Nom de Plumage

September 25, 2012

Romeo and Juliet’s City of Love – Verona


Solitude can weave moments of content and satisfaction when travelling alone. But undeniably, when an opportunity for companionship arises, you grab it with both hands. To be able to share the experience, is ever that much sweeter and meaningful. My new friend Suzy and I made plans last night to spend the day visiting the nearby city of Verona. And so we did…………

Surprisingly, there are no trains to Verona in the morning, but not to be deterred, we caught a direct bus that took all of 45 minutes to reach our destination. Admittedly, I barely saw any of the scenery as I was too busy getting acquainted with Suzy. Her stories and life experiences where both a joy to listen to, but also tarnished with the injustices and cruelty of fellow humans. I am an avid admirer of her work with world peace.

Like most large cities in Italy, there is the new and old part. Verona is no exception. Although the new part is beautiful, it is the old medieval city that really holds the magic.

          

Behind stone walls and an iron gate, is a cemetery that holds the mortal remains of one-half of the cities most famous citizens. A memorial at the front entrance is the only place you can play homage to Juliet. We could only sneak a few quick photo’s between iron bars and could only speculate which tomb actually belongs to her. As for Romeo? No idea! I would like to believe that he rests beside her, but reality says otherwise.

Further on and at the entrance to the old city, is the ever impressionable Colosseum. Smaller than the mighty Rome’s, it is nonetheless impressive and quite possibly in better condition than the original. We looked, took some photo’s and moved on.

               

When you walk through the shopping arcade and past  designer shops, you enter a beautiful old world. Verona has, like all other ancient cities, uneven stone roads, narrow dark streets, piazza’s and towers, but what this city has, is character. Painted on the outer walls, are beautiful frescoes. The lush green colour highlights window frames/shutters and the more earthy clay colours the outer building walls. It was certainly a surprise and I loved how it gave the city a unique character, that only enhanced it’s appeal. We discovered, what would appear to be a ‘slum’ area, but in actual fact it was so beautiful in it’s unique way, that I loved it. I am not so sure what the feelings are of those who actually live there, but it had originality.                

The most embarrassing of all confessions, is that Verona is the home to Romeo and Juliet. But do you think that Suzy and I saw the famous ‘balcony’? Nope! We were so busy talking, that we passed it by somewhere and it was only later that we realised our mistake. Big Whoops!

With all the walking and talking, it was time for lunch. We had discovered the river that dissects the city and it was along this road, that we were in search of lunch. One of the first restaurants that we came upon was so ordinary on the outside, that it really did not look at all very promising. We read the menu at the front door and surprisingly enough, it actually appeared to be appetising. But we wanted to keep our options open and so we moved on. But we searched and nothing really appealed, so we decided to try our luck at the first restaurant. That most famous cliché, ‘never judge a book by it’s cover’, was never more true than when we opened the front door and entered a modern, clean and very hospitable restaurant. The head waiter was young and handsome and spoke reasonably good English. He escorted us to, what I believed, the best table in the house. At the back, away from other diners and with an open view of the beautiful river and the castle.

             

The hardest part was deciding what to order. Suzy ordered one of the dishes that I really wanted. It looked and tasted amazing – pasta with black mushrooms and black truffles. She was kind enough to let me taste some. I on the other hand, went out of my comfort zone and ordered something that I would never find on a menu in Australia. The dish was spaghetti with donkey ragout. Yeap, you read correctly – donkey. Please don’t hate me! I have to be honest, that although a stronger flavour than beef, it was actually very nice and I enjoyed it. Accompanying our meal, we enjoyed a glass of red wine and when we finished our glass, the waiter came and refilled it. Surprised, we told him that we did not order it, but he cheekily replied that the bottle was almost empty and it was on the house. Suzy and I laughed when he explained that his English ‘was catastrophic’. For someone who cannot speak the language well, that was impressive. A beautiful meal, with a beautiful friend, overlooking beautiful scenery and with a beautiful waiter, now what more can you wish for? Trattoria Fluviale Vecio Mulin – write it down and do me a favour when you visit Verona – eat there!

We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring this most impressive and beautiful city. We discovered a sentimental chain of padlocks on the bridge, dedicated to the lovers of the city.

               

We arrived back in Vincenza late and met Suzy’s cousin Ramsey for a guided tour of the city. He was so well informed and told us many delightful facts. We were also able to see the damages made to bridges and buildings from the latest floods. A little scary because more rain is predicted tomorrow.

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