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more decisons... 2nd half of my trip

I want to thank everyone again for all of your suggestions regarding my Arezzo dilemma. It really helps to talk it out and get input from travel friends. I have booked with Hotel Patio in Arezzo but am still considering other options. At least I have a hotel at the moment. I have even thought about Siena. Haven’t been back there since 2001 (studied Italian twice in Siena – 5 weeks total). The major negative though about Siena is my timing would bring me there right before the Palio, which would usually be great, but the extra all night singing and other noise would not be a welcome additon to my jetlag. I did find one amazing new place on the outskirts of the city but within easy walking distance, which would be nice and quiet, but they want 150 per night! I will have to continue to mull over this part of my trip.

Meanwhile, onto the second half of my trip. After leaving Lucca, I currently have five nights booked at my favorite hotel in Bologna. I plan to do a couple of daytrips while there. Possibly returning to Parma and Ferrara. I have also thought about going back to Modena and visiting Reggio Emilia for the first time, and then there is the thought of returning to Ravenna. I realize I could never visit all of these places so again more decisions.

I am starting to wonder if I should extend my stay in Bologna or add a second place to stay somewhere in the Emilia Romagna region. If I do choose a second location, it will have to be somewhere either not much farther from Lucca or Stresa. One of my conditions I put on my itinerary this year was to keep all train travel to two hours if possible. A second location would most likely add time to one of my train trips so I would have to look carefully at the possible connections as part of my decision. And as you probably know by now, I am very picky about hotels and will have to look at options in each possible location. I do have a favorite in Ferrara if they still have a room available. I might just end up staying in Bologna the entire time adding a night or two to this part of my trip.

And then there is Stresa. My original plan was for six nights in Stresa. I love staying near the water and I love being on boats. Still, I am a little uneasy about committing six nights in Stresa, mostly because once again I am not finding hotels that are jumping out at me saying, "Stay here, Stay here!”

These are the hotels I have been looking at:

Hotel Elena (1 star hotel) - Single B&B €55 / Double B&B €77. There are so many great reviews it has been difficult eliminating this hotel, even though it has no AC. Comments mention that it does cool down at night in the summer and others complained of the heat. I have no idea if the singles are tiny boxes because as usual, there are only photos of double rooms. The doubles are not that much cheaper than Hotel Boston for the loss of A/C.

Hotel Boston (3 start hotel) - Single B&B €70 / Double standard B&B €91.50. Non-smoking rooms are a plus here. Some complaints of noise but mostly good reviews. The other question is that the website says "Air-conditioning is available upon request, subject to charges, and then in another section it says "Individually controlled air conditioning".

Hotel Du Parc (3 star hotel) - Double B&B €103.33. Good reviews overall and free wireless but some train noise complaints. I thought it was non-smoking but am not sure now. Need to check into that. Not sure now why this hotel is on my list since it is more expensive than Hotel Boston? At one point I almost booked it though so there must have been a reason.

OR do I splurge at Hotel Palma (4 star) - Double for Single Use €135. I would probably only stay 4 nights max if I stayed here. Non-smoking rooms and great reviews overall except for a few picky rich people complaints such as "there weren't neither Turkish bath nor tennis courts there", "Swimming pool across a busy main road isn't ideal and wasn't very inviting". I doubt I will stay at this hotel though, especially since the euro has just jumped 10 points practically overnight. It was fun to dream a little though :)

My other question for Stresa: Do I want to stay 1-2 days on Isola Pescatori? This idea popped into my head after reading Dana's blog post about this lovely island.

There are only two hotels on the island. One is much too expensive. The second one, the Hotel Belvedere has rooms with a view for €150 and with a view and balcony for €180 (both again out of my price range) but the hotel also has one or two Double B&B rooms without a view for €100, which as of last night were still available. The only downside besides not getting the view (which I can live with) is that according to a comment on Venere.com, the windows closely face another building's walls and soon-to-be-windows (which now might be real windows as the comment was written in 2006). This hotel does not have A/C and without a good breeze if the windows are up close to another building, it might not be a pleasant stay. I might just have to keep Isola Pescatori as a daytrip and miss out on the fun of an overnight stay.

** UPDATE: I went back and googled Hotel Du Parc trying to find where I saw the non-smoking comment for this hotel. It is on the Hotel Du Parc ItalyBy.Com website. There are more nice reviews on this website. I think I am going to have to email them. This could be the hotel for me! It is starting to whisper in my ear. They also have an annex with I believe slightly cheaper rooms. Now I just need to figure out the dates.

So, I have up to twelve nights to play with before heading to Coccaglio to spend time with my friends Katia and Guido at the end of my trip. Right now I have five nights in Bologna, six nights in Stresa, and I also have an extra night to put somewhere (because of the change in my return date). I could add this night to Bologna, Stresa, or Coccaglio. I originally planned four nights in Coccaglio since Katia works during the week figuring I would arrive in the late afternoon during one of the days she works and do a daytrip to Verona on the second day she works.

So, do I want to add two nights to Bologna and take a night away from Stresa, add one night to Bologna and keep Stresa as is (six nights), or keep the plan as is, adding the extra night to Coccaglio. And if I add nights to Bologna, do I want to stay in Bologna the entire time or split that portion up with another stop along the way. Decisions, decisions!

Isn't trip planning fun??

Comments (11)

It sure sounds fun, girasoli.
OK I have never been to either Bologna or Stresa, or Coccaglio to that matter. (Oh, the places I wanna go). But I feel if it was me, I would take a night of Stresa, and add the two nights to Bologna. This extra time in Bologna will be nice for day trips to places you said you want to go to.
Continue with the fun!

