Tom & Shirley's Page -- 2006 Italy Trip
 We knew after our 2004 trip to Italy that we would return. The landscape, culture, customs and people that were so colorful and inviting captured us. So, in 2006 we traveled to the northern region of Italy.
  Our journey began in the lakes region. We based ourselves in the pleasant town of Bellagio at Il Perlo Panorama. Ferries from this area provide easy access to the other towns on this beautiful lake. We ventured out to Varenna, Menaggio, Bellano and further south, Como. This was a wonderful and relaxing start to our vacation. Few timetables or demands, we just went with the flow and let lovely Italy soak in.
  We headed north after Bellagio to the Dolomites, basing ourselves in Kastelruth/Castelrotto at the lovely Hotel Zum Wolf. Most towns in this area have two names-one Austrian (because of the pre-war history) and one Italian, courtesy of Mussolini in the 30's. We saw Otzi (Iceman of Bolzano), climbed mountains (Tom thought it was a trek-I say a climb) and enjoyed the peaceful and beautiful Alpe di siusi (Europe's largest alpine meadow). The scenery and panoramic views on the Dolomite Loop drive are beyond description.
  The last leg of the trip had us heading south for Venice. They say you love her or you hate her. We fell in love with Venice. We stayed at B&B Sandra in the attic room with the private roof terrace. It was our favorite place. Our two fears about Venice were completely dispelled; no stench and no rats. We explored the off the beaten path late in to the night and our only fear was not catching the Vaporetto back and having to walk the labyrinth that are the city walkways. We found her a lovely city, one we hope to return to. We still feel this way about Italy in general and know that we will return soon.
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  View from our balcony at the very friendly and helpful Il Perlo Hotel in Bellagio From Bellagio take the path down to explore the fishing village of Pescallo Met friendly Chef Gandola Juigi of Ristorante "Salice Blu". Enjoyed a wonderful dinner.
  Shirl exploring Bellagio. The steep stairs are common here. Hiking up to the ancient ruins above Kastelruth/Castelrotto The trail could have been marked better!
  We eventually found the castle. Views are excellent. View from our balcony at Hotel Zum Wolf in Castelrotto. Shirl just couldn't get herself to get on a we walked up. All the way up!
  We enjoyed walking around the Alpe di Siusi (but not up) Had a blast at this fun outdoor bar in Bolzano after seeing Otzi. Outdoor market in Bolzano
  A picture can't truly capture how awesome this was. From our Zum Wolf balcony. Can you tell we like balconies? This shot from the wonderful B&B Sandra in Venice. Lets toast to us and Venice
  The Grand Canal - Venice The public busses called Vaporettos can get pretty crowded, and this one is NOT that crowded. Getting lost in Venice is required. Have no idea where we were here.
  A 'street' vender setting up shop in Murano This Burano shop owner claims she personally embroidered this during the off-season. We bought the story and the tablecloth. Burano is quiet, quaint, and colorful.