular. We then had a pizza and some wine, and walked back into the city.

Now we could visit Santa Croce, which we did, then stopped for gelato, finally getting back here around 5:30.

We made a simple dinner of stuffed pasta shells, stuffed with spinach and fresh ricotta, oven roasted veggies, and some leftovers from last night’s dinner…

Now I am off to bed, and will send another email after Cinque Terre.

Love to all, and Ciao for now!

p.s. the kid eating gelato is not anyone we know, but he was so into his ice cream, I could not resist!! (His Dad gave the OK)

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Postcards From An Italian Adventure – Assissi

Author: , May 31st, 2010

Our dear friend, Bella (Dolly Goolsby) is on an extended adventure in Italy. She has graciously agreed to let us republish her travel logs. Enjoy!

Assissi, ItalyTuesday, May 12th:

Buon giorno, tutti,

I will try to write this letter quickly before the server goes down again…I have been kicked off several times today, just trying to read my email… oh well, if all else fails, I might have to go to an internet cafe… me with my 2 computers, that are very nice, but we are at the mercy of the server.

Wednesday, we went, by train, to Assisi. Carmella did a good job of buying the tickets again. She is willing to get right out there and do it.

Sharona, who is probably more fluent than any of us, still holds back, and will not speak up unless she has to save me from disaster. Now as for myself, I am the least fluent, but I am always trying to speak.

Assisi, ItalyThe biggest insult though, came yesterday, when I was trying to speak to a waitress to get another mezzo liter of wine, and the waitress went to Carmella, for her to decipher what I was saying… I mean, mezzo liter a vino bianca is not that difficutl, but the waitress was trying to tell me I already had some, and she thought I wanted another mezzo liter just for myself, not for the 6 of us at the table. So Carmella saved us, I got the mezzo liter and the check… I had better start studying more!!

Despite the rain, we did get to the Basilica of Saint Francis without much trouble at all. There were not a lot of visitors, because of the weather. We then walked a bit around the town, as the rain would let up, then come down in buckets. Finally, at 5:00 p.m.I had to give it up. I went back to the hotel, covered myself in every blanket in the room and took a 45 minute nap. I was very cold…

Assissi, ItalyFortunately, the hotel also has a family-run ristorante, so we ate there that night, had very good food, and very good house wine.

Thursday morning, the sun came out, we had breakfast at the hotel, packed our bags, and the hotelier let us leave them there until we were ready to leave. So we took off, doing the Rick Steves self-guided tour. We went up to the top of the city, where the old amphitheater used to be, then wound our way down to the main part of the city again. We went into San Rufino church, which was the home church for Saint Francis and Sister Claire.

Mainly, we just walked through the town, admiring the old stone houses, and the many windows with flower boxes. Eventually, the rain was threatening again, so we decided to get to a covered outdoor cafe and get some coffee. I ducked into a deli next to the caffe, and soon, Carmella and Sharona came to get me. “You will never guess who is here!” they said. Well, first thing that came to mind was Rick Steves, but they said No…come and see for yourself.

Assisi, Italy - Carmella, Sharona, Franca and BellaThere was Franca and Ron Lingren, with a tour group. Franca was our teacher for Italiano Tre [in Sacramento, CA]. What a surprise. I knew she did tours, but had no idea that she would be in Assisi when we were. I am sending a picture of us (at left – from the right, Carmella, Sharona, Franca and Dolly). I first saw Ron, her husband, and he was absolutlely amazed, also.

Later, as we were waiting for our bus back to the train station, we got rained on again. This is no ordinary rain… first lightning, then thunder, the torrential rain for about 15 or 20 minutes… and it is cold.

Assisi, ItalyWhen we got back to Firenze, there was no rain, then, and our other compagne had returned from Sorrento. We made a dinner of strangozzi pasta, that we had bought in Assisi, with a great sauce of marinara, carciofi (artichokes), sundried tomatoes, and mushrooms. We roasted some veggies (carrots, fennel, onion) and had a green salad and one of our 4.40 Euro bottles of wine.

Today is Sharona’s birthday, so Susan decorated the apartment appropriately, and after breakfast, everyone except Cherie and me went to Boboli Gardens and the Pitti Palace. Cherie is sick so she went back to bed, I went to San Ambrogio market, then I came home, and made an apple tart for Sharona’s birthday cake. Tonight we are going to take her out to dinner. I have made chicken soup for Cherie, as she does not feel well enough to go out.

I hope the rain will stop soon. We are going to Cinque Terre on Monday for three nights. The forecast says good weather for us up there, but who knows. We just have to go anyway.

