Back up off the edges of your seats kids - they're here. As per usual, I'll put a few highlights on here and the link for the rest of the photos will be at the end...
I arrived Thursday morning and Jason didn't get there until Thursday night and had to work Friday (as was the whole reason for the trip in the first place...) but I amused myself by strolling through the tiny streets, sipping cafe americano in the AM and white wine in the PM, and oh yeah - getting harrassed at Louis Vuitton. (Long story short - the guy that worked there was a miserable French dipshit and was rude to everyone in the store. He told me to "Please step away from zee wall display Madame!" and yelled - yes yelled - across the store at another girl to "Put zat bag down theeees eeenstant Madame! Eeeef you would like to zee zomesing, let me know and I weeel show it to you!" She and I both rolled our eyes at each other and left immediately. I then consoled myself with the purchase of a pair of Armani sunglasses two doors down.)
Apparently this gentleman has no such rules about "coffee in the AM and wine in the PM". It was 10:30 in the morning and I was enjoying my latte and brioche and he was drinking wine! At 10:30 in the morning I tell you! Has he no standards? At least have the decency to go with hard liqour (in the form of a Bloody Mary) or champagne (Bellini or Mimosa). Everyone knows this is the acceptable range of alcoholic bevvies before lunchtime. Which actually reminds me that I was also blown away by the amount of business men drinking beers at 7:00 am in the British Airways Executive Lounge. Just because it's free doesn't mean you should be consuming it.
Friday night - all done with work and time to play!
Saturday - we strolled around the city and decided to cross the Ponte Pietra (the bridge you see behind us) to see the view from the top of the hill on the other side of the river.
And there it is - the whole of Verona. It's a pretty small place. Very quaint...
Back on the other side of the river, we decided to check out the Arena. It's the third largest amphitheatre in the world, behind the Colosseum in Rome and one other I've never heard of in Naples. They actually still have operas, musicals, and rock concerts here!
This is on Ponte Scaligero. It was part of the medieval defense system of Castlevecchio, which is attached to it.
So, something everyone should know about Verona is that they milk the whole "Romeo and Juliet" thing to death for tourism purposes. It's a bit annoying because it's an adoreable and romantic city on its own without all that rubbish. But I digress... So anyway, in fact, there were Capulet and Montague familes in Verona historically speaking. And indeed, there is evidence the familes didn't get along and had a long-standing feud. However, there is no concrete evidence that a Romeo or a Juliet ever actually existed or if they did, that they were "star-crossed lovers". It's legend. Meaning: The story may very well be true or it may be completely fabricated. No one knows. But silly facts like this don't stand in Verona's way. Case in point: This is the supposed "Casa di Giulietta" and this is the supposed balcony which Romeo supposedly climbed to reach her. However, it plainly says in our guidebook (DK Eyewitness Travel Guides) that, in fact, the building is a restored 13th century inn. Fun facts for the day, courtesy of me. These fun facts have been brought to you by the letter V and the number 2.
For dinner, we decided to head back up the hill on the other side of the river for a lovely table on the terrace and a sunset view of the city.
Sunday was church day. There are two main churches that are worth a look-see in Verona. The first stop was the San Fermo Maggiore.
Second, the San Zeno Maggiore. Neither allow photos inside...
Later, a bit of refreshment. These orange wine spritzers were all the rage in Verona. Everyone was drinking them. I mean everyone. Big burly dudes, little old ladies, and everyone in between. Jason had to see what all the hype was about. I personally thought they were nasty. (He's making that face and sticking his pinky out because I made so much fun of him for drinking that fruity drink.)
Last stop was the Giardino Giusti. It was this huge formal garden in the middle of the city. It was rather nice - kind of like an oasis.
A little turtle in the fountain. He reminds me of Norman (the turtle I had all through college and for a few years after...).
I mean, what kind of hedge maze is this anyway? Isn't the point of them that you shouldn't be able to see over the hedge? He seemed so pleased with himself that I didn't have the heart to tell him that a toddler could probably do it even by accident. It's like some kind of Hedge Maze Special Olympics.
Jason told me to pose like a Roman statue. I don't know why I let him boss me around.
One final thought - If you'll all recall, we flew Sleazy Jet on the cheap to Barcelona and ended up arriving back in London at 3:00am after a tight squeeze on a crappy plane that may or may not have been made of Tonka Truck materials. This trip, it was British Airways business class all the way. Ummm, totally worth every last penny.
Click here to see the whole photo album. Allright, I'm dunzo. I gotta go watch some hockey. Sanger, out.