Wednesday, 6 March 2013

European Road Trip Day 6 - Verona & Florence (Monday 4th June)

We said our fond farewells to Sarah, Mitch and their kids, then headed off on the next part of our journey - to Verona. This was not firmly written into the schedule, but we decided to go for it, seeing as we were passing quite close. None of us knew anything about it really, except that Juliet's balcony is there.
We arrived in Verona just before 10am, in a torrential downpour. We had no idea where anything in Verona was, so just wandered from our underground car park to the centre of town. Whilst we were sheltering in a big hall-type thing on the front of some building, and trying to figure out where Juliet's balcony was, some other tourists came in, and I went and asked them for directions (they were very well organised Germans, with a large book on Verona - compared with our free {clearly not very useful} paper map from the car park!). They got us headed in the right direction.
Never knew there was a colosseum in Verona! It was built in AD30.
There were some lovely streets which we wandered through, and it had stopped raining by then.
Yay! We found it!! The courtyard at Villa Capuleti - I was really chuffed to be there, especially as it felt like an extra treat we hadn't really planned.
The legendary balcony of Juliet.
I liked all the 'love locks' on one of the gates in the courtyard.
The crazy love messages graffitti in the entranceway to the courtyard.
 Back in the Centre of Verona...
 ...where we were accosted by some centurions...
We then headed towards a water park near Lake Guarda, after stopping off at MacDonald for lunch, and a supermarket to get to breakfast and lunch for the next day.
We got to the water park at about noon, but very disappointingly for the kids it was shut for the day, due to the rain. They were pretty sad, and then we spent a frustrating time trying to get on the right road towards Florence, and our next apartment. It felt a bit grumpy in the car for a while - rain, grey skies, no water park, and the satnav messing around, but it didn't last for too long.
We had to drive past Modena (at about 2.30pm), which I was not too keen on - it being the epicentre for yesterday's earthquake (which was 5.1 on the Richter scale), and the worse ones the week before. I was glad to make some distance between us and Modena, anyway.
We carried on to Florence, and spent a slightly scary time driving through the centre, to get to our pre-booked car park. We couldn't follow the satnav very easily, and kept getting off track, but circling ever closer! Finally we made it to the indoor car park place (a couple of streets from our apartment), where you leave your keys, and they take the car and squash it in somewhere. It looked like we had dumped our entire worldly possessions on the floor of the garage area, to take with us!
We made our way through the streets - complete with massive laundry sack (the apartment had a washing machine), wash bags, shopping bags with tea, suitcases etc! - and met a girl who let us into the top floor apartment of a tall terrace of apartments on a narrow street right in the centre of Florence.
It was a cool apartment!! Kitchen dining room, and a bedroom with canopied bed, and lovely heavy furniture, with ornate mirrors and tall windows and shutters. Both the rooms had mezzanine levels, via spiral staircases, with two more double beds.
We made tea, put the washing machine on, then headed out for a stroll around Florence in the lovely evening sunshine.
Harry terrorising the pigeons.
The Duomo, and surrounding building (Baptistry, Campanile etc.) are pretty amazing - all that green and white and pink marble - and just BIG. It was hard to get a picture which captured the scale if it.
We also wandered through the square (Piazza dells Signoria) which housed the Town Hall (Palazzo Vecchio), and replica of Michelangelo's David, plus lots of other statues. We sat and listened to a guy playing classical music on the guitar - it was just a nice atmosphere. Everyone happy.
I like these pictures of Lucy and Jack. (I love how well they get on with each other, particularly since Jack started secondary school last September.)
The Loggia dei Lanzi - an open air sculpture gallery of antique and Renaissance art, including 'Perseus with the Head of Medusa'. (1554) - and the guitar guy.
We then walked along the River Arno, and past the Ponte Vecchio (rebuilt in 1345 - there's been a bridge there since Roman times, and it was the only bridge in Florence not to be destroyed by the retreating Germans in 1944).
Ponte Vecchio.
Back at the apartment, we got the kids in bed, and I was sitting putting some pictures on the laptop, when at about 10.30pm Lucy woke up and came down, saying there were insects everywhere. I had a look and realised they were BEDBUGS!!! We checked on Harry who was in our bed, and Tom in the other bed, and there were bedbugs there too! I managed to keep Harry asleep, while keeping bugs away from him, and put Tom in with him, but we realised we couldn't do that all night, so Scott rang the apartment people, and they said they would send someone round in about 10 minutes to take us to another apartment a couple of streets away. We quickly packed everything up (including the 2 loads of washing I had got done and was out drying!), and then a lady took us to a new two bedroomed apartment, with bed-settee in the kitchen-dining room. It felt like quite an adventure!
We quickly got the kids settled, and had got the wet clothes all hung out again by 11.30pm. I was a bit paranoid about bugs again, and checked on the sleeping kids a few times, but it was fine. I was bitten really badly by bedbugs once several years ago, and it was terrible - I really suffered with it, so I was worried that the kids would have been bitten and be in a lot of pain, but they were all completely unaffected, thank goodness!

1 comment:

Jo Waters said...

I am so jealous - it looks like it was an amazing trip!