Keep in touch, and my apologies to all of you who have been kicked out of my categories. I cannot understand why this happens. My good friend and co-director of this tour, has been kicked off my list no less than 4 times. Hopefully, she will get this email, as she is sitting close enough to whack me on the head if she gets kicked off again.

Our love to all…

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Postcards From An Italian Adventure – The Uffizi Gallery

Author: , May 26th, 2010

Dolly "Bella" GoolsbyOur dear friend, Bella (Dolly Goolsby) is on an extended adventure in Italy. She has graciously agreed to let us republish her travel logs. She’s using a new iPad, and had a bit of trouble getting us pictures at first, but as her story progresses, we’ll have some great pics to share with the Purple Roofs readers too. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 8th:

We woke up to just slightly overcast day, and then the sun came out….Yeah!! First, we had breakfast, then went to the Ambrogio market. We bought some fruit, some sausages for tomorrow’s brunch, but did not have the time to spend dawdling, as we had appointments for the Uffizi at noon. We had a quick lunch at the apartment, then walked to the Uffizi together. Susan and I were not going into the gallery, but we wanted to make sure the ladies got there, and in the right line, at their appointed time.

Susan and I left the ladies, and had not even gotten off the portico of the Uffizi, when the skies opened up, the rain came down in buckets. Being the optimistic people we are, neither of us had on a rain coat or had an umbrella. Of course, if we wanted an umbrella, there were many people out there wanting to sell us one. Finally, we ducked into a caffe on via Calzioula, had a cappucchino while waiting for the rain to stop. Within 15 minutes, the sun was out again, and we made our way back to the apartment.

Two hours later, I walked back to Piazza Signoria, as I had told the ladies I would meet them at 2:00. Well, I could not get across the piazza, as there were orange barriers up, and what do you think??? They were racing sport cars through the piazza. I do not know the entire course, but I never know what to expect anymore. (As I do not know what to expect from this computer, as it sends my e-mails when it is ready, not when I am ready. My apologies to all of you for the uncompleted emails you are receiving.)

Anyway, the ladies had a gelato, I was very good, and stayed away from that today. But the gelato is so good here, it is hard to not have one.

Eventually, tonight, we enjoyed another lovely dinner together. I tried a new pasta recipe that was in the May issue of Bon Appetit, called Fettucine with peas, asparagus and pancetta. It was quick, easy and very good. So we sat here, enjoyed the lovely Chianti wine (I splurged today…paid 7.20 Euro for a 1.5 liter bottle of Chianti classico. Wonderful wine, at prices I can afford.

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day…we will have a good brunch, then the ladies have an appointment at the Accademia, which is just around the corner from us. I am not going to the galleries this round of visitors…I am waiting until Frank gets here, and go with him…

We are having a good time, even with the rains. There is so much to see, and just enjoy this great city.

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Postcards From an Italian Adventure – Firenze in the Rain

Author: , May 23rd, 2010

Dolly "Bella" GoolsbyOur dear friend, Bella (Dolly Goolsby) is on an extended adventure in Italy. She has graciously agreed to let us republish her travel logs. She’s using a new iPad, and had a bit of trouble getting us pictures at first, but as her story progresses, we’ll have some great pics to share with the Purple Roofs readers too. Enjoy!

Yesterday the rest of the group arrived, for our Florence and the Hill Towns tour.

Not without a bit of difficulty, I might say, because of the weather. Sharona and Carmella got here about 3 p.m., I think. We were expecting them sooner, but planes were not able to land in Florence, due to rain and wind, so they had to circle, and finally made one of the worst landings ever, according to Carmella, but it was either land or divert to Bologna and bus them down, which would have not been fun, either.

So we relaxed, heard about their trip, and awaited the other 4, that were due to arrive at 5:25 pm. About 6:30, I started worrying, checked the Lufthansa web site to find they had been delayed in Frankfurt, then when they did get to leave, again planes could not land in Florence.

Same story as above. Plane finally made a hop and skip type landing, slithering down the runway, but here they were, only 3 hours late, but amazing, no lost luggage.

Susan and I had soup, bread and wine waiting for them. Some tired people, but after some dinner, and showers, they were good to go.

Today, it was still raining off and on. We went to San Ambrogio market, and bought the food for our dinner tonight, then had a cappucchino at Robiglio pasticerria, right next to our apartment. We thought we might walk through town; however, the rain came down in buckets, so we had lunch and a 2 hour siesta time, then went to the Museo di Duomo.

By then the rain was either very light or stopped altogether, so we did get a good walk in, along the Arno, down to Santa Crocem where there were the little huts set up from all the different regions of Italy, where one could buy typical food products of the regions.

