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In Fair Verona

Verona, Italy

The train arrived into Verona a couple of hours after dawn into a misty and damp climate. Whilst I was still in the station it started to rain heavily, and so I settled into a cafe and waited - thankfully this station was mildly better equiped than the last.

I eventually resolved to make my way across town, sure that the rain was here to stay. I had, a few days ago, realised that the hotel (miraculously cheap for a double ensuite with balcony), was quite a way out of town. I also knew that the bus stop was called 'Industrie Veronisi', which hardly brought to mind pictures of quaint Italian streets and churches. I got on what I knew was the right bus, and looked out for my stop; however, we seemed to be getting further and further from the centre and eventually hit a dual carriageway - I was sure this could not be right. Getting off in a small village where the locals gave me some strange looks, I intended to board the return bus which was due in several minutes. Before this came, however, a coach pulled up and admitted me. Inside were several women, mostly octogenarian or above; nobody asked me to buy a ticket or indeed took any notice of me at all as I walked to the back of the coach. As I got off a while later, again in the centre of Verona, I couldn't help but think: had I just blagged a ride on a day trip for the elderly?

I gave in and took a taxi to the hotel, which confirmed my fears: it really was that far out. Nestled between factories and warehouses, it was nevertheless comfortable and hospitable. Dumping my stuff, I returned on the next bus, a trip of some 20 minutes or so. I didn't intend to stay long as the rain was now coming in heavy bursts, but my plans were thwarted as I totally lost my orientation and ended up walking the length of the town three or four times. Now wet through, I found a taxi again and asked to go to the hotel; however, the traffic was now so heavy that I knew I wouldn't have enough money. I asked him to take me to the station. There I waited for an hour for a supposedly half-hourly bus, boarded it, and again eventually had the feeling of having gone way too far. I got off, and took the next bus back, but then thought I had gone too far back. Now cold, wet, and walking around in complete darkness at the side of a perilously close dual carriageway, I asked for directions. 'Go straight on' said a man in a supermarket. I did, and found myself on a bridge beyond which I dared not go as it would involve walking across four or five lanes of heavy traffic. I returned, and luckily retained the presence of mind to look up a taxi on the internet on my phone. I got back to the hotel at 9pm, having left central Verona at 5, and having spent at least 50 euros on transport for the day.

This may not instill much confidence that I know what I am doing or will be safe for the next two months. However, rest assured that the remainder of my stay in Verona passed without incident. My second day was fantastically hot, and I spent the day reading in cafes and parks, and walking through the ancient streets which I had now located. Verona truly is a beautiful city, full of the Italian charm of Florence and Venice, but without the self-consciousness of too much tourism. The main square and the amphitheatre are both impressive, as are sections of the wall and many little churches dotted across town. I was sad to leave, but the weather on the third day was miserable again and so I headed south.

permalink written by  BenWH on April 2, 2009 from Verona, Italy
from the travel blog: Gap Year Odyssey
tagged Italy

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