So as you know, my roommates and I scooted off to Verona on Friday afternoon, after first completing the final step of our permesso di soggiorno (uh, probably spelled that one wrong...Gillian?) applications, meaning that we are now officially LEGAL residents of Italy...at least until May. Funny that we have been here for almost 2 months by the time that is done. Also, can we just take a moment of awe at the fact that we have been here for almost two months? That's eight weeks, 42 days, and too many hours for me to calculate. I have a little over two months left, and if the second half flies by as quickly as the first, I'll be home before I know it.
Anyway, we brought our bags with us on our permesso field trip, so we headed directly to Santa Maria Novella after that. We bought our one-way tickets to Verona, and then sat around for almost an hour before our Eurostar train to Bologna left (can we also talk about how ridiculous it is that it cost 24 euro to go from Florence to Bologna and only 7 to go from Bologna to Verona? Stupid Eurostar train.)
When we finally arrived in Verona (two and a half hours later...phew!) we had to walk to the hostel. Fortunately, the weather was absolutely BEAUTIFUL, cool and sunny.
Corso Porta Nuova, the large street we came in on.
After chillaxing a bit and freshening up, we hit the streets to walk around a bit before dinner, which was recommended and marked on a map by our friendly hostel owner. We hadn't been walking 10 minutes when we were ambushed by a woman carrying paper hippopatomus crowns, who insisted on taking our picture. Grazie, signora!
After wandering for a bit we were famished, but realized that we had gone completely the wrong direction from the restaurant il signore had recommended. Whoops. So we trekked it back across the city with minor difficulty before finding...al Bracere!
The restaurant was apparently an old, converted church. The inside was SUPER kitschy...looked half like an antique shop, half like a restaurant. It was two stories, with an upper loft where some sort of reception dinner was going on. The food was excellent. I had an unpictured bowl of linguine with fresh pesto and tomatoes and shrimp. My main complaint is with Italian cuisine in general...they do not peel the shrimp for you! So my fingers got all pesto-y while I attempted to peel them. Unfortunately, I'm not very nimble, and I ended up getting frustrated with the whole process and leaving several behind.
After dinner, Sam and I debated going to a bar to get a drink, but in the end, we were too tired to go through the whole process of getting ready and going back out, so all four of us just stopped and got cappucinos. After savoring the espresso-y goodness, we headed back to the hostel for the night. It's crazy how riding a train all day can tire you out!
We got up bright and early (uhhh...9 AM) to be ready for 10:30 checkout. Breakfast provided by the hostel was decent...toast, cereal, and yogurt, mostly but it did the job for me, anyway. I filled up, hoping to put lunch off for as long as possible. We packed up, left our keys, and hit the city for a few more hours. We ended up back in the same large piazza with all of the bright stores and restaurants pictured above, but this time we took a closer look at the park across the way. I was particularly amused by this:
Even this little guy stopped to window shop! (Or maybe his owner was inside.)
Fresh fruit! Just what my breakfast was lacking. I picked up a pear and a banana for snackage.
After a bit of meandering through the market, we went to Casa di Giulietta.
This was on a plaque outside of Romeo's house, which we wandered forever to find...only to realize it was just this plaque with a door in a wall. Cool.
With not much else on our agenda, we decided to follow the river towards Verona's duomo.
I have two midterms tomorrow (Italian and Travel Writing), cooking on Wednesday, then history on Thursday. I'm finding it hard to stress; I either feel super confident in myself or I'm just not taking my classes here seriously (worry not, parents, I am doing fine so far). I promise to do some studying tonight...after I catch up on my shows and do some online crossword puzzles. Nerd.