Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The City of Love and Crazy Coincidences

Bridge near our B&B
Cari and I stood outside the door ringing and ringing the doorbell.  We had tried calling, but one of the numbers was wrong and the other call wouldn't go through.  We were standing outside of a B&B in Verona after having tried 2 other B&Bs in the area with no luck.  At this point we were reaching desperation; we had dragged our luggage an hour and a half across town and seemed to be no closer to our destination.  Finally... I stopped a passerby and asked to borrow her phone for one last try. "Ring ring...Pronto" Hallelujah! Someone at the first B&B, Citta di Giulietta, picked up!  After explaining our situation the owner agreed to meet us there in 20 minutes...we were saved!  

After this near fiasco, we settled into our lovely B&B; we had the whole apartment to ourselves for a mere 20 euros each a night!  Our first tourist stop was Juliet's house where Cari and I wrote our names on the wall, although there was no wall where you can leave letters to Juliet, which was a bit of a disappointment!  At first we had a bit of bad luck getting into the tourist sites (as many are closed in mid-afternoon) however we finally got a Verona Card which is an amazing deal at 15 euros for 24 hours and it lets you into all the main attractions plus the bus. 

We visited the Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza dei Signori which were beautiful sites with magnificent architecture, Christmas markets with all sorts of brightly colored wares and hanging Christmas lights.  Then we visited the Roman Arena which was impressive and stunning; with the beauty it was hard to imagine all the bloodshed that took place there centuries ago.  We briefly visited the Castelvecchio and then headed to scale the Torre dei Lamberti for a beautiful panoramic view of the city at night, before heading back to Juliet's house to tour the museum.  In honor of our trip to Verona and Juliet's house we ended the night with chocolates and "Letters to Juliet".

A day and a half is a very short time to see an entire city so the next morning we rushed out the door to see the Chiesa di Santa Anastasia and the Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore before catching a train to Milan.  
Cari and I arrived in Milan on Tuesday in the early evening; we were couchsurfing that night so we only toured the attractions briefly before heading to meet our host for the night.  We got a bit lost (aka searching for 30 minutes for the location), but when we arrived we shared a nice hot meal and had a comfy night's sleep.

The next morning we walked into the train station's baggage deposit and who should I see? My friend Demetrio from Pesaro on his way back from India! (Keep in mind Pesaro is about 5 hours from Milan). Not 5 minutes after I said goodbye to Demetrio I received a text from another friend from Pesaro, Elena, "Where are you? I'm going to Milan!"  I couldn't wrap my head around seeing two people from Pesaro in Milan on the one day I would be there!  I took this as a sign that Cari and I would have amazing luck in Milan... unfortunately Milan was not destined to be our city!

The Duomo
Everything we came across was closed! The Duomo terrace, La Scala (the Opera house) etc. However we did manage to visit the Sforza castle where we saw Michelangelo's final pieta before meeting up with Elena!  After seeing Elena our luck improved a bit and we were able to make the long climb to the Duomo's roof (just as we grew too tired to move anymore we reached the top!).  The view from the roof was absolutely breath-taking and the Duomo itself was a masterpiece of high turrets and massive marble columns.  Unfortunately our luck ended there; we had to take a later train to Rome which cost us twice as much!  Continued in Rome...

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