Saturday, April 30, 2016

A Unexpected Intro to Italy

For those of you who are of Italian descent, you are now home!'

That was our tour guide Steve over the microphone in the bus on our way from Switzerland into Italy. For those on the bus who'd never been to Italy before, they were about to find out what he meant by that.  I, on the other hand, completely understood.  I'd been to Italy twice before, and I can say from firsthand experience that if you are of Italian descent, you do feel like you belong there.  This was the part of the trip I was looking forward to the least, because I'd been there before, but now that we had crossed the border into my home country, I was officially excited!

The bus ride from Alnachstadt to Venice, where we were headed next, was a long one.  This was the one day on the original itinerary that had nothing on it except bus to Venice.  As seems to happen on these yearly trips, Steve and Ivan improvise along the way when they feel they have an opportunity, and after some discussion between them, they decided that we needed to break up the long trip by making a stop in Verona, the setting of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, which was on the way to Venice.  Great idea!

Now this was cool, an unplanned stop to a place I'd never been before.  From what I've heard and experienced of Italy, I know there are literally hundreds of places to explore, both famous and not so famous, and they're all, well wonderfully adventurous.  Verona was no different.  

Immediately upon entering the small city, we came across this fortress wall, I am sure very historic, and soon after disembarking off the bus we came upon a Roman coliseum, which was at the time under construction.  You could tell from billboards outside the venue that it is still used today for outdoor concerts.  How cool would that be to experience?

The kids were given some free time to explore and we seven hungry adults went out in search of food.  Before we even hit a restaurant, I knew I was going to have some pizza.  I love Italian pizza.  It's so different from the usual slices you get here in the states, ultra thin and ultra delicioso!  

The next couple of hours were an unexpected, pleasant adventure spent meandering through cobblestone streets, doing a little shopping, and of course some gelato thrown in for good measure! Of course, no day trip to Verona would be complete without a visit to the world-famous La Casa di Giulietta, Juliet's house.  Really, it wasn't all that much, but the little courtyard in front of the famous balcony was teeming with tourists ogling the terrace and snapping away with their cameras.  

All in all, Verona was a great and pleasantly surprising way to start off the Italian leg of our trip. Though our next three destinations were all places I'd been to before, there were still some nice surprises and new adventures in store.  Stay tuned...

In the meantime, check out my other tales from our 2015 trip to Europe...


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