Dolly Travels – Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast

Author: , July 24th, 2015

Amalfi Coast - Dolly GoolsbyI am sad to say that this will be my last blog post from Italy this year. We have had a great time. First there was a group of 6 of us travelers, then Susan and I had one week in the Dolomites, where we met more friends, then we went to Florence and Jayne joined us for this last 3 weeks.

We have experienced a heat wave like I have never felt before, but still we kept going…not doing as much as we would have like to do, because of the heat, but fortunately, for us, Italy has some amazing beaches.

We elected to bypass Rome during the heat, and instead, spent our last seven days in Sorrento. While the weather was still pretty warm, it was tolerable. We especially love the Marina Grande in Sorrento. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the commune of the “Fisherman’s Village” had covered the rocky beach with some great sand, apparently dredged up from the sea near there, as we were told it was native sand, not sand that had been brought in from somewhere else.

At the Marina Grande, one can rent a sun chair and umbrella and enjoy the beach. Many of the restaurants loan chairs and umbrellas to their customers. Our favorite restaurant in Sorrento, Delfino’s, is the furthest one out. During the day, one can rent a sun chair on the deck and swim. There is a ladder on the north side of the deck that goes into deeper water, while on the south side, a ladder takes you into shallow water. Just perfect!

Amalfi Coast - Dolly GoolsbyOn Tuesday, we toured the Amalfi Coast. We had hired a driver to take us on this tour. Raffaele Monetti, of Monetti Taxi, picked us up at 9:00 a.m. He escorted us down the coast. What beautiful scenery all along. We stopped in Positano and Amalfi, then had lunch in Ravello.

There’s an amazing rock overlooking the sea for thousands of years. Raffaele told us the local people say it resembles the Virgin Mary. What is most remarkable about this rock, is that “Mary” has a crown of flowers in her hair and is holding on a bouquet of flowers. Those are always there. I do think that rock is blessed.

We also saw the remnant of an ancient watch tower. It was not a lighthouse…it was a tower where a watchman could spot ships of invaders, and light a fire in the tower to warn the people, who could flee to the upper parts of the mountains. These were in use over 700 to 800 years ago. The invaders were the Turks and the Moors. Raffaele told us the Moors were the most feared, as they were so violent. They would kill the men and take the women and children for slaves. Then, there were also pirates from Portugal and Spain. Seems like lots of people wanted a piece of this coast.

y lunch time, we had reached Ravello, which is 500 meters above sea level, up the hill from Amalfi. There is a staircase, hundreds of years old, made of stone, of course, that goes from Amalfi to Ravello. There are over 3,000 stairs in that staircase. That would be a difficult walk.

Finally, we had to go back the way we came, back to Sorrento. It was a very enjoyable day. I have had tours with Raffaele several times. He is the nicest person, and thoroughly enjoys what he does. I asked him if he ever gets tired of driving that coast, as the traffic gets horrendous. He told me, “No, how could I get tired of this lovely sea coast.” He told us his father has done these tours for 45 years, and he is still not tired of driving the coast.

We spent the next day packing and getting ready to leave. Believe it or not, it was too hot to go to the beach. We were told, that evening, that someone had to be taken from the beach to the hospital, because of the heat.

Now we are at our hotel near the airport in Rome, so that we can fly home tomorrow. This hotel is situated in the town of Fiumincino, right where the River Tiber meets the sea. It is beautiful.

We will be home in 37 hours! I will write more when I have another adventure.

Ciao for now,

Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels | Campania Gay Travel Resources

Dolly Travels – Being Lazy in the Dolomites

Author: , July 6th, 2015

Dolly Goolsby - DolomitesI simply must write. Today is our last full day in Castelrotto. I want to stay longer, but I do have to get back to Florence. We have had a lovely stay here in the Dolomites. I have been having trouble adjusting to the altitude (I hate to think that my lack of stamina has anything to do with eating too much or partaking of too much of the local, delicious wines and beers! So I will blame it on the altitude.)

