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Published: August 7th 2016
From the lookout point at Piazzale Castel San Pietro.
Most people know Verona as the city where Romeo & Juliet is set; others (mainly Kiwis) may know it as a song by New Zealand band Elemeno P; I knew Verona as both, but I had also heard that it is one of the prettiest cities in Italy - which is some statement - so I had always wanted to go there see what the fuss was about.
It was another Megabus from Turin to Verona and only the stinky man in the seat in front of me took away from the ride, which was four and a half hours long.
It was hot - mid 30s - but it wasn't the humid heat that I had gotten used to in Cuba so I could handle it fine during the half hour walk between the hostel and the bus stop in Turin, and then the similarly-timed walk between the bus stop and the hostel in Verona. Hay fever was more of a problem and was so bad, that even an anti-histamine didn't fully eradicate it. Things were fine in the shade but despite the dry heat, I had sweated through all my clothes by the time I arrived at
Piazza delle Erbe
Verona's main square - arguably the heart of the city. With tons of tourists too.
the Ostello Villa Francescatti.
The walk there however, was picturesque as it took me through the heart of Verona. My mind was taken off the heat a little as I walked past the Colosseum-like Arena di Verona and the famous Casa di Giuletta. The city is beautiful - no wonder Shakespeare decided to set Romeo & Juliet here. For the first time in a while, I genuinely had my breath taken away.
As ever, reasonably-priced accommodation was hard to find in Verona - hotels from 40€ a night seemed to be the only option.
There was another option though - the aforementioned HI-affiliated hostel complete with 36-bed male dorm with no dorm access between 9am and 5pm for cleaning. Like it really takes eight hours to clean the whole place? It was the dreaded lockout - something I haven't experienced for nine years
So I had showed up in Verona with nothing booked as you couldn't book this hostel and I had arrived just in time for opera season, meaning almost everything else decent and cheap was booked up. There was a risk that I might have to fork out for those 40€ a night hotels if the hostel didn't
Where Juliet supposedly cried out for Romeo. No, that lady on the balcony is not Juliet.
have space; I hate opera and now I hated it even more. So the hostel was my only option - and thankfully there was space available.
At least the hostel had a beautiful setting; it is housed in a 16th-century mansion with well-kept grounds and plenty of space.
Some cities make it so easy to take great photos. As well as providing you with amazing scenes and splendid colour to work with, they also give you the right angles and perfect lighting without you having to work too hard, or having to improvise too much, for either. Turin
was not one of those places; Verona most definitely was.
I happened to be in Verona on a Sunday, meaning that the place was a tourist hell. Especially the Casa di Giulietta - and I wasn't about to shell out 6€ to go inside the museum of a fictional character either. Anyway, you could see the famous balcony for free. Urgh, romance.
And having been inside the Colosseum
and Pula's arena
too, I didn't feel the need to shell out 10€ (!) to see the inside of another Roman theatre either.
So in saying this, I want to apologise to Cuba for
Along The River Adige
Looking along the old town riverfront alongside the River Adige.
complaining about its prices. When a sandwich and a drink - or a pint of beer - costs 5€ in tourist-infested Verona, I must say that Cuba, you were actually pretty f*cking cheap.
I don't have much else to say about Verona - the pictures kind of tell you everything. A gorgeous little city.
So after two nights and a full day, it was time to move on. Nice as the surrounds were at the hostel, with its lockout and massive communal facilities, the place did kind of have a prison feel to it. And when it's this hot, there is only one place to head - to the beach!
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