Friday, June 24, 2011

Chicago to Verona: Late But Thankfully No Blizzard

Well, only a seven hour delay followed by a torndao warning and another delay. Arrived 8 hours late in wonderful sunny Rome. An easy train trip to Roma Termini, where seven years ago, Rana, Diane, Kristin and I bought tickets to visit Pompeii. We got free tix to the ruins and wandered the remains and murals (most with large phallis)

Today, I am sweating in the train line, waiting to buy my ticket to Verona. The clock ticking down until departure, running with 10 minutes to spare. Then, a three hour train journey. Soon, we are out of Rome and into countryside, fields of sunflowers, mountains covered in green, and a gorgeous blue sky.

The ease of having my phone turned on, so messages reach me from Claire and Martina and Federica, the woman from whom we rent the apartment. Claire has arrived. Martina and little Juni are on their way. It's a comfort to know that these little pieces fall together. I can relax on the train and daydream and enjoy the fields, not worrying about meeting up.
My heart hurts a little as we pass through Florence. I can't believe that I chose to skip Firenze on this trip. I can picture the places where I've taken my favorite photos: the church at Santa Maria Novella, Santa Croce, the Duomo. The store where I bought expensive Florentine paper.

This trip is all about the Veneto, an area of the country I first saw in 1994 over the New Year. Venice was wet and cold and half shut down. We stayed at the hostel, ate cheaply, wandered the bridges, visited the Guggenheim (phenomenal), and ate mediocre Chinese. This trip I will explore further and wider, venturing out into the countryside and other cities.

First stop: Verona.

'Romeo + Juliet' is packed in my bag, and I am ready for this somewhat haphazard writing retreat with Claire and Martina. Nothing is planned but the opera on Friday night. Espresso and vino and writing and long conversations. Yes! The rest is a pleasant mystery.

I arrive to Claire, Martina and baby Juni waiting for me. We drop by the apartment to relieve me of bags. Then, next door to the Pizzeria where Martina and Claire have coffee and dessert, while I inhale spaghetti with olive oil and garlic. The red wine a tonic after the long journey.

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