I love being here, and as much as the weather would permit, I wanted to be out in the fresh air and the mountains. Therefore, I decided I should only do down hill walks. That is not so difficult. Yesterday, I took a chairlift up to Panorama station, then walked down to Compatsch. That was about 45 minute walk. The view from Panorama was outstanding. By standing near the end of the chairlift, I had a 360 degree view of the mountains around me.

This northern part of Italy is actually pretty narrow, so therefore, Switzerland is not so very far away. The Swiss Alps link up with the Dolomites.

Once I reached the village, I walked over to another cable car station, and took a gondola up to the northern part of the valley. I reached the top of the mountain, then had a choice of walking further uphill, or just going back to Compatsch. Being a lazy hiker, I elected to do the one hour trek downhill. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. The path was wide, scenic, but very steep. I had to walk zigzag down the hills, as my knees were screaming!

I thought doing a couple hours downhill hikes was enough for one day, and by the time I got back to Compatsch and the gondola, it was after 4:00, anyway. So I went back to Castelrotto and took a nap. I was proud of myself for my accomplishments, until I compared notes with Susan, and of course, she being part mountain goat, had far surpassed my accomplishments.

Today, I did almost the same thing, different route for the second hike. This time, I took my young friend, Ally, along with me. We went to Panorama by chair lift, but the clouds were hanging over the mountain, so Ally didn’t get to see the panorama like I saw yesterday. Also, the wind was picking up, so after our downhill trek, we got back onto the gondola, rode down to the bus station and came back to Castelrotto. From here, we took the chair lift up to Marinzen, had lunch and hiked back to Castelrotto. What a lovely hike that was, through the forests, and the meadows. That took about an hour and 15 minutes, but that was also enough for both of us for the day.

The most amazing thing happened yesterday. About 6:00 p.m, I decided I needed to do some laundry. I took my things down to the laundry room. I just happened to look out the window, and saw 4 people trudging up to the back door of the hotel, with their luggage. I did a double take…here were my friends, Lew and Amber Lasseter, and their 2 daughters, from Elk Grove, California. I had helped them make their travel plans for an unforgettable Italy trip, but I did not remember the dates for all of their Italy travels, so we were all unaware that our paths would cross here in Castelrotto. What a lovely surprise. We all went out to dinner together last night, and made plans for today. Ally did not want to go on a strenuous hike, so we agreed we would be buddies for today, while the others would start out with Susan.

I still don’t know how the others did, but Ally and I had a very good time. She is adorable. And I would take her anywhere. Thank you, Ally, for an enjoyable day..

Once back in Castelrotto, I went to the pharmacy, got some Epsom salts, and later, I will put some in the tub and take a long, warm soak. It was surprising to me, that once I convinced the pharmacist that I wasn’t going to take this Magnesium Sulfate internally, she allowed me to buy 4 little packs (3 ounces each). I told her that I was going to put the salts in my bath water. She was amazed. She had never heard of such a thing. I don’t know what they do for achy muscles here, but I know my knees and hips are nagging me to get this bath started.

Therefore, I will go and soak my achy muscles, and write to you soon. We are going to Bolzano for one night. Then back to Florence. See you there.

Ciao for now,

Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels | Trentino Alto Adige Gay Travel Resources

Dolly Travels: Verona

Author: , July 3rd, 2015

VeronaHi Everyone,

If you look at a map of Italy, you will see that Verona is about an hour’s train ride, west of Venice, on the way to Milano. Verona is also the crossroads of the north-south rail line. To get to the Alto Adige area, Sued Tirol, or the Dolomites, the route north goes from Verona. Verona has been an important crossroads since Roman times. The ancient colosseum, Arena, still holds many musical events, due to the great acoustics of the arena. The biggest draw here is the annual opera festival in the summer.

