Having grown up in Chicago, I would think that I should be used to cold and crazy changing temperatures. Really I should be prepared for everything, from -15 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. But I’m not. Every spring I am surprised by how sudden the weather changes and how unprepared I am. And nothing has changed since I’ve been in Kraków. The lingering cold temperatures, even through May, still surprised me even though they really shouldn’t have. Regardless, I was ready for some warmth and sunshine and a trip to Italy was exactly what I needed.
Early on a Thursday morning I hopped on a five-hour Polskibus to Warsaw where I would be flying to Milan and meeting some friends from home—Connie and Tia. It was an extremely long and exhausting day of traveling, taking multiple buses, trains and an airplane, so by the time my head hit the pillow that night I was asleep. But I only had four hours of sleep because of the early train the next morning.
Connie and I woke up a bit later than we intended, so we had to sprint to the train but we made it t just as the doors began to close. We had some trouble printing our ticket and I didn’t know that very few people in Milan actually speak English. In Kraków, most adults speak some English and much of the younger generation is completely fluent. But despite our troubles we still made it and in that moment that was all that mattered.
It seems that in almost every city I’ve traveled to, it has rained and Verona was no exception. My plans for a warm getaway were sadly not going to happen but I still had an amazing time! We wandered the city streets, through busy town squares and abandoned alleyways, ducking under balconies when the rain picked up. We stumbled upon Juliet’s home, which we only recognized by the huge mob of tourists crowding around the entrance. The courtyard was actually a bit smaller than I imagined, with a statue of Juliet in the corner, an entrance to the museum and the balcony, and, of course, a small souvenir shop.
I was glad to see Juliet’s balcony because I’ve read Romeo & Juliet and I’ve seen so many film adaptations of the play. But it was also stressful being pushed around by so many tourists looking for the perfect picture with Juliet and others writing their names on the walls. People were shockingly aggressive! I think my favorite part of this trip was actually visiting Giardino Giusti—it was a beautiful garden of hedge mazes, lemon trees, and beautiful sculptures and fountains. It was actually hidden behind some gates and I’m not sure I would have found it without my map, but I was so glad that I did. Everything was so green from the rain and the garden was empty except for the two of us—it felt like a fairytale.
Before our train back home, of course we had to eat some pasta! We escaped the rain in a small restaurant to warm up with lasagna and penne with wine, and it was some of the most delicious pasta I’ve ever had. Macaroni and cheese from the box, though still delicious, just doesn’t compare.
After our long adventure in Verona, we returned home in the evening to prepare for our trip the next morning—Cinque Terre!