Tuesday, May 27, 2014

26 Hours in Fair Verona

On Friday, March 28th, I boarded a 6:30am train to Innsbruck, Austria. When I arrived in Innsbruck around 11am, I hopped on a train to Verona, Italy. By 3pm, I was on a local bus in Verona attempting to buy a ticket for my short ride through the city. By 3:01pm, I had an assortment of Italian ladies trying to instruct me in Italian on how to purchase a ticket from the faulty machine. Another woman who spoke English finally came to my rescue and then it was time to get off the bus. I roamed the streets of Verona and admired this quaint and romantic city. My hostel experience was one of my favourites. I stayed in a Catholic family home that offered beds to young females for a low price (even though I am far from Catholic). When I entered the courtyard of the building, two kids and a woman were playing with a kickball. The children were beyond adorable and spoke the cutest Italian. I waved to them and gave a friendly "Ciao". The children ran over and  I communicated that my Italian was not very good and that I speak English. The children were eager to learn a few words in English and to teach me Italian. I was looking forward to seeing the kids around the hostel.

After I checked in and was given sheets, I settled into a bed in the corner of the twenty-bed room and decided to go out and explore Verona. I was ravenous for lunch, so I stopped at the corner cafe for a sandwich and a cup of coffee. The friendly cashier also gave me a used map to get around the city. The camera around my neck must have been the tourist giveaway. I started a photography class the week prior, and my university lent me a Nikon D3100 to fulfil my class assignments. It was fun to have such a nice camera while traveling too.  My first stop on my full stomach was to Piazza Indipendenza on my way to Piazza delle Erbe. In the middle of Piazza Indipendenza was a statue of Garibaldi, so I assumed he was influential to Verona. Once I hit, Piazza delle Erbe, I went in search of  Casa di Giulietta. The relation of Verona and Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet was my main motivation to travel to Verona. Although the story was created by Shakespeare and not based on historical events, the Shakespeare nerd in me was so excited to visit all of these landmarks. I saw Juliet's balcony, her house, the wall of locks, and the famous statue of Juliet. This was followed by an evening stroll getting lost around town, and gelato.

A balcony on the courtyard of the building of my hostel
Snapping some flowers in Verona
Statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi
Juliet's Balcony
The statue of Juliet 
Love locks at Juliet's house
When I returned to the hostel, the families were having dinner in the kitchen, and another woman had moved into the room. She was a darling Italian girl around my age who was completing her Masters in Verona on the weekends. She spoke English well, and we talked at length until a mom came up to the room and offered us dinner. The girl and I shared a plate of fried mushrooms, and spent the rest of the evening entertaining the children in the living room. It was a joy to meet and make new friends in this wonderful home.

The next morning, I said goodbye to the families and was on my way to meet Emielia and Andrew at the Arena di Verona (after a croissant and cappuccino of course). The arena was epic. I could only imagine what it is like to see an opera on that stage. Maybe the next time I am in Verona, I will indulge in that. After the arena, we walked to Tomba di Giuletta and nerded out some more about Romeo and Juliet. The tomb is totally a tourist attraction, but it was a must-see on my list. We had our fill of pizza and wine following the tomb, and then went to see the Ponte Pietra (a famous bridge). 

Exploring Verona 
Beautiful balconies everywhere
Picture perfect windows
Arena di Verona 
The seating
More seating
Andrew in the arena 
View from above the stage
Andrew and Juliet
Emielia and Juliet
Juliet's Tomb
Romeo and Juliet lines outside of Juliet's Tomb
The tomb
Andrew and Emielia 
Ponte Pietra
With that, it was time for me to hop on the train and head to Milan. I was loving these solo trips in Italy! I couldn't wait to explore the second largest city and fashion capital with great art!

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