During Roman era, this arena was actually outside the city walls. Although I have been to Verona several times, this time I actually paid attention to how small the original city was. The main part of the city has the river, Adige, as its boundaries around the peninsula-like area. The ancient city was this small, few blocks long area that had the river on three sides, for protection from the enemies. The gate to the city, Porta Busari, is about 3 blocks north of the Arena. I am not a fast walker, but I covered the perimeter of the old city in 15 minutes, even stopping to look at things.

It is still a beautiful city, with the old Castel San Pietro sitting just across the river at the point of the peninsula. High on the hill a bit north, but above the Castel, is the Austrian fortress, built in the 19th century, as was the Austrian city hall that faces the main piazza, Piazza Bra.

This is the building that was the Austrian city hall. The statues in front are actually part of the stage set for the opera, “Aida”, which was to be performed on Saturday night, in the Arena

The little park in the piazza has a fountain that celebrates the link between Austria and Verona.

There’s a plaque that states that the fountain symbolizes the link between Verona and Salzburg, with the two cities separated by the Alps.

However, history lessons aside, my primary purpose for staying in Verona was to see the opera, “Nabucco”, an opera by Verdi that I had never seen. I love the one chorus number from that opera, “Va Pensiero”, or roughly, ” Go, Hebrew slaves.” This is a biblical account of the Hebrew children of God, being held captive by King Nebuchadnezzar.

The opera was scheduled to start at 9:00 p.m. Friday night, with the gates to open at 8:00. About 7:00, it started to rain. But we had to show up at the gates, anyway. After paying as much as I did for a ticket (not to mention the increased hotel rate), I was definitely going to be there.

We hardy souls stood in the rain, with our umbrellas, waiting for the gates to open. Finally, about 8:20, we were ushered into the Arena. Miraculously, the rain stopped within a few minutes of our getting into the Arena.

The opera did go on, without a hitch. The stage setting was quite simple; the costumes were in keeping with the poverty of the Hebrew slaves, while the costumes for the royalty and the royal soldiers were so beautiful without being gaudy. And the voices! The soprano, who played Abigaill, the king’s daughter, was amazingly wonderful. But for me, finally hearing the chorus sing, “Va Pensiero”, was the highlight. The voices of probably 100 Hebrew slaves, was spellbinding. Apparently, the rest of the audience felt the same, for when the number ended, there was absolute silence for about a second, then the crowd went wild with applause, and “Bravi”, so much that the conductor signaled to the orchestra, and the number was repeated. I have never, ever seen that happen before, but we all enjoyed it as much the second time as the first.

Finally, it was time to call it a night.

I was cold, so I went to a cafe across the street, had an Irish coffee, then returned to my room to get a few hours’ sleep, as I had to leave in the morning for the Dolomites.

The entire 2 days’ stay in Verona, was certainly worthwhile. I hope I get to return another time for an opera experience, although it will be hard to top the performance I saw Friday night.

I continued my journey to the Dolomites, where I am staying now. Here there is definitely the Austrian feeling, from the very good Tyrolean-style food, to amazing beer, and German the primary language.

Again, I am so happy that I have had the opportunity to travel, savor the feelings from different cultures, and I am building a lifetime of memories to enjoy when and if I ever get to old-age status.

Ciao for now,

Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels | Veneto Gay Travel Resources | Other Gay Travel Events

Dolly Travels – In the Dolomites

Author: , June 22nd, 2015

Dolomites - DollyYesterday I left Verona, traveled north by train to Bolzano, then I caught a bus that brought me to Castelrotto, in the Dolomites. While I am still in Italy, it doesn’t feel like Italy any longer. I feel like I am in Austria. I can almost hear “Sound of Music” coming from the hills.

On the bus ride, I could just feel myself relax, muscles unwind, brain letting go of stress.

When I got to the hotel, I met three of my friends who had arrived here a few days before, while I stayed in Verona. I checked into the hotel, opened the door to the small terrace, and was greeted by a gorgeous view.

