Saturday, March 11, 2023

[VERONA] The Juliet Detour

It was my first airport to airport experience, and I didn’t think it was going to be Moldova. But I guess in hindsight I have to thank them after all, because I really enjoyed this Verona detour. As the plane landed in Italy and the white people on the plane clapped like they won Bingo or something, I just felt relieved to be back in the Schengen zone. No more hassles this time around, perhaps? Let’s hope so. For now, I have a few hours to spend in Verona before I hop on a train to Bologna, which should have been the original point of entry.

Downtown is reachable via Bus 199 which will cost you EUR6 (~PHP360). Info online says that it’s almost a 30-minute ride but we got there in 15 minutes so that was pleasantly surprising. You get off at Verona’s main train station where you can transfer to a train wherever if this isn’t your final destination. If you want to go sightseeing in the old town, then you have a choice of several buses. In my case I chose to take a stroll because it was a beautiful day anyway and the sun was shining. Give or take, you’ll need 20 minutes to get to the entrance of the old city.

Despite the plethora of options, I opted for breakfast at McDonalds, which also surprised me because they had croissants with Nutella. Who can say no to that? Ronald’s fastfood is located almost right next to that gate with a clock which leads you to the piazza and garden with the coliseum. Yes, Verona has a coliseum similar to that you see in Rome, although this one seems smaller. They also erected a post-modern white atrocity next to it which somehow gives a good the-old-versus-the-new contrast.

But before we go on, what’s with Verona anyway? Verona is the largest city in the Italian region of Veneto but almost always eclipsed by its more popular neighbor, the capital Venice. The city is always associated with Romeo and Juliet because it serves as the setting of Shakespeare’s ode to hopeless romantics. The famous sightseeing attraction of choice for most people seems to be Juliet’s house, which is not actually her house but we could always make believe that it is. She even has a tomb. Wait, isn’t Juliet a fictional character, though?

I don’t know. I was never chummy with Shakespeare. I only know about Romeo and Juliet because it’s unavoidable and it has been recreated in various forms of media ad nauseam. As for Verona, it is a favorite among filmmakers when they want to make a rom-com. Remember Amanda Seyfried’s Letters to Juliet? No? Then something more recent is Netflix’s Love in the Villa. That one came out last year headlined by Tom Hopper.

Back to Verona, it was worth the detour in my opinion. Almost everywhere you turn, there is a photo-op just waiting to happen. You can just get lost inside the old town and stumble upon hidden gems here and there. If it is Juliet’s balcony you are looking for, though, then prepare to face the multitude of tourists who are all coming here to see that tourist attraction. You can enter the house and take photos on the balcony for a fee. Otherwise, line up with the rest of us and wait for your turn on a tourist-infested selfie. Good luck photoshopping all those people out of that picture.

There was also a sort of fortress next to the river which doubles as a museum. It was a cool chillout spot as long as the weather permits. There is a small park next to it with an arc along with benches overlooking the river. Anyway, tis Verona trip has been short but sweet. If you have baggage, there is a private luggage storage company at the train station which charges EUR6 (~PHP360) for 4 hours.

[VERONA] The Juliet Detour

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