Friday, June 24, 2011

Verona: Tragic Love & Such

June 23

After a nice long sleep, we awaken with cups of tea and breakfast. Our landlady, Federica, shows up to collect our cash and give us a little introduction to Verona. She sees me and says she expected a 60 year old woman. Does that mean my super organized emails make her think of a travel veteran as in old, or just anally organized, aka old and set in her ways?

We head out into the city, weaving amongst ruins and shoppers. The main street we take is throbbing with people, but it's not until we're on top of an unmoving crowd that we realize we've arrived at Juliet's house. The walls are covered with graffiti. There's even a wall of gum stuck to it, serving as more romantic graffiti. People buy locks and write their names, then attach them to the gates, as to signify the permanence of their relationship, or their hope in its longevity.

We join the crowds that one by one walk up to Juliet and take a photo with her, holding her right breast for good luck. Some old men are very shy to touch her, others take a good solid hold. There is a plaque that says a copy of the statue is in Chicago, and suddenly I know exactly where it is. During my first photography class, I took a photo of her in Grant Park. Little did I know a decade later I would be here.

We meander into the Piazza Erbe and find a restaurant where we enjoy some wine (which we will regret later due to the heat) and I have my spaghetti with marinara sauce (which I've had twice now already). We then buy some fresh delicious fruit from the street vendor and begin to make our way to the Giardino Giusti, in desperate search for a spot of grass and a good nap.

When we arrive at the Giardino Giusti, they are formal gardens full of structured hedges and old statues and fountains, even a labyrinth. No spot of grass to be had. A few stone benches, but that appears to be it. We climb and push the stroller to the tippy+top, and there, finally, is a bench, a large spot of grass, and a gorgeous view of Verona. We remove sandals, let our feet and legs sink into the cool grass. Juni plays as we read, write, close our eyes to the end of the day sun.

After two hours, we meander back home, stopping at the local grocery store for the essentials: bread, olives, cheese (well not essential for me, lol), prosecco, and some wine rings. We snack, nap a little, then head out for dinner. We return to a restaurant we saw in the afternoon, a popular spot in the Piazza dei Signori, or Dante's square. Wine and spaghetti with tomato sauce (still delicious), followed by the evening walk with thousands of other people. Gelato for Claire, then home in the quiet 11pm hour.

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