It was chilly last night, so we didn’t venture further than the nearest good restaurant for dinner, some good red wine from the region, and called it a night.

Today, two of the friends left. Susan and I took the chairlift up to the small area of Marizen. Later, I took the chair lift back to Castelrotto, while Susan hiked back.

I did get a few raindrops on my head on the ride down, but that stopped almost immediately, and the rest of the afternoon was very pleasant. This evening, we took a little walk around town before going out to dinner.

From the Main Street of town, I looked down on another little village below Castelrotto. I think that needs to be checked out tomorrow.

Finally, we went to dinner, and had a fantastic meal. The dinner was Austrian food: roast veal with bread dumplings in a rich sauce, followed by an Italian dessert, panna cotta. Of course we had another local wine with dinner, then waddled our way back to the hotel.

On that note, I will close. We are hoping for good weather in the morning, so that we can do some hiking. Or, maybe a stroll in the meadow. I am just so happy to be here, and I am enjoying the lovely scenery, the fresh mountain air, that I really don’t have an agenda. I will just savor the moment.

Until next time,

Ciao,
Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels | Trentino-Alto Adige Gay Travel Resources

Dolly Travels – Venice

Author: , June 18th, 2015

Venice

Wow! How time flies. It seems like jus a few days ago we started our Italy trip in Rome, now here we are in Venice, with only one more day left for our group travel. What adventures we have had, though.

VeniceI last posted from Florence, and as usual, since Florence is my favorite Italian city, I enjoyed that week the most..going to the museums, to the mercato, walking through Florence, sharing meals in the apartment… all are lovely memories.

When we got to Venice Sunday afternoon, we were met by the apartment owner, who walked us to our apartment. About the time we got settled in, down came the rain. It had been raining off and on all morning, but now it came down in buckets. I had been so excited to get this apartment with the terrace on the top floor, but with the rain, we still haven’t been able to sit out there and enjoy being outdoors, looking over the roof tops.

Yesterday we went to San Marco church. I told the group that we would get there early, before all the crowds, so we wouldn’t have to wait in line so long. We did…we were the first ones in line. I couldn’t believe it! Of course, some girl came up there, and got in front of us, so we then were second in line. We had a leisurely walk through the church, with time to enjoy the beauty.

After visiting the church, some of us went up into the bell tower. We had a 360 degree view of Venice.

Later, I took a walk through the city. It is like walking through a maze. I had my map handy, and made it back to the apartment without getting TOO lost. We were going to go out to dinner at a restaurant I had found, but here came the rain again. So we went out to a place closer to us, and had a light dinner.

Today, the sun was out, so we got on the vaporetto and went to the islands of Burano and Murano. Burano is known for its lace making, but I love it for its colorful houses. To me, coming into the island from the sea, the village looks like someone went wild with tempura paints.

I like this little area. I looked up at the sky, and oh, boy! We knew we were going to get some rain again.

I gathered my “ducklings” and we quickly headed for the vaporetto stop. Luck was with us. A boat was just loading to go back to Venice, and we made it onto the boat, not a minute too soon, it started raining, raining hard. We had about an hour trip back, and the rain was so heavy, sometimes it was hard to see boats near us. We all had taken umbrellas, so we were OK on the short walk back to the apartment. Within the hour, the sun was out again.

Tonight we had salad, fruit, cheese and wine for dinner here in the apartment, and now, at 9:30 p.m., we are bring treated to a brilliant lightning show, with thunder accompaniment.

In the morning, we shall decide what to do on our last day here. Whatever we decide to do, we know it will be fun.

I shall probably not post again for a few days. Thursday will be busy getting everyone to trains or planes, to leave our tour. I will leave by myself, and go to Verona. I have a ticket for the opera in the Arena for Friday night, so I will keep my fingers crossed for no rain that night.

