19 April 2016
19.04.2016 - 19.04.2016 22 °C
Venice – Day 3 – Tuesday 19th April
This morning, my last in Venice, I was viciously woken by the sound of a loud fire alarm! No wait, that’s just SOME IDIOT’S ALARM CLOCK!!! IN A HOSTEL!!! IN A SHARED DORM!!! MUTHA….oh look, it’s a canal full of gondolas (gondoli?). Sigh….
After that brutal awakening, and no more sleep to be had, I was up, packed, and out for the final little adventure in Venice – St Mark’s bell tower in the piazza, overlooking St Mark’s basilica, Doge’s Palace, Venice library, and the expansive network of canal and jigsaw of buildings with terracotta roofs. It is such an incredible view, the photos barely doing it justice. A beautiful final mental image of my time in Venice.
And then I was off…up the Grand Canal for the final time on the No. 1 vaporetto headed for Fair Verona, where we lay our scene…
Cappuccinos – 1
Breakfast pizzas – 0
Idiots who enjoy waking up to the dulcet tone of a fire alarm – 1
Expletives uttered pre-8am – 4
Heart-stopping aerial views of Venice…priceless!
Verona – Day 3 – Tuesday 19th April
Once again I am blown away with the ease of travel and transportation. My luggage, which I anticipated giving me extreme grief, has been delightful except for the several flights of stairs I’ve tackled sometimes single-handledly, sometimes with assistance (whilst watching random strangers pick up my suitcase and walk purposefully in the other direction with not so much as a ‘may I’, although the help has been appreciated!). Venice train station was simply easy – ticket purchased from the Trenitalia machines was a breeze, although I did purchase a first class ticket, only to discover, or not as the case may be, that I couldn’t find the first class carriage! Oh well, a very comfortable second class passage and I’ve learnt my lesson about being a snob. There was time for a standing macchiato and a tiny prosciutto, sun-dried tomato, and mozzarella bun, and the most mouth-watering pastry called a sfogliatelle with layer upon layer of crispy filo surrounding a gooey centre of ricotta cream. Gah….new favourite dessert (don’t listen tiramisu, you’ll always have my heart).
The train took me through the expansive green country-side from Venice to Verona, in a mere 1.5 hours with only a few stops along the way. To my right, a snow capped mountain, and all around little houses with cottage gardens or small vineyards. I can see the appeal already of escaping to the Italian countryside to have a crack at becoming a famous writer slash wine maker slash eater of home-grown food.
Verona was similarly easy to navigate on arrival, with a short bus trip to the centre of town a moment’s walk to my accommodation, which is a lovely comfortable single room for a night of pure relaxation and undisturbed sleep (with nary a fire-alarm to be heard!). With the afternoon ahead of me I embarked on what would be my most awkward moments so far of the trip, highlighting my need for rest and relaxation!
Fair Verona is a quaint little town, and from where I’m staying only a 5 minute walk to some of the main sights such as the colosseum and Piazza Bra (great name!). I was ready for a late lunch and a stroll to see a few of the nearby sights, given I’m only staying for one night. To facilitate, given there wasn’t much time for group tours, I downloaded a free walking tours audio app to self-navigate, which works amazingly well (izi.Travel for those interested!).
I headed out and 5 minutes later was in Piazza Bra, a beautiful central park and cobbled streets flanked by cafes, the Roman colosseum, and a few other fancy looking buildings I’m sure I’ll find out about. But I was cold, so went back to the hotel to gear-up.
Ten minutes later, I was back, perusing the cafes for something simple and cheap, and spaghetti carbonara won out at the café nearest the colosseum. No sooner had it come out, I sprinkled some parmesan cheese over the top, prepping it for its photographic debut, and the whole effing tin of parmesan tipped out on the plate! The waiter patiently took it aware, tidied it up again, and presented it to my rouge-coloured self once again. I must admit, I’m not having a heap of luck with the ol’ pasta situation, and this carbonara was decidedly average. Props to ‘Pasta Addiction’ in Fremantle who win the carbonara stakes hands down! Having finished some, but not all, I was over it and ready to go exploring…only to find I hadn’t brought my fricking wallet. Humiliating moment number two ensued, trying to explain in English (with a weird Italian flare, as if that would help…but I was under pressure!) to the waiter, who spoke no English, that I would be back in 10 to which he replied...something something taxi. Yep, clearly not on the same page, but he seemed forgiving enough so I sidled out, probably not a good look for someone who was essentially skipping out on the bill, but I promise I’ll be back! And I was…15 minutes later with money, and he seemed extremely surprised and grateful to see me.
Onto the colosseum, with a €10 entry fee, for the first sight of Verona. The colosseum, which is apparently one of the most well-preserved, and used today on a near-daily basis as the venue for a variety of opera performances was spectacular from the outside and…underwhelming from the inside. The interior corridors were blocked off for the majority of the arena, and whilst structurally impressive, did not have much in the way of explanation about what you were seeing and what went on in certain areas. Walking into the arena itself, again incredibly impressive in grandeur, felt similar (except for the rock amphitheatre seating) to a modern area, given the ground level and part of the steps were kitted out for the opera performances). The view from the top, however, was beautiful, with just a glimpse of the variety of aspects Verona holds. They would have to wait for another day.
Nap time and a quiet dinner (fully paid for!) await to recharge the batteries.
Pasta consumed – 1
Pasta paid for – 0…then 1
Humiliating cheese incidents – 1
Colossal colosseum stairs climbed – 100+
Very forgiving waiters….priceless!