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Girasoli, sounds like you are having fun planning this summer trip! That first hotel is cute and I really like the surrounding. Seems so close to the lake and the action, but that's me. I like being able to be in the thick of things and I would love to be really close to the the water. But not having AC would be a factor if it gets hot their during your visit. All your hotels choices looks wonderful . Seems like you're in no shortage of hotel choices in Stresa. I'll have to remember your posts (for future reference) :)

Keep on enjoying your trip planning!

sandrac:

So many choices! I have to say that Hotel du Parc does look charming -- I can see why it would be calling to you. And Stresa does sound extremely interesting and looks so beautiful.

But if you are seriously thinking of rejigging your itinerary a bit, I think there's alot to be said for adding a few extra days to your stay in Bologna. For one thing, you know and really like your hotel there. And that's important (at least for me it is, and I think for you as well!)

Further, your recent fantastic posts on Bologna really demonstrate how much you love the city. It's also so central for all kinds of different days trips -- as you've mentioned, Ferrara and Parma, maybe Padova, Ravenna. Heck, I have half a mind to pop down to Florence for a day when I'm in Bologna since it's so close (and I do love Florence!)

Extra time in Bologna might mean a bit less time in Stresa, but this way you can see how much you actually like Stresa -- if you love it, you can go back!

I vote for leaving Stresa as it is. When I went through the lake district on my first "fast travel" trip to Italy, I thought about how I would love to spend a week there, tooling around and exploring all the little villages etc. It was so beautiful and relaxing there, and just seemed like a great place for a vacation!

But I'm sure there's probably more to do and see in Bologna...

sheri:

Assuming that you settle on a hotel, I would keep Stresa as planned. Personally, I relax best around water and would want enough time to explore leisurely. I would need to have air conditioning for sleeping!

I vote for packing me a suitcase - I am a very good, flexible traveler - Heck, I'll even pay for the extra poundage via the airline:-) I am living vicariously through these posts...Menehune

Thank you everyone! It really helps to get input from friends!

candi, I am leaning heavily towards your suggestion. There are just too many things I want to be doing while in Bologna. I don't think anyone I know in the US has been to Coccaglio! Even most people in Italy have not been there. It is a tiny little town where my friends live. Funny thing is that my Italian teacher here was born in the next town over from Coccaglio!

Kathy, the first hotel does look cute! I would jump on it except for the no A/C thing. I am probably the last person in a room to be hot but if there are mosquitoes, I might want to the option to close the windows and put the A/C on at night. I think I will investigate all of the hotels while I am there for future reference.

sandra, Dana is so wonderful. She went up to check it out today for me. Unfortunately it was closed but she said that the place looks beautiful and is all spruced up and ready for the season. The only bad thing is that the hotel is closer than I even thought to the train tracks. So my decision now is train noise, or people noise if I stay at the Hotel Boston (the complaint about this hotel). People noise sometimes goes on much longer and can be just as irritating. I really like the grounds at Hotel Du Parc. She is going to check out Hotel Boston for me tomorrow.

Bologna does offer so many possibilities! I went to Florence last year from Bologna. This year I am going to visit Florence from either Lucca or Arezzo. Train travel is so much easier without luggage! Knowing that I love the hotel in Bologna does make me want to stay there longer. I just sent them an email to see if they have a room available for 2 more days.

Annie, I know what you mean about just tooling around and exploring all the little villages.

Annie & sheri, If only I was sure about a hotel. After my few bad experiences, I have always been nervous about ending up in a bad hotel. That can really ruin my impression of a town. I am still torn on what to do. I am leaning towards adding 2 days to Bologna and cutting just one day from Stresa. While I am in Coccaglio, we usually go to Lake Iseo on either Saturday or Sunday, so I will get in one more Lake day while there. I just need more days!!

menehune, ha ha ha!! I forgot to add that one to my possibilities! Wouldn't that be nice to be able to stow away in a suitcase!

Tough choices! I don't know Stresa and had to look it up on the map! I didn't realize it as one of the towns on Lago Maggiore.

Like others have said, adding days to Bologna is a pretty safe bet: you love the hotel and you have lots of stuff to do. For peace of mind that might be the easiest? Bologna has so much to offer and that way you won't be bored with too much time in Stresa.

Jane:

Girasoli, I just checked out Hotel du Parc and vote for it. It looks really lovely. Can you ask for a room with less train noise? As far as time in Stresa, I have only been there once--years and years ago. I don't remember it though as a place I would have chosen for 6 nights. So I add my vote to the "more time in Bologna" chorus. Whatever though, once you make your decisions then you will begin to get really excited. Don't second guess!!

Chiocciola, that is pretty much what I am thinking right now. I spent a couple of nights in Locarno (other end of Lake Maggiore back in 2003. The Lake is big (guessing that is how the name came about). I figure if I like Stresa a lot, I can always return since it is a great last stop before heading to the airport.

Jane, Dana went to check it out for me today and said it is practically on the train tracks. But I have stayed by train tracks in Camogli and Vernazza and the noise both times bothered me less than people out late at night making noise underneath my window did (which is the main complaint of the other hotel I am considering). There is also A/C so shutting the windows might help a little at night. I sent them an email and am waiting for their reply. I am hoping they have non-smoking rooms.

I think either way, if this hotel works out in Stresa, I will be happy but I will probably go for the extra nights in Bologna just because I would like to visit some other places nearby.

Thanks again everyone for all of your input!! It really does help so much :)

I'm coming late to this post but I would have also recommended adding the days to Bologna. The Hotel du Parc looks really nice. I hope you hear from them soon.

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