Dr. Hoffer's Travel Site This site was last updated 05/05/11
FRAN2005 #5 Sirmione, Italy
Friday June 17, 2005
Well, this is getting a little bit better - I awoke at 4:30 AM and was able to get back to sleep until I awoke again at 7:00 listening to the the perennial rhythm of a workman pounding with a hammer somewhere within earshot. It is amazing how often that happens on these trips regardless of the price of the hotel. I still felt tired but couldn't sleep and after an hour and a half of unsuccessfully trying to fall asleep in the tranquility of ear plugs, I decided it would be best for me to get up and get my run in before we leave. Besides, I remembered seeing the nice yellow wire on the desk which looked like a direct internet connection. I plugged it into the computer and the screen told me to pick up the house phone and dial 551. A taped message answered and asked me to punch in the 4 numbers on my computer screen which were 8114. After I did that, she told me everything was fine and that I could go online. She was right. I got on AOL and did my email and had to unlock a recent doctor's Hoffer Programs. I was even able to download all 3 hours of Rush Limbaugh's show as MP3's and transfer them to a chip to play in the PoGo unit. I could surf anywhere and felt I could easily upload the website through FrontPage. That's where I was wrong. The same thing happened that happened at the coffee shop. It never worked. I sent a "cry for help" email to Vince and he let me know that he is checking it out. One solution is that I could send the changed pages to him and he could upload them to the site from there. We'll see.
I finally went out for my run at noon, running through the old town past the central platz and past the city gate and ended up having a cappuccino at the same Segafreda that I did last time.
On my walk back I stopped into a confectionary store and took this photo just as the lady wagged her finger at me expressing her disapproval. I have no idea why she was unhappy.
There were several other interesting window displays including these little confection animals with messages on them, Andreas Hofer kugels and this "ducks at the beach" display I took for Kaylin.
On the way back I got shots of the statue of Mary in the main platz and the full size of the wide street in the center of town.
This is a fantastic quality shot of the Austrian emblem in metal on the side of a building about a half block away and 2 stories up taken with zoom. This Canon camera is amazing. While walking some of the side streets, I came across this intriguing set of murals on the side of a building. They were 200 ft apart but the Canon software "stitched" them together into one photo.
While I was running, Marcia was out shopping and discovered this special Swarovski glass store which is a specialty here in Austria. She decided this would be the best place to get some gifts. So when I got back she made me come with her to see what I thought. I have to admit they had some very beautiful things. At the top is a candle lamp next to a picture frame. In the center is a cobra and at the bottom are other types of candle holders. The photo on the left was with ambient light and the one on the right is with the auto-flash. Each has its qualities and its detractions.
We packed and were ready to go but I was waiting for the computer to finish the upload of the six separate emails I was sending to Dr. Neuhann. He asked me to send him the publication of my original capsulotomy technique and I happened to find the Adobe PDF file of the book chapter. I tried to send it but AOL said it was too big at 24 MB and the largest I can send is 16 MB. So I was able to download the free file splitter/joiner program I have used in the past and I split the file into 6 files of 5 MB each. Then I had to send him 6 emails with one containing the joiner program so that he could put them back together. I did this previously for an Israeli doctor who wanted to use my 2 hour IOL power course slides to teach the subject in Israel.
When it was finally done we checked out of the hotel and Marcia went to get the car from the garage outside the old town. I noticed on the bill they had a charge of €12 for Internet. I told them I saw no mention of a charge as I signed up and he took the charge off the bill. I bought an apple strudel to take along and I packed all the bags in our spacious trunk. Two blocks down the road Marcia told me she paid €14.30 for the parking. I noted a €12 parking charge on our hotel bill so I called the hotel and they told us we had to come back to be refunded. She refunded the €14.30 in cash and this whole process delayed our departure.
We finally got on the autobahn using the new GPS system but somehow while I was calling Tania to tell her of our arrival in Milano, Marcia took a wrong turn and we discovered after 10 miles that we were heading west instead of south. The GPS kept telling us to make a U-turn. After 20 miles of driving we were back in Innsbruck and heading to the Brenner Pass. Last time we went through it was pouring rain. This time it was a beautiful day and the scenery was magnificent. The first toll for the Austrian side was €8 and for the Italian Autostrada it was €14. That's almost $30 in tolls to get to Sirmione.
We arrived in Sirmione at 8:30 PM after a 175 mile drive that we split. We checked into our favorite Hotel Sirmione [Piazza Castello, 19, +39-030-916-331]dropped our bags and headed straight for the hotel's lakeside cafe where we shared some pinot grigio locale. The ultimate sunset was spectacular.
By 9:30 we headed to our old favorite restaurant, Valentino's on the main street. We saw the same guy we saw in 1997 on our first visit. I was really eager for my first real Italian meal in two years and was very hungry. We started with a pizza marguerite and then Marcia had insalata Caprese (tomatoes & mozzarella slices) while I had my favorite vitello tonato (cold thin slices of veal covered in a tuna sauce). Following this she had her secondi of assorted fish from the lake and I had a primi of tortellini with prosciutto in cream sauce. Then I ended with my secondi of branzino (sea bass).
[I tried something new here. If you mouse click on each photo it will describe what it is.]
After we finished eating a nice older couple from Bournemouth, England offered to take our picture which we appreciated.
After we left Valentino's, we strolled along and had a coconut gelato and then sat outside at Bar Scaglieri for prosecco and an espresso.
Now this is the way to display gelato which has way less fat then our ice cream does.
After talking to Tania earlier we discovered that Dimitrii doesn't get home from Moscow until Wednesday and thus we had time for another day in Sirmione. The hotel said they were "fully booked" for Saturday night but they would see if there was a cancellation in the morning.
When we finally got back to the room I had reached the collapse I was expecting and fell immediately to sleep at midnight, unheard of for me.
KJH Go To -> NEXT DIARIO #6
Kenneth J. Hoffer, MD
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