Leaving the beautiful Italian lake country behind, we trained to “Fair Verona” for a stroll through the streets to see the Arena, the second largest Roman amphitheater after Rome’s Coliseum. I have seen the arena on television many times since it is featured in musical and theater productions frequently. It is not, therefore, a ruin, since it is in rather good shape after these thousands of years of use. Verona is a very nice city, clean, easy to navigate and with many historical sites. Of course, we had to go by Juliet’s balcony made famous by Shakespeare in his soliloquy for Juliet on that balcony–“Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo.” Naturally, the tourist balcony is not the real one; however, thousands flock to it and leave love messages on the walls around it. While in the city, Charlotte could not pass up a pair of Italian shoes that she spotted in a shop window. Dan thought that she had brought along enough pairs of shoes–totally missing the point, that these were Italian shoes, and this was a special vacation purchase. Everyone cheered Charlotte on to buy the shoes, which she beautifully wore the rest of the day.
We then trained on to Bozen (German) / Bolzano (Italian) in Italy’s South Tyrol, formerly a part of Austria. Most people here still speak German, and the region has a unique atmosphere with distinctive foods and architecture–not Italian and yet, not quite Austrian either. We were surprised that, as we strolled the wonderful streets in the crisp air, we heard the strains of music. Happily, this evening a concert of several bands was playing in the Walther Platz (piazza/square). With South Tyrollean Alps looming overhead and the cathedral bells pealing, we sat to eat in an outdoor cafe where we could both see and hear the bands play. Dressed in native South Tyrollean dress as they marched and played, we experienced a true unexpected travel experience. I approached a band member who spoke English, and he explained that each valley in the region has similar unique traditional clothing with important distinctions that characterize each region; each region also supports a band. How blessed we were for this great evening of fine music! WEG – September 12, 2015