The day will come when I will die. So the only matter of consequence before me is what I will do with my allotted time. I can remain on shore, paralyzed with fear, or I can raise my sails and dip and soar in the breeze.--Richard Bode

Monday, July 8, 2013

Greetings from Verona, Italy

I had bragged about the place where I was camping up in Italy's Appenines. Because it was Saturday night, there was a party going on. The kids were dancing (mostly it was the girls -- the boys were running around being boys), and the older folk were playing cards. No one seemed to be interested in drinking.

There was a loud DJ spinning the music, and his voice over the speakers blasted out across the entire campground. I don't know how long he carried on, but he was still going strong when I fell asleep at midnight in my little tent.

The next morning, I packed up amid a lot of activity -- there was a mini-marathon going on. I rode my motorcycle through the runners, dodging from one side to the other. Everyone, including the police seemed to be fine with me doing this.

The Appenines end in Northern Italy, and a broad flat plain begins. Here is a map I put together to show you how this works.
The dotted green line shows my route, more or less. I could see the Adriatic Sea off to my right for a long time. And I kept passing these fields covered with sunflowers. Beautiful!!
Mostly, I rode a four lane toll road. It was a beautiful road, and I made good time, but I finally just had to get off it and explore a little. There wasn't much to see though: big green fields of waist high corn, big yellow fields of hay laid out in wind rows, smaller green fields of leafy crops which I couldn't identify at 70 miles an hour. Some of those fields had soybeans in them, but most looked like leaf lettuce. I couldn't tell.

But pretty soon, I was in Verona where I promptly got lost in the narrow streets of the old town central district. I was really turned around in there. I have been to Verona before, about 5 years ago, but this time I wanted to spend more time and get to know the city. To do that, I needed to be close to the heart of things. The nearest campground is 13 miles away according to my GPS That will never do!!
I finally came to a larger street near the central district, and I spotted this hotel.

From my limited language skills, I know that Trieste means "sad". That is a goofy name for a hotel. But maybe it is named after the Italian city of Trieste. At any rate, they gave me a pretty good price of $98 Euros a night. That would be a little steep if I were going to do it night after night for a month or more, but  I am glad to pay that price for a couple of nights now and be downtown. It also included a first rate breakfast. How can you go wrong with that kind of a deal.

Verona is famous for its operas which they hold in this Roman coliseum which, if you want to know, is the largest and best preserved coliseum on Earth.

I am not much a fan of opera, but they were putting on Aida tonight. That is one of the most famous operas ever. Guess I gotta go see it. And look -- there were some props outside (I guess I thought they would use those props in the opera -- they didn't, but the opera did not suffer from that at all).

That coliseum was really impressive inside. The Romans knew how to do things right.

The opera didn't start until 9:30 (You gotta have dark in the theater to do a performance.)

Now, what I know about opera you could stick in your ear and still have room left over for a corn cob. Still, I know that this version of Aida was a little different from traditional. It was good though, even to my untrained ear.

By second act I was really ready for the thing to get over. Still, it was fun to see how they did things (like make a river on stage, and have alligators paddling around it it, and do a lot of other cool things).

The show did not get over until after 1:00 a.m. I was tired of it by that point, even though I could recognize that they had done a good job.

When I was a kid I could have slept until mid afternoon if my mother had let me. Now, I always seem to pop awake at 5:30 in the morning, never to go back to sleep again. So I didn't get a lot of sleep last night.

As I said earlier, I wanted to get to know this city better (I just rushed through it the last time I was here). So--- Time to take a (yawn) tour.

As you know if you have been reading this blog, museums and churches and cities kind of lost their appeal for me years ago. I am much more interested in seeing how the land is laid out: forests and mountains and so forth.  Still, Verona has a lot to offer --- Romeo and Juliet for one thing.

And here is her home. And up there is her famous balcony.

And in the garden is her statue. Now, tradition has it that you must rub her breast for good luck. Everyone was doing it: mothers with babes in arm, kids, grey-haired grandmas, dads with smiling families watching. Guess I better do it too.
I sure did a lot of walking today, some on tour and some on my own. I went way up to see the city from a hill

And I climbed a bell tower to get a bird's eye view.

I even went into some churches YOL (yawn out loud).

I kind of liked this guy -- he's holding up a baptismal font.

I get a much bigger kick out of things like this, though. Can you figure out how this street performer is holding up his lady friend? I went past them several times today and they never seemed to get tired or to move. What a way to make a living, huh?
So, I am very ready to head north into the Italian portion of the Alps (called the Dolomites). I bet Odysseus is ready too. He is parked two stories underground where people can't fool around with him during the night. It was really tricky getting him down there on short, steep 45 degree ramps and with sharp 90 degree turns at the bottom and top. I am not looking forward to riding him back up that roller coaster. I guess he would have been safe on the street during the night, but look --- there is not a motorcycle among the group out there. They are all scooters.  He would have stuck out like a thoroughbred in a herd of donkeys.

It is 8:30 p.m. and time for the restaurants to get busy. I do enjoy sitting at the outdoor tables and watching the world pass by.

I guess I will post next from somewhere in the Alps.


1 comment:

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