Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Heart and Circulatory System of Vienna

With its reasonable prices, convenience, frequent train schedule, great signage and spacious seats (compared to some other cities) Vienna has to have one of the best subway systems in the world.  What's more, and what I think is also important in encouraging honesty and good citizenship,  it operates largely on the honor system.  There are no barriers to entering the stations but undercover U-Bahn employees do check tickets  from time to time and the fine for not paying (I hear) is substantial.  Just learn to read the signage and moving about the city is a breeze.  This is the U-Bahn entrance at Stephansplatz with the Graben walking street in the background—the heart of the city.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Danube Twilight

It's not often that I've seen Strauss's beautiful blue Danube look blue.  But it did on this day until sunset when street lights brought out hints of lilac and gold.  This view is looking toward the Donauinsel, the long Danube island that splits the river in Vienna.

The Reichsbrücke was the only bridge in Vienna not to sustain significant damage during WWII but early Sunday morning, August 1, 1976, the bridge collapsed, killing one person.  I've never seen a reason for the collapse; it is said to be a mystery.  In addition to cars and trucks, today's bridge carries pedestrians, bikes and U-Bahn trains.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Love Lives Here

There is evidently no evidence that Romeo and Juliet existed beyond the hearts and minds of millions.  Yet, if you are in Verona you can visit Juliet's "home."

Hearts on the wall leading to the apartment.  Graffiti is a huge problem here.

The courtyard was packed with visitors when we arrived.  That's Juliet's balcony, thought to be a recycled sarcophagus.

What beautiful windows...and I appreciate this man showing up with just the right clothes and beard to add a Shakespearean flair!   

Tourists rub the bronze breast of Juliet, participating in the modern myth that it will bring  true love.

Others place locks with their names on them and throw away the keys as a symbol of their hope for everlasting love.

Inside Juliet's home.

Costumes from the 1968 Franco Zeffirelli movie, Romeo and Juliet

The Renzo Mongiardino-designed Renaissance style bed used in the movie. 
You can use a Renaissance-style computer to send a message to Giulietta.

View of Verona rooftops.

Sleek wooden "books" with quotes from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet dot the rooms.

"There is no world without Verona walls...."

Kisses in the guestbook.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pretty Trattoria

It wasn't mealtime when we passed this pretty restaurant, Trattoria Tre Marchetti, in the old part of  Verona, Italy but I like the pastel murals so much I hope to get a chance to eat there on a return visit.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Man who Occupied Ponte Scaligero

Peaceful sights greet the visitor to Verona, Italy who arrives via the bridge, Ponte Scaligero.  Yet even a cursory history of the area reveals a story worthy of investigation.  

It is said the Cangrande II della Scalla ordered the construction of this bridge in the mid-1300s to provide an escape passage from Verona to Tyrol to protect himself not from external forces but from popular riots.  Nicknamed "Rabid Dog,"  he had ruled Verona harshly, amassing vast riches for himself and his sons while impoverishing the city's citizens.  Hmmm.

Destroyed during WW II and rebuilt by 1951 from pieces salvaged in the river, this is one of the most unusual bridges I've ever seen.  Long thought to have been killed by his brother, Cangrande II's body was exhumed in 2004 and an autopsy revealed he died from massive digitalis poisoning. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

If you're ever in Verona

I don't often focus on hotels but I'd suggest you write this name down: Casa Villa d'Arco.   Just outside of Verona, Italy, this is a very special place with extraordinary hosts and marvelous breakfasts.

Upon arrival, owners Roberto and Vittoria invited us for a cool drink in their garden.  We lingered till sunset questioning Roberto about his recommendations on what to see and do in the area.

The room I stayed in featured lovely antiques, a great oak floor,  beams in the ceiling and beautiful linens.

The romantic view from my room.

Vittoria is a fabulous pastry chef who presents her delectable treats under lace.

Now this is a great start to living a beautiful life.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Colorful Evening

A phone booth and hair salon glow brightly in Vienna's third district near the Landstrasser U-Bahn station.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Drying dill

The ambrosial fragrance or taste of dill transports my grandmother directly to me with childhood memories of her asking me to go to the garden and cut dill for a salad we were making.  My mother, too, has always loved dill and these drying stalks in her kitchen begged to be photographed.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bled's Beauties

Surrounded by mountains, one of our favorite places, Bled, Slovenia is symbolized by its picturesque steeple-topped island in the lake, a majestic castle on a cliff, stylish pletna boats, perfect cream cakes, slinky swans, and rustic horse-drawn wagons.  It's a place to walk, row, sail, think and just enjoy an incredible intersection of the beauty of Nature and human interpretations of beauty...all the better with a bite of sumptuous cream cake in your mouth.