Travel WebSite This site was last updated
PARIS10 #11 Ettal
August 27-29, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
Today is our granddaughter ANABELLA'S 7th Birthday
I woke at 4:00, 7:30, and 9:00 and finally forced myself to get up at 9:35
we were going to meet Urs and
Christine this morning. At 10:00 I joined Marcia, John and Najwa for their
breakfast and had a cappuccino while they ate. I put together a nice ham
and cheese sandwich to take with me since the breakfast was included in the
package. At 11:40, our friends from Germany, Drs. Urs and Christine
Vossmerbäumer (below right) joined us and we had a great time chatting and
catching up on what they were now doing.
We got packed up and at 12:00 checked out of the hotel. After pack-loading
the car again, at 1:10 John drove the 215 miles south from Germany to Sirmione,
Italy (map.) At 1:15, we stopped and made sure to buy the Austrian Highway
permit (center) since we will be crossing Austria and the fines are very high if
you don't have one. At 2:40, we stopped and got the Brenner Autobahn Pass
sticker for €8 and some cokes. At 5:00, we were on the Autostrada del Brennero
which we had to pay a toll of €13.9.
Here is a view of the Brenner Pass on the Italian side at the Vipiteno exit
heading to Bolzano (Bozen.)
we arrived in Sirmione and checked into
Hotel Sirmione [19 Piazza Castello,
+39-03-091-6331] and it was €186 ($262) per night; much higher than we like to
spend but we had no choice. John and I are here to spend time working on
the logistics of a new IOL power formula and this was a perfect spot to do it.
It looks like they fixed the big dent in the metal canopy above the door (below
right) that I witnessed done by a van truck on one of our previous stays.
Our room is in the building next door (below) which overlooks the water and
where the pool is. They gave us room #101.
Right outside our entrance is the view of the castle.
Since I hadn't run yet, I changed and at 7:45 did my customary run to Villa Pioppi
and got back in time (8:15) to join Marcia, John and Najwa for a little wine and Prosecco
looking out over the lake.
The ladies relaxed while John and I talked formulas. From the hotel
promenade we have a view of the pier where the boat stops that goes to all the
towns along the lake. The sunset was beautiful.
The four of us finally headed out and arrived at 9:30 for dinner at
Ristorante Pizzeria Valentino
(below) [10 Piazza Porto Valentino,
+39-30-91-6112.] This is probably our favorite place to eat here.
Our coperto for the four of us was €8. We ordered from their extensive
got some aqua and tried their local wine: Carlo Zenegaglia Gardo Pinot Grigio 2009
which was very good.
We started by sharing a fabulous pizza margherita which was only €6. I was
dying for some French fries.
For a secondi, Marcia had Trota alla griglia (grilled lake trout,) with spinaci al oglio
(spinach with oil.)
had branzino alla griglia. I decided to have their wonderful prosciutto é melone (below
left) which was great as usual. For secondi John and I both had tortellini carne panna
prosciutto (below right.)
We all agreed the meal was excellent. Our waiter, Dennis, is originally
from Albania and treated us perfectly. The owner is Fabio and the chef is
Massimo. Congrats to the beautiful job they do here.
After dinner we walked around in the balmy weather and at 11:20 we stopped at
Bar Gino and we had limoncello. Then we stopped and had gelato limone
(above) at Fortune [26 Via Vittorio Emanuelle.] We walked back to
our room and again I got to bed at 12:30 AM. It must be the early morning
Saturday, August 28, 2010
I woke at 8:00 and again at 8:45 when I decided to get up early (for me.)
By 9:00 I was running again to Villa Pioppi and at 9:30, when I was done, headed
straight to Bar Gino for a cappuccino. Then at 10:15 I went back to the
hotel to join Marcia, John and Najwa for the free hotel breakfast. Below
left is the hotel reception desk and on the right is the breakfast layout.
John had Müsli with pineapples.
I had another cappuccino and then eggs and bacon with a brioche an also made a
ham and cheese sandwich for later.
At 12:35, they went off to wander around and I headed straight for the pool
area. I first took a seat at the edge of the water with my computer and
worked on PhotoStitching.
It was getting a little warm there so I moved to one of the tables in the shade
and ordered a large bottle of Pelligrino and my third cappuccino. I
worked to finish my lecture slides for my talks at the upcoming ESCRS meeting.
At 1:45 Marcia had lunch at Il Guelfo [Vicolo Bisse 1,
+39-03-091-9225.] Then at 2:30, John and Najwa joined me for a swim
in the pool to relax. We worked some more on formulas.
The Italians make you wear these silly caps to keep your hair from getting in
the pool. I only learned now that they were mandatory - I have never used
one. At 3:45 I went back to the room and washed out some clothes.
Then at 4:00, I ate that ham sandwich I made earlier. Unusual for me to
eat at this time of day. At 4:15 I set up my iPod Nano with ten Rush tapes
and then tried to use WiFi to upload my ESCRS talks but it wouldn't work.
At 5:30 I uploaded my ESCRS talks thanks to Paolo, I was ultimately able to get
it all done. I sent up the two Savini
talks, my talk and my lecture at the Arup course.
I decided to go to the Saturday Mass so I headed out to St. Maria Maggiore and
attended the 6:30 Mass. [I have shown the church in several previous trip
Diarios. I got back at 7:15 and joined Marcia, Najwa and John on the
terrace and, while they were having wine, I had a Franziskaner Weissbier.
