Sunday, November 4, 2012

Visiting Verona and a Long Day of Driving in the Rain

Our day today started at 6:30am with a wake up call. We showered and got dressed and then put our bags out in the hall so the porters could load them on the bus. Today we drive to Verona and then on to Lake Como. Thomas went down for some breakfast and I stayed in the room and did a little blogging. After eating Thomas returned to the room with some coffee for me and we just relaxed in the room until it was time to meet in the lobby with the group. By 8:30am we were all on the bus and on our way to Verona – in the pouring rain. After about an hour of a pretty boring drive we stopped at a rest area for the bathroom and some snacks. It was a quick stop and then we were back on the bus for the last part of the drive to Verona. During the entire drive it rained and we really couldn’t see very far to enjoy any views. Thomas and I both read most of the time on the bus.

Entering Verona
When we got to Verona the bus driver pulled over and we waited for our tour guide to show up. When she arrived she joined us on the bus so that we could take a short driving tour of Verona before we started our walking tour. Our tour guide today was Maria-Pia. She gave us a brief history of Verona and showed us some of the landmarks of the city. Then the bus was parked and we all went on a walking tour of the historic area. We did this in the rain so that all you could see was a line of people walking with umbrellas. We saw the Ponte Pietra that crosses the Adige, the Tombs of the Scaligeri (and near to here we saw the supposed house of the Montague’s), Casa di Giulietta (again supposedly), Piazzadei Signori (where there was an outdoor market) and Piazza Erbe (with a grand fountain and apparently Madonna has an apartment that overlooks the square) and then we walked down Via Mazzini (a street full of shops) to the Arena and Piazza Bra. Our tour ended here and the group all went separate ways. Thomas and I walked down the street to listen to a band playing under an archway of a building. The band is called Fanfara Bersaglieri di Bedizzole. They are a brass band and we enjoyed listening to them. We continued walking a little ways to a restaurant called Ristorante Ippopotamo. Once we were seated at our table we started looking over the menu – we decided that it reminded us of TGIFriday’s. We ordered sandwiches – Thomas had turkey and I had a caprese. After eating we walked back up Via Mazzini to Piazza dei Signori. I wanted to go back to the market and get some olives. We had seen a stand with some beautiful and fragrant olives earlier and I kept it in the back of my mind to return later and get a few. Once I had my olives we walked to Piazza Erbe  and I took some pictures then we shopped for postcards.
Olives at the Market
We still had some time to kill so we walked some back streets and returned to the Arena. Since it was the first Sunday of the month all museums and attractions were only €1. So we decided to go into the Arena. Thomas stayed at the bottom and I climbed up to the top to get some wonderful views of the city and the Arena. After taking pictures I went back down to meet Thomas and then we walked over to the Cosi Bar to have a coffee and gelati before meeting the group to walk back to the bus. So then we took the short walk in the rain back to the bus to continue on to Lake Como. 

The drive to Lake Como took about three hours in the rain. It was a boring drive and was made longer by lots of traffic. We made one stop for a bathroom break but other than that it was just sitting on a bus. I did a little blogging and some reading while Thomas read in between naps. It was about 7:00pm when we arrived at the hotel – Grand Hotel Imperiale in Moltrasio. We then got checked in and settled in our room. At 7:45pm we met in the lobby and walked across the street to the hotel’s restaurant. This restaurant overlooks the lake but we were unable to see it because it was dark and rainy.

Dinner was wonderful, especially in comparison with the meal we had in Venice two nights ago. At this hotel we had some choices for dinner. They served us an appetizer of meat and cheese. Then we first had gnocchetti with tomato and basil and then I had grilled swordfish and Thomas had Warm Tomino cheese with salad. For dessert I had gelato misto and Thomas had pumpkin cake. We also had a bottle of wine – Ferghettina Curtefranca from the Lombardy area, which we are in now. After dinner we showered and relaxed in the room. Thomas read and I blogged. Overall it was a nice day but we could have done with a little less rain. Tomorrow we take a boat ride to Bellagio and spend the afternoon in Moltrasio. They tell us the rain is suppose to stop and it will be sunny, hopefully that is the case.

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