Traveling is such a good learning experience. I learn something new each time I visit here, even if it is a place I have been many times before. I still love being a temporary Italian, and pleased that I have been able to converse better in Italian this trip.

More adventures to come. Stay tuned!

Ciao for now,

Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels | Venice Gay Travel Resources

Dolly Travels – We Are in Florence Now

Author: , June 12th, 2015

Florence - Dolly GoolsbyHello,

I want to send a little bit of news. From Florence, before we get too busy again. We arrived here Sunday afternoon. We are staying a bit further away from the center of activity than we usually stay, but we are still only 10 minutes away from the Duomo, and in a very nice neighborhood. I couldn’t believe it when the taxi pulled up to this lovely building, and a very nice Italian gentleman introduced himself, as he was there to get us into the apartment and oriented to the apartment and the neighborhood. We had to converse entirely in Italian, as Marcello did not speak English, and I must say, Janis and I did very well getting all the information straight.

We are on the ground floor. Those windows are our living room windows. This is a beautiful apartment, I am almost sorry I am only staying here for a week.

Well, me being me, I am in love with the kitchen, but we have done more than stay in the apartment.. Being the foodie that I am, the first adventure of Monday morning was to go to the San Ambrogio mercato, to lay in supplies for the week.

Now we have done some cultural activities.

Yesterday we went to the Accademia Galleria, to see Michelangelo’s David. He is still amazing, after all these years.

So much to see…the Galleria was pretty crowded, with many tour groups going through, but we all got to see the most important sculptures and paintings.

Later in the afternoon, we took another walk, through the city, concentrating on seeing the Renaissance Florence. As we were coming home, we had the unique experience of the group getting separated from the leader. That was a first, for me. We eventually found each other, but I have to give serious thought to becoming a tour leader waving an umbrella.

Today, we went to the Uffizi Galleria. This museum has the largest collection of Italian art in the world. It was pretty amazing. Although I have visited the Uffizi many times, I still love to go there. I especially love the Botticelli room, but so did the tour groups. I had to double back a couple of times to see what I wanted to see.

After visiting the Uffizi, we had lunch, then headed back to the apartment, straying into the Eataly store, just to look, be amazed at all the goodies there. We purchased some bread and olive oil, and we were extremely surprised, when we left the store, to find that it was raining. We were really taken aback, as the sky had appeared to be a pretty blue when we went into the store. We continued on toward home, staying close to the buildings, and within ten minutes, the rain stopped and the the sun came out again.

After we got home, though, we heard thunder, the sky became darker, and the rain really came down. We opened the windows to get the fresh, clean air, and enjoyed the rain from our cozy apartment.

We had a lovely dinner again in the apartment. I am so happy being able to cook. We have only eaten out for lunch. We are enjoying having the relaxed, comfortable evenings at home. To me, it is like having a family dinner, where we can talk, laugh, plan more activities, and just enjoy the company of the others in our group.

Tomorrow our plan is to go to Pitti Palace and the Boboli Gardens. The rain has stopped again, now, so we will hope for good weather tomorrow.

Later this week, I know I will have more pictures and stories to share. So, I will say, Arrivederci for this evening.

Ciao for now,

Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels | Tuscany Gay Travel Resources

Dolly Travels – The Cinque Terre

Author: , June 11th, 2015

Cinque Terre - Dolly GoolsbyHello,

We have been so busy, I haven’t been blogging. Please forgive me, and I will try to get you up to date on our travels.

We went from Orvieto to Vernazza, by train last Thursday. That was a new experience for some. Although it seemed like it took forever, in fact, the trip was only about 6 hours. However, we started our day by leaving Orvieto by funicular to get down to the train station. Susan helped everyone get on the little car with their luggage, then the doors closed and Susan was left behind. We got to the train station, and when the next funicular arrived, thankfully Susan was on that one. But she was not a happy person.

