Monday, November 12, 2012

Where Romeo met Juliet

On November 3rd, my wonderful husband and I were lucky enough to go on a day trip to Verona, the city where Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet was based.  Many of the locals believe that the families actual did exist and they even traced down the places referenced in the Bard's work and have turned it into tourist central.  Of course I was stoked to experience this wonderfully romantic slice of Italy and hopefully get in some historical sightings as well... and I wasn't disappointed.

It was a three hour bus trip and we encountered this spooky fog that made it impossible to see the cars passing on either side of the charter bus we rode in.  And let me tell you - those bus drivers are the most daring sons of bitches I've ever encountered... but that's a story for another day.  It was rainy and cold when we got there, and even though we'd forgotten our umbrella, we didn't let it stop us from having an amazing time!

We started with a bus tour of the city, hitting up the major buildings along the main streets; we encountered the city walls still standing from the early 1000's, the beautiful palaces that have since been turned into outlet stores and hotels, the gorgeous bridges that connect the two main parts of Verona, and the Roman Theater which has, sadly, not really stood the test of time.  Then we got off the bus and did a walking tour, getting to encounter the beauty and history of the town at a much more up-close-and-personal level.  We saw statues, burial plots, more cathedrals, markets, and landmarks, including but not limited to: Romeo's House, Juliet's House/courtyard/balcony, the Arena, and so much more.  While we were doing the walking tour, we got to spend about 10 minutes in Juliet's courtyard where I got to rub her statue.  The old story goes that if you rub the right breast of the bronze Juliet statue, you will be granted luck in love!  After leaving there, we trekked through a market in the middle of one of the squares and then we were given a few hours of time on our own, which we didn't manage very well.  We stood in line to get into the Arena for 1/2 an hour and then were inside for another 30 minutes.  I really wanted to go inside Juliet's house since we didn't have time when we were on the guided walking tour, so we made our way back across the city and realized as we were standing in line that if we were going to get lunch and make it back to our bus on time, we had to forgo the tour of the house and perhaps come back to Verona another time when we weren't rushed and on a set schedule.

We ended up getting a pizza and coke to go and made it back to the bus just in the nick of time.  Then we were driven about twenty minutes out of the major city and onto the property of the Bonamini olive oil factory, where we got to harvest some olives fresh off some trees, see the whole bottling process of olive oil, and get a professional olive oil (and other olive products) taste-test.  Our schedule allocated about three hours on the property and we were done and back on the bus to head home within an hour.  I was a bit perturbed to say the least.  I mean, we were rushed out of Verona where I could've experienced so many other cool things only to end up, when the day was over and done with, back home three hours ahead of schedule.  I felt a bit jipped and quite frankly wanted some of my moolah reimbursed.  I mean, I was paying for a 7am-11:59pm trip and I didn't get that.

But oh well.  As my love continued to say, "Babe, we can always come back."  So we will.  But for now... take a look at our wonderful trip:

Palace along the main road in Verona

What's left of the Roman Theater

San Tomaso Becket Church

The street where Romeo's house was on

Street performer who, minutes after I snapped this, scared the crap out of me!

Me rubbing the bronze statue of Juliet for luck in love!

Palazzo Barberi in the Piazza Bra

The hubs standing in the middle of the Arena di Verona

 As you can see, we didn't skimp on the pics :D  It's going to be quite some time before we get to make another trip like this, mainly because of work, but also because the majority of the stuff we want to do costs too much!!  Once the holiday season is over, maybe we'll try to do some more exotic things, but for now, we're sticking close to home and are going to enjoy the holidays as best as we can given the depressing situation we find ourselves in - without any family!  We were really hoping to make it up to Germany for Christmas to visit with some family that I have there, but it looks as though we probably won't be able to do that now.  We'll see what's in store for us, and as always, I'll keep you all up-to-date and informed.

Until next time...