Italy, England, and Wales 8/28/18 to 9/19/18

LWe has I took a trip in 2018 to Italy, England, and Wales. I experienced a lot during the trip and I got see a lot of places.  In hindsight I realize I tried to do too much.   It would have been better to spend more time in fewer places in Italy.   Life is a learning experience and it was a lot to plan this trip and another to do all the things I did.  I don’t like to over plan trips but a lot of things had to be planned in advance for this trip to work.    It has been about a year and a half since I went on this trip.  I looked back at my photographs, looked at google maps, and at my research notes from prior to the trip to help me put my thoughts together to share my experiences.  I should of kept a journal on the trip and gotten to writing about this trip sooner but here it is now.  I did send postcards out to friends while in Italy and I sent out an email to my music website list as well. I spent two weeks in Italy with my parents, Jack and Gayle.  When they flew home, I flew over to London and spent nine days in England and Wales before flying home.  

My last name, Masarie, is Italian, growing up my dad had always told me that there was a little town in the Italian alps that our family name and ancestors came from.  I remember how cool it was to see where the town was the first time I ever looked it up years ago on google earth.   It was nice to get to go on this trip with my parents to explore our roots.  

On 08/29/2018 my parents and I flew from Atlanta to Venice.  My parents had a flight from Greensboro to Atlanta and they were on the same flight with me to Venice.  They came close to missing the Venice flight, there were storms in Greensboro delaying their arrival.  They only made the flight because my dad walks slowly, with a cane, and my mom requested wheel chair service for both of them when they landed in Atlanta.  The airline staff got them there with five minutes to spare, their checked luggage arrived a day behind them, it didn’t make the flight.    When we landed in Venice they had a wheel chair waiting at the gate for my dad and this got us thru a special customs area where we were at the front of the line to get it and with no questions asked they stamped our passports and we were in.   

We took a boat over to our hotel near the San Marco Plaza and we stayed here for two days and nights.  It actually took me several hours to figure out where our hotel actually was.  I had not had a chance to look up directions prior to leaving and I thought my mom had. It turns out she didn’t know where it was but after walking around with the ipad looking at my location dot I found it. I had AAA help me with booking accommodations and flights for the trip. I wish I had asked them to give me directions to and from all the places we stayed because we had trouble finding places during the trip. Being lost added an unnecessary level of stress to the trip at times.    I am glad that I bought the ipad, and brought a book of maps of Northern Italy, as well as free maps of the country from AAA.  All of these proved essential during our journey. 

I liked Venice being there and walking around the city streets made me fell like I was in an ancient city more than the other cities I visited while I was in Italy.  I think certain places have a certain energy to them I really got this feeling as I walked around there.   It’s also cool to be able to travel around from place to place only by foot or by boat.  

Our stay at our hotel in Venice included a free trip to Murano to see the B.F. Signoretti Glass Factory.   I also enjoyed going to the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, which featured a large collection of surrealist and abstract art.  Surrealism is one of my favorite of the art movements and the museum had some really nice work in its collection.  I am sorry to say I didn’t take a lot of pictures while in Venice and I am just showing this one and there is nothing unique about it.

On August 31st we rented a car and we drove from the Venice airport to the Dolomite Mountains.We stayed two nights in Borca di Cadore, which is near the town of Masarie.  The Dolomites are beautiful and on our way to our hotel we stopped at the Messner Mountain Museum.  When you get there they put you in a van and drive you up a curvy narrow near the top of the mountain.  We didn’t realize you have to walk the last 300 meters to get there.  It was cool, windy, and the clouds were rolling thru, I enjoyed the walk and the mountains more than the museum itself.  I could feel the elevation change when we were at the top and it made me feel nausea, I could tell I was dehydrated, I walked down to the hiker refuge just below the museum and bought a bottle of water. After the museum we got to drive thru the town of Masarie on our way to our hotel.  It was raining when we drove thru so we didn’t stop.

Our hotel room was not the best in Borca di Cadore the photographs online made it look like a much nicer place than it was.  One nice thing was the beautiful view of the mountains from our hotel room patio.  The room was very small and featured a bed for my parents and then a couch/daybed at the foot of their bed for me.  This was not what I had in mind as a triple room but the bed was comfortable. 

It rained most of the time we were in this area but we did go back to the town of Masarie the next day and ate at a restaurant there.  There are murals painted all over the town which was part of art project there featuring many artists. Due to the weather we only saw a couple of them painted on the walls near where we ate.  I would of liked to seen more of them. 

I am happy to say that being gluten free in Italy was not an issue for me. I was able to find something I could eat and most places had gluten free options listed or I could find out easily by asking what I could or could not eat. Most of the hotels we stayed in had breakfast included and most places had gluten free products.  One of the most delicious things I remember eating while I there was a salad made with vegetable noodles with a strawberry dressing.  I did not feel 100% while we were in the Dolomites, I think it was a combination of altitude, alcohol at altitude, and maybe something I ate.  My stomach was upset and I had some nausea issues part of the time.   When we left Borca di Cadore we drove The Great Dolomite road from Cortina D Ampezzo over to Canazei.  The Great Dolomite road is supposed to be one of Italy’s best drives and it is beautiful.  I stopped along the way to take pictures as we traveled along it.  I remember thinking that some bikers we passed were crazy because they were biking up these very narrow steep roads and I was nervous passing them but would have been more nervous to be a biker sharing these roads with cars.  

We stayed one night in Canazei, which also featured a beautiful view from our patio.   While we were there, my mom and I took a cable car up to nearby Col Rodello where we walked on some short trails and we got to enjoy 360-degree views of the surrounding mountains.