Monday, May 22, 2017

I needed a vacation like nobody's business... Italy to the rescue! Part 1

Some years ago, I remember an ad that aired on TV that had a jingle that went "I need a vacation like nobody's business!"  That's how I was feeling a couple of weeks ago.  Although Bill and I currently have the privilege of being able to take lots of trips fairly frequently, it had been a couple of months since our last one.  We've had a pretty stressful spring, too, and the recently crappy weather did little to enhance my joy for living in Germany.  I told Bill I wanted to get out of town for a few days.  He agreed we needed to go somewhere.

Off I went to Booking.com to find pet friendly accommodations somewhere... anywhere within a reasonable driving distance.  Bill arranged to take last Thursday, Friday, and today off of work.  I considered places in The Netherlands, France, Belgium, Switzerland, and Italy.  After a few coin tosses, we wound up booking our trip to the little town of Domaso, Italy, which sits right next to Lake Como.

Bill and I had visited Lake Como before.  In fact, it has the distinction of being the very first place we visited during our first Germany experience together.  In May 2008, we booked a hotel in a little mountain town called Pellio Intelvi, which is above Lake Como.  Although it was a nice hotel, it was in a rather remote area and was a pain to get to.  Of course, the last time we were in the vicinity of Lake Como was June 2009, when we unexpectedly got trapped there while day tripping.  I am happy to report that this time, we did not get stuck anywhere.  In fact, we had a marvelous time over our pre-holiday long weekend.

I booked Casa Oliva di Domaso for four nights.  I chose it because it was pet friendly, with no extra pet fees, and near the lake.  It had free WiFi and parking.  Those are pretty much my main criteria when I book self-catered accommodations.  I usually book them because I'm bringing my dogs, who are sweet, but occasionally loud.  The price for this apartment was right, too.  We paid under $500 for four nights.  For that, we got a three bedroom, two bathroom house that included linens and towels and didn't require us to clean extensively before we left.

After packing up the car on Thursday morning, we set off for Italy.  I remember being pretty tense during the drive down, probably due to some stupid argument I had on Facebook.  Bill was fretting over a job interview he had last week.  The dogs were also nervous-- especially Zane, who always frets when he's in the car, yet delights in getting to go with us.  Although traffic wasn't too terrible, it still took us about seven hours to get to our destination.  I entertained myself by taking some photos.


In Germany, very close to the Swiss border... Hohentwiel!


As we headed south, we passed through some absolutely stunning areas...


And lots of tunnels!


The road around Lake Como can get very tight.  At one point, we were stuck for a couple of minutes as we took turns passing through a narrow part.  That gave me the chance to see a funny exchange between a couple of twin boys and an older girl.  The girl was giving the boys what for, and the boys responded by yelling back and wagging their fingers.  It was so stereotypically Italian that I laughed out loud.


Italians like their asparagus, too.


One thing I noticed as I took photos was that the air smelled heavily of flowers.  When I took pictures in Switzerland, I smelled a lot of manure.


Ferries are everywhere!

We passed through one part of Switzerland that was absolutely stunning!  But on the way down, we had a lot of clouds.  Today's weather on the way back was much nicer, but I was on the wrong side of the car to take good pictures.  I almost wanted to book a trip to Switzerland based on the pretty scenery we saw, but then realized that when we stopped at Burger King for two combo meals, we paid the Swiss Franc equivalent of about $28!  Switzerland is bloody expensive!

We were tired when we arrived in Domaso.  It was about 5:30pm and we really just wanted a little dinner, a lot of wine, and a good night's sleep.  I sent Bill out for pizza and vino and enjoyed the views of our little apartment on the hillside.


Our host left us some homemade wine.


My first view from our terrace.  When the weather improved, so did the view!


Real Italian pizza!  This was delicious, even though the restaurant that made it got rather mediocre reviews!


And wine to wash it down!

In part 2, I will describe our accommodations in more detail.



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