Photos courtesy of @Timmy666
Photos courtesy of @Timmy666
Verona looking it’s most gorgeous, despite the Christmas lights in Italy being so much more classier than elsewhere.
Photos courtesy of @Timmy666
More than the other two mornings, I’m more confident that I am going to feel much better today. For one, I can breathe more easily, still violently coughing but being able to breathe at will is an unbelievable relief. I get to ‘central station’ with relative ease and what I thought was (and heard was) a terrible run down area is commercial district and the station itself is a beautiful old building. How lovely! Unfortunately I have luggage in tow so unable to investigate further.
I’m still on the same Sunday Times magazine that I started four days ago, partly because I’ve not been able to focus on reading (or writing this) but also, I have come to realise they make much more interesting reading when I bring them on holiday with me. I read more of the articles and thoroughly enjoy them. Perhaps I should keep them all, even the ones’ I have scanned through, just for my trips.
I’ve devoured every word of articles about CCTV replacing actual parking wardens, the Chateau Marmont in LA, now the subject of movie (where said Belushi died), Somewhere, the new MBA business school in Moscow, home to more billionaires than any other city in the world and that’s before crying my eyes out in a Verona Café just reading the opening sentence about children who are victims of war and what help they are now receiving. Oh and there’s a day in the life of some bloke called Louis Walsh.
I look up and the view from the train is of multi coloured houses with a backdrop of snowy topped mountains. What do the house owners do, consult each other? ‘Ooh I was going to paint mine yellow too. No worries, I’ll use that peach colour and then it will compliment the mint green next door and pale blue behind’.
Said houses have washing on the balconies in DECEMBER. Maybe it’s just to air it but I’d have though 2 minutes would have done that.
Monday; I walk to Juliet’s balcony without even wanting to as I was saving that for when I feel better tomorrow. I realise how close everything is and that are a series of bridges linking the city to the old town surrounding. It’s very easy to walk from one end to the other without even realising.
Tuesday; pleased to be out and about, asthma very much evident but under control. Juliet’s balcony is busy but not over run and it’s such a place of optimism that I can but smile. Disappointed though that the Fiorucci shop around the corner that really put a smile on my face ten years ago is no longer there. I had looked it up and I fear the designer’s resurgence was short lived. That makes the shopping bag I have framed in my bedroom from the last visit a collector’s item now?
I celebrate with first risotto in Italy, spinach and gorgonzola which the chef made in front of my eyes in Brek, a restaurant chain I first came across in Milan that offers loads of different types of foods, perfect for me.
Wednesday; a gorgeous sunny day in Verona, very bright indeed. I come across Bar Anastasia, 90 cents for a little coffee with KC & Sunshine Band’s ‘Please Don’t Go’ in background. A perfect moment.
I manage to find Cafe Veno, every day and love it more. Each day, my appetite and confidence with the menu grows as does my rapport with staff.
I take detour on way back and find purple boots on sale! I always look for boots in different colours other than black or brown everywhere I travel but they are so hard to find.
Thursday my last full day in Italy and for less than £7 return, I pick up a bus to Lake Garda, about an hour away with lovely sightseeing along country lanes on route. I miss my stop so end up in Garda itself which is a good job as I find a coat after two years of searching!
Well two years of saying I’m going to buy a new long coat to replace my worn out cream one and four days of actually going in out of shops looking for it. I wanted camel when I decided to replace in 2008 but that’s this years in colour and I prefer a classic that I can wear for years so I changed to seeking a grey one. Its darker grey than I wanted but otherwise fits the bill and I’ll get a camel one next year, or the year after.
By now I go for my custom night cap of a hot chocolate in Brek, where despite the language barrier, the staff and I now manage to communicate like old friends.
I highly recommend Hotel Siena in Verona as it’s the best service I have ever had from a little hotel. They even open up their kitchen to boil me up a cup of hot water to ease my throat on my first night and then ask me how it is next day. The local knowledge and attention to detail is astonishing and it really is a family run place where they simply cannot do enough for you.
It’s around the corner from all the attractions and 10 minutes from the central station where you can pick up a bus to Garda or a train to Venice both an hour away. I didn’t make it to Venice although have been before as it’s my second favourite place next to Verona. Maybe I’ll go there next time for a long weekend, perhaps when a certain British Royal wedding is happening.
The last 3 days were a joy to be under the blue skies of sunny Verona. Still only 2c, I now understand why they have so many sunglasses stores.
As I wait for trains, planes and automobiles all day on my way back, I read the whole of Rosa Guy, the Friends. This is the author that shaped my childhood, got me interested in writing, in reading and in New York. I’ve had it on my birthday list for a while and this year it was actually available. I don’t recall it from reading it some 30 years ago but very much enjoyed it today, finishing the last couple of chapters on the plain.
That’s the way to end a year, reading a whole in book in one day. It’s a first.
All I knew about this film was that it was set in Verona, hence the Romeo and Juliet connection.
I’ve been to Verona once and of all the Italian cities I have visited, this is the one I long to go back to and only partly because of the whimsical idea that the fictional Juliet stood on that balcony. What I liked is Italian designer stores littered the street that spawns the alleyway to the balcony. And that I discovered the comeback store of the 1970s label, Fiorucci (As depicted in ‘He’s the Greatest Dancer by Chic. Obviously).
The film is set there as an engaged New York couple, Chef Victor and Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), New Yorker fact checker/wannabe writer visit for a pre-wedding honeymoon, this being the only time they have before the chef’s restaurant opening. So there are enough of my favourite things here to make me enjoy the film. (That’s food, Italy, writing, New York – in case you’re new here).
Victor spends all his time happily sourcing food suppliers for the upcoming eaterie which leaves our modern day Juliet free to go on a little adventure.
At the aforementioned balcony, Sophie finds hoards of international ladies writing letters to Juliet and affixing them to the wall. It turns out; these are all answered by the ‘Secretaries of Juliet’ a small group of ladies dedicated to keeping the romance alive. With time on her hands, Sophie joins in and replies to a letter she finds hidden behind a brick written fifty years ago.
The now widowed Grandmother, Claire (Vanessa Redgrave) turns up in Verona inspired by her 50 year late reply; along with her extremely stereotypical obnoxious, arrogant, British grandson (although I think they may have something there). Claire is looking for the young lover she left behind as a teenager and the three of them set about looking for the long lost love, Lorenzos. At this point I wonder why the fact checker didn’t at least just telephone to see if a Lorenzo lived there rather than going on a road trip, although I understand that five decades later, Claire would have wanted to see him face to face.
So it turns out to be a quite a quaint, British story with the added twist of the grandson developing a little thing for our young heroine, who of course writes about the whole escapade.
Entirely for the girls but worth a watch. It’s got to be better than that Sex and the City 2.
7½/10 Smile factor 8/10