Once we got on the train, we travelled to Florence, changed trains, on to Pisa, changed trains, on to La Spezia, changed trains again and on to Vernazza. By then, it was 2:30 in the afternoon and we were all hot, hungry and tired. We checked into our rooms at Martina Callo’s hotel, which involved walking up 70+ stairs, but worth the climb for our view of the piazza and the harbor. We finally had lunch about 3:30 p.m. After that, everyone took little walks, or naps, and pretty much called it a day.

The following day, Susan went on a hike early in the morning, 2 of the others chose to hike later in the day, and the three of us who were left took a delightful boat trip to Portovenere, which is another beautiful coastal village, closer to La Spezia. I enjoyed the trip, as we could see the villages of Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore for the boat, getting a better perspective of how the buildings of these villages are stuck into the mountainsides.

About an hour after we had started our trip, we pulled into the harbor at Portovenere. What a lovely town. We walked along the harbor, then up the stairs toward the fortress and the church. We just happened upon the beginning of a wedding.

The bride had arrived at the bottom of this staircase in an old Fiat 500, one of my favorite Italian cars. She walked about halfway up the stairs, the. Her father came down to meet her. They then walked up together, past the line of men dressed in their naval finery (white uniforms and hats, blue sashes across their chest), and into the church. It was hard to get a good picture for all the other tourists wanting to get a good picture. We didn’t get to crash the wedding. Later, we saw the bride and groom leaving Portovenere in the little Fiat. It was cute…they drove down the harbor street, dragging tin cans behind the car.

We returned to Venazza in late afternoon, and had time for a rest and relaxation. Later that evening we had dinner right across the piazza from our hotel, at Gambero Rosso, my favorite restaurant for delicious seafood and pastas. We were able to sit outdoors and enjoy the balmy evening.

Saturday morning we went up the hill to Il Pirata for breakfast. The two guys that own the restaurant, Massimo and Luca, make the most delicious Sicilian pastries, and fresh squeezed orange juice. Some of us indulged ourselves with 2 pastries and 2 cappuchini.

After a day of walking, sightseeing, we returned to Il Pirata that evening for dinner. Again, another wonderful meal, under the stars, another beautiful evening. But, as we started down the hill toward our hotel, the air became muggier, and there were some flashes of lightning. After we got to our rooms, Susan and I sat on our terrace and watched the lightning show for awhile. Eventually it stopped, no rain fell, and life continued as before.

The next morning we left by train for Florence, where we are now. We loved Vernazza, as we always do, but we are happy to be in Florence again, too. I never get tired of any of these places we have visited.

But my blog post about Florence will have to wait. We need to get moving. We are going to the Accademia Galleria this morning to see David, then explore the Mercato Centrale, and who knows what else.

So I will say, Ciao for now, and tell you more later.

Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels | Liguria Gay Travel Resources

Dolly Travels – Bagnoregio and Civita, Orvieto

Author: , June 10th, 2015

Civita - Dolly GoolsbyHi, Everyone,

Today is our last day in Orvieto. Early this morning we caught a bus which took us to the nearby town of Bagnoregio, another Umbrian hill town. This was an hour’s ride on a very twisty road, but through beautiful country. Once we arrived in Bagnoregio, we had to walk a little over a mile to get to the ancient, almost isolated village of Civita.

That is Civita, sitting up on a hill. We had to walk on that footbridge you see in the foreground to get to Civita. This little village is really very old. Its origins go back to Etruscan times. It is very small now. One can walk across the city in about 5 minutes.

However, the structures – the houses, the church, some other buildings – are kept in pretty good condition. Of course, over the centuries, some structures have fallen down, walls have eroded, and the village suffered a major earthquake in 1695. So it is no longer a thriving city of 4,000 residents. There is a church, as I told you, and old olive press, 3 small hotels, and 3 or 4 tiny earring places.

It was a warm day, so we had some refreshments, then we walked back across the footbridge, into Bagnoregio and on to the bus stop.

