There is no better cure for a hangover than floating in a body of water: my preferred method is snorkelling, but drifting around in Lake Garda came a close second.
Despite the fact that we hadn’t managed to get to bed until the sun was starting to rise (we’d left the water at a relatively early time, however Will and our new friend disappeared up to our shared accommodation and clearly had other ideas, as when trying to gain access we were politely asked to ‘come back later’. At this point we and the remainder of our group took to the pitch-black hallways where we chatted, fell silent whenever we thought a worker was coming to tell us off and tried to time it so that we left it long enough so the two had finished, but not so long that they’d passed out and wouldn’t hear us knocking at the door! We really should have got more than one key…), Adam and I awoke in time for our- much needed- breakfast.
Sadly, the breakfast was not akin to the superb offering we had received at Ghent’s ‘Backstay Hostel’, though after that level of inebriation what we really needed was grease and lots of it! Unsurprisingly, English fry-ups are hard to come by, so we settled for the cereal and biscuits that were provided before heading out to the cool, refreshing water.
Astonishingly, we (and by we, I mean Adam) had enough sense of self-preservation to have grabbed the sun-cream before we left and we lathered it over ourselves before we entered the water.
Unfortunately, that’s where it began and ended as we completely forgot to reapply it at any point over the course of the morning or early afternoon.
This was a mistake.
To say the least.
I know a comparison here to a tomato would be cliché, but I really was that red.
Thankfully, it took some time to sink in, so we did get to make the most of being within the dazzling surroundings and when Will finally came out to meet us, we enjoyed some swimming, the three of us racing to the buoys that separate bathers from nautical vessels.
As an English teacher, I felt obliged visit Fair Verona (where we lay our scene) and we weren’t about to let a hangover, the forty-degree Celsius heat, nor the fact that my back was, by this point, radioactive stop us from exploring the local area. We were only getting a brief taste of the very northern tip of Italy (a country I’d wanted to visit for as long as I could remember), so we we’re adamant that we would make the most of it.
By the time we’d walked the short distance to the train station, I began to realise that I’d made a terrible mistake, but with a bag of crisps (chips) and a bottle of water purchased from the station shop, we powered through.
The city, generally, did not disappoint, but I must recommend that if you’re not into your mainstream shopping (like I’m not: charity/thrift/vintage/independent shops are my passions), get away from the main streets where you’ll be jostling amongst tourists and bombarded with internationally-available stores and designers. I also noticed why stereotypes regarding chic Italians existed, as I suddenly felt like an absolute slob compared to the pristinely dressed women who didn’t seem fazed by the excessive heat we were experiencing! Away from the main streets in the centre is where you’ll see the real side of the city and you can take on a slower pace, admire the typically Italian architecture and see locals walking their dogs.
Before we could head off (main) road, we paid the reasonable entrance fee (10 Euros) to enter Piazza Bra’s Roman Amphitheatre. At over 2,000 years old, this is one of the best-preserved buildings of its kind and the third-largest in Italy. At its peak, it could hold up to 30,000 spectators for both gladiator fights and hunts for wild and exotic animals.
Whilst I think it would have been an incredible experience to watch an Operatic adaptation of Romeo & Juliet within it (sadly, our timing was off, as it was due to start mere days after we left), the staging and seating that had been introduced to the arena really took away from such an incredibly historical building.
What do you think?
Disappointingly, a lot of smaller restaurants are closed on a Monday in Verona, so we missed out on some of the recommendations that we were hoping to get a taste for. Our highlight, food-wise was definitely the gelato we picked up beside the beautiful Adige River, whilst we were waiting for our chosen eatery to open (yes, we did things in reverse!). Though Will was overwhelmed by the tremendous salad that he was presented with at Alcova Del Frate.
By the time we’d staggered back to Casa di Giulietta (Juliet’s house), it was closed-up, so we could just sneak a peak at the balcony. Soon after that I admitted defeat and we paid for a taxi to return us to the train-station where we bought some drinks in the shop, purely so we could enjoy the sweet relief of the air-conditioning.
This heat was destroying me… little did I know, there was plenty more of it to come!