We bought some arancini (from Sicily), some bread from Sardinia, and had a small repast at the apartment before we made dinner. Dinner was pasta with fresh tomato sauce, burrata chees and basil.

Now if you haven’t had burrata cheese, other than tell you it is marvelous, I don’t know how to describe it. It is a soft cheese, similar to fresh mozzarella, but filled with cream inside, so all this lovely stuff goes into the cooked pasta and fresh tomato sauce, and fresh basil. It is quite heavenly, and simple.

Cherie had bought us a nice bottle of limoncello, and we had also bought a carmelized pear in some wonderful sauce at the market this morning, so we had a wonderful meal. OH, yes, I fell off the no sugar thing today. Had my first gelato of this stay, while we were walking, then 1/6 of that decadent pear, More water and walking tomorrow, I can tell you.

We are going to Lucca tomorrow, despite the 80% chance of rain. We have decided that life cannot stop because of rain, and who cares anyway? WE ARE IN ITALY!!!!

Wish all of you guys could be here with us. I am trying to speak Italian as much as I can, but it is slow, and much like Spanglish, but Italianish.
And I have to tell you, my Italiano classmates are not jumping in and rescuing me. I had to talk to them about that….

We are having a wonderful time. Will write more after Lucca.

Want to Follow Bella’s Adventure Directly? Check Out Dolly Travels

Click here for gay travel resources in Campania, Italy.

Postcards From an Italian Adventure – Back to Firenze

Author: , May 21st, 2010

Dolly "Bella" GoolsbyOur dear friend, Bella (Dolly Goolsby) is on an extended adventure in Italy. She has graciously agreed to let us republish her travel logs. She’s using a new iPad, and had a bit of trouble getting us pictures at first, but as her story progresses, we’ll have some great pics to share with the Purple Roofs readers too. Enjoy!

We made it back to Firenze this evening. Did a bit of shopping at the Euro Store and Conad market, came to the apartment, made a simple little pasta dinner, and opened a huge bottle of wine (1.5 liter) that we got for 4.40 Euro, a screw top from Montelpuciano. It is very good…

There was a bit of rain when we first got here, but rain is predicted for the rest of the week. Our day tomorrow will be spent getting ready for our travel group. We are expecting to have a great deal of fun, in spite of the weather. It is not cold, the rain has stopped now, so we will be opimistic that the weather will not interrupt any of our plans.

Sorrento was above beautiful. Sunday, (now look how good we are!!) Susan and I started our day by going to Mass. Then we decided to walk, get out of Central Sorrento, away from the tourists, so we took back streets, and walked into the next town, S. Agnello, found a nice little sidewalk caffe overlooking the water, had lunch, then walked back to Sorrento. A nice little walk, have no idea how far we walked.

When we got back to our hotel, I played around again with the IPad, and Susan took a nap….big mistake…I should have taken the nap and let her play with the IPad. Because when she was rested, we had both showered, we walked down to the Marina Grande again for our final fish dinner. Little did we know, it was the Festa for S. Antononino, and we got to see the parade, with the band, the priests and finally the men carrying the statue. I didn’t know there were that many people in Sorrento, let alone, people in the church. Each order had their own color, flags, incense, etc. (Please forgive me, as I am not Catholic, so I do not know all the protocol, but this was a Huge parade). There were fireworks, all the locals hung white tablecloths out their balconies. Marveloso!! We were happy to be a spectator to this grand event.

Then, (this is why I should have taken the nap) Susan said, let’s make one more walk through the town. So we did… Now,how many miles have I walked this day???? I ran a tub and soaked for a while, to relax my poor tired legs..

I am still trying to be good about the sugar thing, however, the limoncello has called to me….so along with the wine, the limoncello is my sugar allotment. It is so good!! Might even be better than mine, though I hate to admit that.

Please keep in touch. Let us know how you are doing. I have just completed the first week of 24 here in Italy. The reality of that did not hit me, until I was looking at little sundresses, for Presley, and realized that she will have outgrown anything I buy, when I see her again in October. Sobering thought. She will be 9 months old when I see her, and I am sad to miss so much of these next 6 months, to watch her grow. So, Jesse and Rochelle, keep those Flix coming. And Aja, I will look forward to seeing you in September!!

In the meantime, I am very happy to be back in Florence, the city that I love. Susan and I are having a great time….especially, since she just washed all the dishes while I was writing this letter. Aren’t I clever??

Want to Follow Bella’s Adventure Directly? Check Out Dolly Travels

Click here for gay travel resources in Campania, Italy.