We arrived in Orvieto hot, tired and hungry. We had pizzas and drinks, then everyone decided that we each needed to take a nap. That we did. Now we need to finish packing, as we leave tomorrow for Cinque Terre. It is going to be a long day, riding on trains, with four train changes.

We have really enjoyed our stay in Orvieto, though. It is such a lovely place to be. But now I will post one final pictures of the beautiful Duomo, and say, Arriverderci to Orvieto.

I will write more from Vernazza.

Ciao for now,
Dolly

By Dolly – Full Story at Dolly Travels | Umbria Gay Travel Resources

Dolly Travels – Ostia Antica and Borghese Galleria

Author: , June 3rd, 2015

Ostia AnticaWow! How time flies when we are having fun. We went out to the ancient seaport of Ostia Antica last Friday. This area was the main bustling settlement of merchants and traders in Roman times. Boats came into the port, goods were unloaded, traded and shipped up the Tiber River to Rome. Eventually, the course of the river changed and Ostia Antica became a ghost town.

We took a Metro train, then another train to reach Ostia Antica. Although I had been there before, I was still taken aback about the size of this area. I had to remind myself, yes, it was a small city at one time.

We walked and walked, seeing the remains of little houses, the barracks building for the “Vigili”, which I assume was the firemen and policemen.

One of the beautiful sights was the poppies growing in between the stones and in open areas. This was so striking.

After walking as much as we could stand, we finally took a break for lunch, then started off for the train station. We followed a quieter perimeter road, and it was so peaceful, serene, I wanted to just stay there and enjoy the stillness. However, we did go back to the hustle and bustle of Rome once more. I do enjoy being in Rome, but sometimes the hectic pace, the crowds and the noise makes me retreat to a quieter place, and Ostia Antica was the place that day.

On Saturday, some of the ladies in my group went back to St. Peter’s, as we had not been able to enter the Basilica on Thursday. They got up early, and made it into the church that day. Later in the day we went to Borghese Gardens, and into the Borghese Galleria. This museum is always one of my favorites, because of the Bernini statues here.

The museum was once the mansion of the Borghese family, so it is not a huge gallery, but the art works on its two exhibition floors is simply amazing. I walked through the rooms of sculptures on the first floor, then walked through them again. I went upstairs to the paintings gallery, walked through those rooms, returned to the first floor and walked through the sculptures rooms one more time, then a second time. I wanted to soak up as much of the beauty of the Bernini sculptures as I could hold.

down Via Veneto to the Barberini Metro station, got on a very crowded Metro to the train station, transferred to a very crowded bus and returned to our neighborhood, where we were very happy to find a good restaurant for a great dinner and great wine.

Sunday was a free day for each of us. We had to get ready to leave on Monday. Some of the ladies returned to St. Peter’s and got to see Pope Francis as he addressed the crowds. Others, like me, found the laundromat. That evening we again had dinner at a restaurant in Campo di Fiori, got a good night’s sleep, and Monday morning we said, “Arriverderci, Roma.”

We got on a train and traveled north to the lovely hill town of Orvieto, where we are staying for three nights. I will write about Orvieto later. Now I must find my group, and explore Orvieto.

Arriverderci. I will write again shortly.

Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels | Rome Gay Travel Resources

Dolly Travels – Rome is a Beautiful City

Author: , June 2nd, 2015

Dolly's MokaI am sitting here with my second cup of coffee, enjoying the beautiful early morning quiet of Rome. The sky is getting brighter, but of course, I cannot see the sunrise. There are some lovely old buildings in the way.

I am getting pretty good at making coffee in this Moka pot.

Yesterday I told you only about our first day in Rome. Now, here it is Sunday, and this will be our last day in Rome. Time has flown by. We have walked, walked, walked some more. We have seen so many sights, from the Ancient Rome to the present day cafes and shopping centers, and enjoyed living in our neighborhood, the Campo di Fiori, and being temporary citizens of Rome.