While we were sitting there discussing formulas, we looked up and noticed there
were folks parasailing over the lake.
We got a chance to watch them land and enjoy another sunset.
At 10:00, we headed to dinner and decided to start with just a pizza at
Al Pescatore [via
+39-03-091-6216.] This place opened the year I was born, 1943.
We ordered a bottle of S Cristina Lugana 2009 and a pizza margherita we all
shared. I was not impressed with the pizza and we decided to go elsewhere
for the rest of our dinner.
You can tell by looking at it, it is nothing like Valentino's. We then got
a table at
Ristorante Re Desiderio [Via Antiche Mura, 11,
+39-030-919-6683.] We decided to sit inside.
The others ordered Insalata Caprese (below center) and green salad (right.)
Instead I had a prosciutto melone (below left) followed by a spaghetti Bolognese
The ladies had fresh grilled Lake fish (below left) and John and I had lasagna
We heard some noise and I walked out into the courtyard and saw they had
fireworks going on.
We finished dining and then headed to Bar Gino for a coffee at 11:15. I
was very happy to see that Anna was there. She has been serving me my
"early" cappuccinos since our first visit in 1997 and I have never gotten a
picture of her. She is such a lovely lady and this time John was able to
get a photo of us. Say hello to her if you ever go there.
John and I had an espresso and then the four of us had a limoncello. We
had a wonderful time and I believe John and Najwa learned to appreciate Sirmione
as we do.
We easily meandered our way back to the hotel and got to bed at 12:30 AM
Sunday August 29, 2010
I woke at 7:15, 9:30, and 10:15 and immediately got up so I could do my run
before it got too hot. I started my run at 11:40 and headed my usual route to Villa Pioppi.
This is our ninth time in Sirmione and I have described this place many times in
these Diarios. As a reminder, here is a map (below left) of Lago di Garda
which I found on a wall made of small tiles during my run. On the right is
a map of the peninsula sticking up into lake.
Here is a closer look at the little island at the tip. You can see the
castle near the bridge and our hotel which is just below it. The church is
to the left of the castle and the huge Palazzo hotel we stayed at for the
meeting last year is in the north central part.
As I headed away from the island after crossing the bridge, I got this panorama
including our hotel.
Along the run to the Villa, there is this little park along the water that I
enjoy running through. On my way back, I came across a few interesting
I came across this boat in the park near the parking lot. I have no idea
what it is trying to say.
I guess it is protesting something military. There was also this ad for a
telephone company and the city seal.
Also in the park is this fountain with an anchor in it.
At the end of the parking lot I again approach the hotel and castle.
There is no way to run across this bridge. Picture yourself driving a car
across it. It is fun getting the crowds to part and let you through.
At 12:00 Marcia told me she was shopping and bought some jewelry. At 12:15
I reached Bar Gino, and as always, my favorite seat was empty (above right.)
Anna served me a very nice cappuccino while I worked on my computer regarding
the formula ideas John and I have been discussing. At 1:15 Marcia again
had lunch at Il Guelfo [1 Vicolo Bisse,
+39-03-091-9225.] I got back to the hotel at 1:30 and checked out.
Here is what our room looked like.
We all got packed up and they brought our car to the front so we could load it
up again for the very last time. We took off at 2:40 and again John was
kind enough to make the 94 mile drive south and then east to Venezia.
At 3:00 PM, we stopped to fill up the gas at an IP station with an automatic pump.
It cost €60 ($84.) Thankfully a guy on a motorcycle told us how to use the
It is quite a complicated procedure.
At 4:10 we had to pay the Autostradali toll of €8.6 and then at 4:25 we stopped
at another IP Gas station to topup the tank so we wouldn't get charged for gas
since we are almost there. We are almost there. Now for
several days in Venezia.
ASIDE: The news of
Pope Benedict XVI resigning noted that this is the first
time a pope has resigned in 600 years. The last to
do so was
Gregory XII but it was not because of old age; it
was a very specific situation: the Western Schism.
There were a line of Anti-Popes in Avignon, France
claiming to be the pope at the same time there were
popes in Rome.
Gregory was only elected in Rome in 1406 with the
absolute vow he would resign if the Avignon Anti-Pope,
Benedict XIII (coincidental?,) would also resign.
I discussed this issue in the Avignon
France Diario #25. Click on it to read it.
It is a complicated story but Benedict vacated Avignon
in 1408 and Gregory was "forced" to resign in 1415.
The Schism was over but his successor, Martin V was not
elected until 1419, two years after Gregory died.
(352–366,) and one
catalogue of popes
John XVIII as
resigning office in
resignation is that
Benedict IX in
1045. In order
to rid the Church of
Gregory VI gave
resign the papacy in
himself resigned in
1046 because the
arrangement he had
entered into with
Benedict IX was a
pip, having been the
(elected at age 20)
and the only one to
serve as pope more
than once (3 times.)
conditional one made
by Pius XII and John
Paul II. What
is it with these
Benedict XVI has just done is truly historic.
To -> NEXT DIARIO #12
Kenneth J. Hoffer, MD
Top of Page
If you enjoyed these travels or
wish to add comments on the places we visited
Please Leave Me a Message by clicking the spinning
@ sign below.
Click Here To: