Saturday, August 18, 2018

#SoloTrip - Day 1: Verona

This spring (and a big part of the summer) I spent so much time planning and hesitating about the way of spending my last high school summer holiday. I knew one thing for sure - I have to get our. Alone. And even though my megalomaniac plans turned into a one week trip, after few minutes in the bus to Italy, I suddenly felt I'm on my way to collecting some totally unforgettable memories.

I got on the Flixbus to Verona in Prague on Monday, 21:05. Although few days before the departure, I started wondering why the hell I decided to do this, when I finally got on the bus, all the doubts were gone. The bus was half empty and everyone who was traveling alone had two seats just for themselves. The journey from Prague to Verona lasts for about 11 hours and if I didn't start to shiver with cold just few kilometres away from the Prague station because of the excessive air conditioning of the bus ...  it could have been kind of nice comfy journey.

Since I had about 4 hours until check-in in Verona, I decide to finally put off my backpack and spend some time by chilling out on the main sqaure - Piazza Bra. In a while, the square and all the adjacent streets were full of tourists. When I decided endure the journey through rain with my stuffed backpack (while I was thinking about throwing my heavy laptop to the nearest bin), there was already a super long queque at the enterance to Verona Arena and many enthusiastic groups of japanese tourists with cameras. With the pushing crowd, I found myself in an alley full of luxury stores like Dolce & Gabbana, Dior and Victoria Secret. While I was walking through the street with the heavy backpack on my back, the materialistic part of me was enviously watching people with two shopping bags in each hand and windows of the stores where my travel pocket money would be enough just for buying discounted socks.

I'm not really fond of hostels so I decided to pay a bit more money for my accommodation, which provided much more privacy, comfort and was just few minutes walk from the city center.

I've never really enjoyed walking around the historical monuments as much as wandering around the city and getting lost in the forgotton streets. Due to my horrible orientation sense, I managed to see all the important places in just one afternoon - all of them are just in about a kilometer ration around the main square so it's easy to get everywhere on foot.

I recommend to begin at the Piazza Bra, where you find the most important symbol of the city - the Verona Arena. The amphitheater was built in 1st century and it was used as an execution site, accomodation for local prostitutes, as a place for gladiator games, hunting of bulls with specially trained dogs, equestrian races and artist performances .... Nowadays, the Arena hosts many concerts and festivals during the year, from opera to pop and rock music and performers like Pink Floyd, Paul McCartney, Alicia Keys or One Direction.

Not far from the Arena, you can find the Julia's house (Casa di Giullieta) with the famous balcony which was used for many film adaptations of this Shakespeare's tragedy. Next to the balcony, there's Julia's statue and it's said that if you touch her right boob, it will bring you happiness and infinte love.

Well ...

I guess I'll have to find my happiness in some other way because I wasn't able to get to the balcony through the crowd of the tourist groups and instead I decided to walk around the market on Piazza delle Erbe which offers anything from fresh fruit and vegetables to magnets with the pictures of Verona or wooden puppets.

If you turn from Piazza Erbe to Via delle Costa, you get to another interesting Verona's monuments - Arche Scagliere, gothic tombs of the Scaglieri family, who ruled Verona in 13 and 14th century. My last stop was then the bridge Castelvecchio, another imporant symbol of Verona, dating back to the 14th century.

In the evening, I realized I've actually seen everything I planned to see in Verona (even though there's a lot more to see, as I realize now by exploring the Google maps). And so the idea of going for a day trip away from Verona appeared and ended up a bit more adventurous than I expected. Stay tuned for the story of this spontaneous little adventure! :)

Have you ever traveled alone? :) Which is the most interesting place you ever visited?

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