Italy 28 - a train trip to Verona

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May 28th 2012
Published: May 28th 2012
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After a poor nights sleep we headed out of Bella Italia to the reception area to pay for our nights stop. There were three cashiers, one serving a customer, another on the phone and the third not really doing anything. All I wanted was our passports back to pay and head off for our new site across the lake. Paying was a convoluted process, initially I had to get a little ticket and then move across to another cashier to pay. The cost was 17 euro 60 cents for the one night.

Our arrival at Butterfly started the same way our departure at Bella Italia ended. A kiosk with two receptionists both dealing with customers and both on the phone at the same time. We booked in for six nights, planned to set Suzy up and then go on the lake to Sirmione. However booking in took rather longer than we expected and when we arrived at our plot someone was in it. They had to move their seats, table, bicycles, car, dog and vase of tulips and took their time doing it as we sat blocking the road. The campsite was full of German and Dutch but very few Brits. We exchanged a few hellos but got no further than that.

Butterfly is much smaller than its cousin Bella but has a small shop with limited stock and some pretty awful bread, a pizzeria, a swimming pool which I couldn’t use again due to not having a bathing cap, a beach volleyball pitch and reasonable washing facilities. We walked after setting up into town and did our passagiata with not quite as much aplomb as the Italians manage. When we got to the lake we found that there were few boats plying their trade. The big boat to take you across the lake was moored and when we checked the timetable there was a boat across to Sirmione but none coming back. We were not sure if the boats had gone out of business due to the recession in Europe or perhaps it was low season. Having consulted the Rough guide it did suggest we should be able to catch a boat anytime but the information seemed out of date. Instead of an afternoon on the lake we had to sit and eat gelatos. Amaretto and banana for a change. Not a bad life though even if things were not quite going as expected. Still there is always a Plan B.

We walked up to the ferrovia the station and booked tickets for tomorrow for Verona. The lady on the desk sold us our tickets cost 11 euros for two second class tickets. She even told us which platform binario the train left from and wrote the times of the trains from Peschiera to Verona and the times of the trains coming back from Porta Neova. You couldn’t get more helpful than that.

On our way home we could smell the scent of the roses rambling all over the gardens and we watched the swans again on the lake. Lunch turned out to be a salad outside the motorhome.

We tried Kathrein again but there were trees in the way of the satellites or else we were out of the Astra 2 footprint. This was a touch disappointing as we had read that you could just about still get a signal on Lake Garda but we were thwarted.

At night we walked along the shoreline to il Fiorellino a restaurant with views across the lake through its open windows. The place was empty apart from one couple and we had the choice of all the tables available. Gradually over the course of the evening it filled up. The menu was quite extensive and included horsemeat and tripe – both of which we avoided. The waiter was a touch surly to begin with. I started with gnocci in nonas sauce which was absolutely out of this world 10/10 and Glenn ordered Pizza Margarita dressed in olive oil. By this time the waiter had warmed to us and told us he had lived in London for a while and the English could not make coffee. When we told him we were Welsh in broken Italian he explained he enjoyed History and knew a little of Welsh history. We ate Tiramisu for dessert and finished with expresso coffee – black and strong – a perfect end to a perfect meal. With mineral water and a bottle of wine the bill came to 36 euros for the two of us and we felt that reasonable. However a nasty taste was left in our mouths when we offered 50 euros and only got 10 back in change. We had intended tipping but felt ripped off that they took 4 euros without even asking. Unlike Arnie – we wont be back!!!

The weather was still holding out – blue skies and bright sunshine. Noses red and back sunburnt. Verona tomorrow and then either a trip on the lake or a visit to Padua on the train. All would depend on what sort of nights sleep we get here on Butterfly and how we fare travelling on the train to Verona.

