January 5, 2010

Fair Verona

Two households, both alike in dignity, In fair Verona, where we lay our scene

First line of Romeo and Juliet ~ Shakespeare

Our new year began with a train ride, heading south through the Alps to Italy. Ayelet and I must have looked like travelers of the past as we played games of cribbage and read while most other passengers our age were plugged into laptops or iPhones. Even the older Italians on the train were constantly on their phones. At first I thought they were hard of hearing for how loud they talked, but upon arriving in Italy, it became obvious that the Italians are just socially loud (compared to Munich).

Left to right: Ayelet on the old bridge; tower of San Zeno church; and front of synagogue

Our first mission was to find espresso for Greg and gelato for Ayelet. Since the day was January 1st, we ended up walking all the way to the center of the old city, Piazza (plaza) Bra before getting our fix in a cafe facing Verona's Arena (their mini-Coliseum).

The next day we were up early with plans to explore they city. The sky was cloudy with a warm humid air. We walked along the old city walls and were greeted by the local lawn care crew ~ a bunch of sheep! Our first stop of the day was San Zeno – a large church full of frescos and statues. We ended up right back at this same piazza 10 hours later for dinner.

Greg supervising the lawn crew

One wrong turn on the map and we were back in the old city to Ayelet’s eagerness. She was on the hunt for a new pair of boots (which we didn't succeed in finding). We had passed many closed stores the night before that just needed to be checked out. Our walk continued to a Roman theater that was being reclaimed by nature.

Roman Theater

Nearby was the Gusti Garden with its brilliantly trimmed hedges, sculptures and a labyrinth (Ayelet beat me to the center, but only after a head start [editor: sore loser is what I call it]). The sky turned dark as we climbed up a tower to the highest promenade with an amazing view of the city. As the hail and rain started, we sought shelter in the tower and remained dry. As the rain let up, we returned to the hotel to rest before dinner.

Ayelet celebrating her victory

On Sunday, our first stop was Porta Nuova (the old new gate of the city) and then off to the modern art museum for an exhibit on Corot and his transitionary role to impressionist landscape art (Greg's written another post on this...coming soon). A hike along the river ultimately got us back to the train station and six hours later, we were back home. Scoots made sure to remind us at 3 a.m. that he missed us with profuse head butting.

~ Post by Greg

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