Sunday, May 22, 2011

Verona and Lake Garda

Sunday, May 22, 2011

We are all finally back in Florence relaxing in our apartment after a wonderful trip away to Verona and Lake Garda.  We left at 9 AM Saturday morning on a charter bus to Verona.  It was exciting to see all of the people we haven’t seen since we arrive to Florence, after our Roman excursion.

We arrived in Verona Saturday afternoon around 1:30 PM at the Albergo Hotel, where I shared a room with Liz, Erica, and Becca.  We met up with the other girls to explore the city and grab lunch before meeting back at the hotel for a bus and walking tour.  As we walked towards the center of the city, we came across a Market Le Piazze dei Sapori where we found cheeses, meats, olive oil, olives, fruits, nuts, bakery, cannoli’s, lotions made with olive oil, sangria (I could go on and on).  At the olive stand I was able to sample and at that point I realized I have not tried or bought any olives yet here in Italy!! It is definitely on my grocery list for when I got to San Lorenzo this week!


As we walked through we came across a restaurant located in a quieter section of Verona called Ristorante S. Eufemia.  There we order a couple bottles of wine, good food, and prepared our letter to Juliet to drop off during our walking tour-- or so that’s what we thought we needed to do (read on later about Juliets house).

Four o’clock came quickly and ISA was divided into 2 groups for the bus and walking tour.  The tour started with the bus, which took us to the highest point of Verona, Santuario Nostra Signora di Lourdes.  From there, we were able to see and incredible view of the city.

The bus then took everyone to the “old stone bridge” to begin the walking tour.  The walking tour discussed the history of the city and monuments.  The most interesting part of the tour for most of us, especially the girls, was seeing Romeo and Juliet’s house.  Our tour guide informed us that the story of Romeo and Juliet was written in Italy and it was Shakespeare that took the story to make it to be more dramatic.  That is why the English version is more popular than the Italian version. 

As we approached Juliet’s house the entrance way was covered in what is called graffiti.  The graffiti was letters, notes, and questions from visitors to Juliet.  There is also a statue of Juliet, which visitors are to touch the breast of the statue to have good luck at love.  At first I thought that it was a disgusting tradition, but soon after I decided 3 seconds of feeling awkward was worth the luck.  And of course the whole letter situation… Apparently in Verona you are to send letters to Juliet’s house by mail and someone will write you back.  I was very disappointed.  At this point everyone and I who wrote a letter had no clue what to do with it.  Most threw it out in a trash-can in Juliet’s courtyard, but I found a hole in the graffiti wall that I managed to shove my letter into.  I have no idea where it is going to go, but I felt better doing that then throwing my letter in the trash!

After a lovely and peaceful tour of Verona our dinner completely turned our day around.  Our dinner was full of laughs and fun until it was time to pay.  It was my most expensive dinner yet, and it was NOT very good.  I feel like I’ve vented to about everyone I’ve talking to so far (by that I mean my parents, boyfriend, and other ISA girls). BUT here’s the story:

On the menu there was a picture of a juicy looking steak with grilled vegetables and potatoes.  When the waitress was taking our order I told her I wanted the item in the picture.  She pointed to the name and price (14 Euro) on the menu.  I asked her what came with the steak and she said “grilled vegetables OR potatoes.”  I ordered the grilled vegetables! (surprise, surprise).  Four of the other girls had decided to order the same thing.  We all ordered a cocktail, which we knew would be expensive, and water.  The water was 2 euro for a small, individual bottle, when usually a large bottle for the entire table to share is 1 euro.  We finished up and were told to pay inside.  We asked to pay individually, which is looked down upon in Italy, but the restaurant allowed it.  My total was 27.50.  The veggies were NOT included, my steak was prepared well done (GROSS!) and each and everyone of us were charge a service fee of 1.50.  Needless to say, the nine of us got ripped off.  With only little money left to spend for the night we decided to cheer ourselves back up with some gelato before heading back to the hotel.

The next morning we headed out to Lake Garda, the largest lake in Italy.  When we arrived we boarded a motor boat which took us around the lake.  The view was incredible.  The sun shined down on the water, which was so clean with an aqua color, unlike a certain lake up in Cleveland.  The Alps showed in the far distance and sail boats were coasting by us.  The sound of the water splashing against the boat helped everyone feel at ease and relaxed.

After the 30 minute boat tour we had 4 and a half hours to ourselves.  We ran straight to the public beach that our tour guide pointed out.  We quickly changed into our bathing suits, lathered up in sunscreen—or at least I did, and headed onto a dock where many were bathing in the sun.  The beaches are made up of rocks.  Not the most comfortable to lay out on!

After 2 hours of laying out in the sun it was time to grab some lunch.  Liz, Becca, and I headed up to where we had seen many shops and restaurants on our way to public beach.  “Ristourante-Pizzeria Valentino” caught my eye!!  Being my best friends last name and all, I just HAD to eat there.   And that is exactly where we sat down to eat.  Our ISA director had told us on the bus to eat some seafood while we were near Lake Garda, so I decided to order Mare Pizza.  It had tomatoes, mozzarella, mussels, calamari, and shrimp.   It was DELICIOUS!

With a full and satisfied stomach Liz and I decided to grab a cup of fresh fruit from a street vendor and sit by the water before it was time to head back to Florence. 

It is now time to review class material and find out what is on the menu for tomorrows cooking lab!


Molly Jean

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