In fact we had a lousy nights sleep. The neighbours kept us awake talking and after midnight the campsite erupted in laughter, noise and mayhem. It sounded like the party from hell but was probably either the local Italians enjoying themselves or the camp revellers from the next campsite having fun . It was hard to tell but it certainly kept us awake again. We began to realise that campsites are rather hit and miss affairs sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

After a poor nights sleep we woke early, in time to shower and have a quick bite of breakfast before walking down the town to the station to catch our train. The whole process was easy. There are only two platforms in Peschiera and the

Getting ready
tannoy messages surprisingly are in English as well as Italian. The train was a little late but was empty. A few passengers got on with us but there was plenty of seating room as we settled down for the 40 minute journey to Verona.

It was steaming hot at 8.30. The fields on the way were full of red poppies as far as the eye could see. What a beautiful sight. . How I wish I had had my camera ready to click away at them before the train steamed out of sght.

Verona station is much busier probably the size of Birmingham and had 10 platforms with trains to all sorts of destinations. Local trains and intercity type trains and of course people crowding the platforms and the concourse. It was a long walk from the station into the centro and signs were hard to find. We just followed the maddening crowds of shoppers and students.

Eventually we found our way to Palazzi Bra and then to the Pallazzi della Herbe full of markets. Our first visit was to the castle and museum which cost 9 euro reduced for oldies. Some Italian castles or museums gave you reduced entry when aged 60 and others only at 65. It is hard to work out which are which unless you ask. The museum was full of armour, pikes and roman stones . The castle stands on the probable location of a Roman fortress outside the Roman city. Lord Cangrande II della Scala had it built along with its bridge across the Adige River as a deterrent to his powerful neighbors such as Venice, the Gonzaga and the Sforza families. It was a very beautiful castle and a lovely museum well worth a visit and to be recommended.

After this visit we sat in the square with two cokes 7 euros and people watched. By this time the place was heaving with bus loads of people coming in the find what Verona offered. We visited the Roman Arena the site of the operas. They were beginning to set up the sets and this filled the floor area as did the expensive seating. Apparently it costs £200 for seats in the front area with the price decreasing as you go up the levels until you reach the £25 seats in the gods. We sat for a while and whilst I would love to watch Aida in such a wonderful setting I am not sure that the price would be worth the hastle.

Our next stop was Casa Guilletta – a house picked up by the local council and given the title the house of Juliet in order to attract the hundreds and thousands of Shakespeare lovers who wished to see a slice of imaginary history. We had recently visited the home of the bard in Stratford and also watched a programme narrated by the Venetian historian Francesca Da Mosta on the history of Shakespeare in Italy. It seems that the Sicilians laid claim to his birth and some people think he had an Italian lover and courtesan. His missing years were perhaps spent in Italy and Venice in particular as he seemed to know so much about the country and Italian behaviour. In Juliets courtyard there was little room to move as people jostled to see the balcony upon which Juliet stood and gave her Romeo Romeo wherefore art thou speech. You pay your money and can stand on that very same stage managed balcony. Not an impressive space by any means but suppose I can say I have been there, seen the balcony and come away.

Lunch was a ham, cheese and mushroom foccachio which was average and a mixed salad before we walked the long walk back to the station. By now ankles were swelling for some strange reason. Perhaps it was the heat or even the walking although I did wonder if my new tablets had anything to do with it and prepared a nasty little retort to my doctor for changing my tablets just when I was going on holiday.

We found our platform easily , platform 8 the Milan train which was in already when we arrived. Thought I had better check if it was the right train but the guard spoke no English and I struggled to understand his Italian. I checked with a girl on the train and we boarded. It set out late which threw us as we kept thinking we must be on the wrong train and it was only as it set off we started to recognise some of the landmarks along the way. Even though we knew we were on the right road we still wondered if the train would sail through our station taking us somewhere we didn’t want to be. No such luck it stopped in the right place and we started the long hobble back to the campsite.

Still raining in England so it feels good that we are cultivating tans here. More passagiating in the evening where we watched a wonderful sunset over the lake. The sun was like a big round ball of fire on the low horizon sending out its fiery path along the water of the lake. Our photograph did it no justice but we tried.............

Another night of very little sleep – too hot and yet again too noisy. The party continued for a second night .......we are getting too old for this party lark.


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