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September 8-10
Written September 9-11 and Oct 5

Dear Family and Friends,

The drive from Bressanone to Treviso could be under three hours according to Google Maps. We took seven.

First, we left Bressanone giving instructions to Gertrude-the-navi to avoid autostradas.  That put us on smaller roads, but ones where we could continue with the top down on our little Boxster.  The only way to travel. 

We drove south until the town of Aura/Oro, where we were supposed to head east into the (steep) hills that had been a high wall along our left side.  However, in the center of town, a block ahead of us, there was some sort of accident.  Pretty soon traffic was stopped, sirens were wailing, and we were turning around, hoping for an alternative.  I must say, though, the scene was classic: civilians directing cars left and right, at the same time.  Police racing through the gathering crowd.  Farm trucks and cars all trying to turn around in the narrow street.  Welcome to Italy.

We did make it around the problem and headed up the "shoelace" road that climbed the hills toward the mountains.  Our three-hour drive was beginning to look like ten.  In fact, after three hours of country driving, we were only at the mountain ski village of Predazzo.  I was tired of driving.  We took a break for a panini, a good warm Italian sandwich, and changed drivers. Marianne took over.

Out of Predazzo, we headed through Passo di Rolle, not really knowing what to expect.  One clue was that there were far more motorcycles than cars.  No trucks or any other large vehicles.  As we ascended, we could see glimpses of the spectacular Dolomite mountains.  At the pass, we paused for pictures and then jumped back in the car.  Since Marianne continued driving, I kept the cameras busy, shooting the wonderful scenery from the car, a benefit of top-down driving for sure.  I know the pictures are not wonderful photography, but as memories of the drive, they are priceless.
On the map or the navigator, lots of turns.

After another couple of hours of mountain driving, we entered the flat coastal plains.  Here, the driving was even more treacherous as we ran across more bad drivers than we had seen in a decade of driving in Germany: passing on curves, passing in tunnels, going so slow it required other drivers to take such risks, or motorcycles zooming past at breakneck speeds.  Welcome, again, to Italy.

After seven hours of driving, we made it to our hotel, the Hotel Rovere, outside the old town of Treviso.  While it sits in a non-descript commercial neighborhood, the hotel itself was very pleasant.  Our room was large, the parking convenient, and the staff exceptionally helpful.

For the evening, we took the half-hour walk into the center of Treviso.  The road was lined with stately homes from a by-gone era.  The walled-town was lively and filled with people enjoying the warm evening.  We sipped wine and watched people while we waited for restaurants to open at 7:30.  Our meal at the Due Torri, a recommendation from the Hotel Revere, may have been the best on our trip so far.

The evening walk back to the hotel was long, but pleasant.  Inside the city walls, there was a continuing background of people having noisy fun.  Families dining.  Young and not-so-young people strolling on the streets, greeting one another.  A wedding party accosting pedestrians for a few euros to help them celebrate, I suppose.  Welcome to Italy indeed.

Sunday morning, as I wrote this, we were enjoying our breakfast on the hotel patio.  The temperature was perfect and the food generous.  The coffee was the best on the trip.  We looked forward to  the rest of our stay.

(Monday)  The day proved as quiet as we had planned.  We drove to the walled city and wandered for hours, taking pictures, sketching, eating ice cream -- just once -- and generally enjoying the architecture, the canals, and the feel of Treviso on Sunday.  Here are more pictures than needed, but far fewer than I took.  Marianne will show you her sketches when you visit.
  Next, we headed to Urbino, a planned four-hour drive.  I wondered how long it would take.

John and Marianne


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