In fair Verona where we lay our scene...

Trip Start Jul 14, 2007
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Trip End Feb 05, 2008


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Thursday, November 8, 2007

We decided to only spend one day in Milan instead of two. This proved to be a good decision because there wasn't much there. It was really just like any other big city, with some old buildings thrown in. We did spend the afternoon we arrived there walking around town. We started at The Duomo and its square. This was a HUGE cathedral that was just finishing its renovations. Therefore is was very clean and almost scaffolding free. We went inside and walked around its huge open marble floor. This really was a house of God. The ceilings were so high that you felt like an ant. Other than its magnificent size, it was pretty much just like every other cathedral. We walked through the neighboring arcade in search of a place for lunch. This was the wrong place to look because all the restaurants were surrounded by stores like Prada and Gucci, effectively way out of our price rage. We found a smaller place right on the outside of the Duomo square. We enjoyed lunch over looking the massive cathedral. We walked up the main pedestrian road towards the old castle. To our surprise National Geographic put on a photography exhibit, lining this road with 100 of their greatest photographs. We walked up the road slowly, looking at all spectacular pictures. We stopped for our first Gelato and made it to the castle.

The castle was large, made of red brick, and housed various museums. We only walked through the castle and its grounds. From there we walked over to the church were Leonardo Da Vinci painted the Last Supper. We went there in hopes that they might have two last minute tickets available. We had called as soon as we arrived to book tickets, but the place was sold out for the rest of the month! Needless to say the didn't have any tickets to see it, so we walked around the outside of the church and then went back to our hotel.

We left the hustle and bustle of the big city and headed for Verona. This is the town where the famous Romeo and Juliet lived. Apparently the shakespears story is loosely based on fact. The Capulets did live in Verona and feuded with another predominant family there. There was also an actual Juliet. Romeo, I'm not so sure about. Anyways, this town was fantastic. The cheapest place we found online to stay at turned out to be a four star hotel. We ended up paying €50 for the night there which included a fantastic breakfast buffet. We had to take a bus into the historical part of town, but we soon learned that the bus system might as well be free. We didn't find a place to buy a bus ticket, nor did the bus driver ever inquire about a ticket. So we just hopped on and hopped off.

We hopped off on the waters edge, which provided a nice view of the surrounding area. From there we walked into the heart of town. We stopped for a slice of magnificent pizza and managed to stumble upon Juliet's house. This house was the Capulet's house that now houses a museum and Juliet's tomb. We walked through a little tunnel that lead into the houses courtyard. The tunnel was filled with people leaving love notes for Juliet or for themselves. It was pretty bizarre walking through a tunnel of graffiti into an old stone courtyard. The caputles house was very beautiful carved stone with ivy grown up it. There was even the balcony where the famous love scene was supposed to of taken place. A bronze statue of Juliet stood in the courtyard as well and you were suppose to touch her heart for good luck in love. Too bad no one knows that your heart is on the left side of your body. Everyone kept rubbing her right boob and smiling.  We left, only after I left my note for Juliet in the tunnel, and proceeded down the street.

We came across a nice square filled with vendors, selling everything from produce to swords. Braden slipped into his shopping phase and bought gifts and trinkets until he couldn't carry anymore, while I got an orange and sat on some old monument thing in the center of the square. I had no idea what the monument was, but waves of Japanese tourist kept coming and taking pictures of it. I am going to be in a lot of family pictures in Japan. We eventually left the square and headed to the arena. This arena is the third largest in Europe and the most well preserved. For €4 we were able to wander all around the insides of the arena, as well as walking up the stands. We couldn't actually go into the ring because they were setting up a stage. They apparently have outdoor operas in this ancient Roman arena.

Since the sun was setting we decided to leave the arena and enjoy a nice meal. There happened to many restaurants the square that surrounds the arena, so we could gaze upon the ancient wonder while eating delicious Italian food. We caught the bus back to our hotel, since the buses stopped running around 7, only after we had our evening gelato. Since we were staying in such a classy place, we decided to watch one of the movies they have. But as our luck would have it, the movie system was down for the night. So we were stuck watching CNN covering the fires in So Cal, which only made me more and more scarred for all my friends and family who live there.
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