Wednesday, despite the weather forecast of 90 per cent chance of rain, the sun was up, and just a few puffy clouds in the sky. After breakfast of amazing Sicilian pastries and cappuccini at a neighborhood pasticceria, we walked over to the area of Ancient Rome. The first on our list of sights to see was the Colosseum. After all these centuries, it is still an amazing sight.

From the second level, one can look down and imagine what it must have been like in Ancient times. The partial wood floor in the background is to give visitors perspective of the arena as it was in the time of Julius Caesar. The warrens under the floor were where the “performers” were kept until their time to be on stage: Wild animals, people who were going to be sacrificed for the pleasure of the crowds. The Romans were a blood-thirsty people.

After leaving the Colosseum, we walked through a small portion of the Roman Forum. I don’t think one could ever see the entire Roman Forum, if the entire Rome vacation was spent visiting this place. We went on one walk for about an hour and a half, and barely touched the sights. In that area of the Forum.

As we were approaching the end of our walk, we started moving a little faster. Looking behind us, the sky was not so pretty anymore. Dark clouds were moving in, the air became chillier, and we knew we were going to get some rain. We ended our tour a bit sooner than planned and headed back to our neighborhood, which was about a twenty minute walk. Sure enough, before we made it to the Campo, a few drops of rain hit our faces. Soon the raindrops got bigger and closer together. We ran for the nearest restaurant in the Campo before we got too wet. Once inside, we ordered our lunch and watched the people outside scurrying for cover. Soon water was streaming down the cobblestones, and the street umbrella salesmen were having a fantastic business day. Yes…despite a perfectly good jacket and umbrella in my room, I had to buy an umbrella, too. Now I have another umbrella to add to my collection.

After the rain stopped, I did have to venture out and find food for our dinner. Of course, the Mercato stalls had closed at 3:00 p.m, so I had to go further afield to try to find ingredients. This was not an easy task, as the “Supermercato” was stocked with ingredients for easy fixes, not for someone like me who wants to cook from scratch. We were glad we had eaten a late lunch, as our dinner was finally ready about 8:30 that night.

The following day, Thursday, we went to St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museum. That was our plan, anyway. We got to St. Peter’s about 9:00 a.m. and the line to enter the Basilica was already all around the perimeter of the piazza. We stood in line for awhile, but since we had a timed reservation for the Vatican Museum, we knew we would never get into the church in time to see it properly and still make our appointment at the museum. Therefore, we settled ourselves at an outdoor cafe table and enjoyed another cappuccino, then went to the museum.

The Vatican Museum is always amazing. There is so much to see that, if you saw it all, you would walk four miles. We concentrated on the main sights, ending with the Sistine Chapel.
One of the statues in the courtyard, Laocoon, from 4th or 5th Century, B.C.

We could not take any photos in the Sistine Chapel. It was crowded, of course, but still impressive, the guards were very assertive in enforcing the rules. I have noticed an increase in the number of police and military guards, moving through the crowds. I am glad to see that heightened security.

We went to a nearby restaurant for lunch, then tried to get into St. Peter’s again. However, unbelievably, the entrance line was still as long as it had been in the morning. We called it a day, and walked back home.

I had learned my lesson about food shopping. I went to the market in the Campo when it first opened in the morning and bought the ingredients for our dinner that night, before we set out for the day’s activities. On Wedensday evening, we enjoyed a great pasta with asparagus and mushrooms, the freshest salad ever, bread and of course, vino. No one has remembered to photograph our meals, so you will just have to imagine what our dinner was like. One of the things I enjoy most about traveling the way we travel, is having the apartments, preparing food in our own kitchen and having the camaraderie of sharing a meals with each other, when the laughter and conversation flows as readily as the wine.

There is so much more to tell you about Rome, but this blog post is getting too long; therefore, I will close now and write another post about our adventures of Friday and Saturday.

Ciao for now,
Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels | Rome Gay Travel Resources