Today, even though I started late again, was a busy day. After being in and out of Italy three different times in the last month – today was my official last day here.
I headed out at 11am this morning with an ambitious plan. First I took the ferry to two different islands off of Venice (Burano and Murano) and then in the late afternoon I took the train for an hour and a half to Verona to spend the evening there before heading back to Venice around midnight.
I purchased a 12 hour ferry ticket for 18 euros and I was on my way for 45 minutes to Burano. The island was like a small version of Venice. It was pretty much all souvenir shops and restaurants which is good because the place was packed with tourists. The buildings were all painted in bright vibrant colors and made for some amazing photographs.
I walked around for a while and stopped for lunch. I was carefully planning my eating today as I knew I would have a large last Italian meal later that night in Verona. With that in mind I had something “light” – another margherita pizza. This would be my last pizza probably for the rest of my trip and I haven’t been keeping count but I would say I’ve had probably a dozen of these full pizzas. Oh, and I had gelato too. Thank God for all the walking I’ve been doing.
After about an hour on the island I caught the ferry to the next island – Murano. This island was the same with the exception of all the glass shops. Blowing glass is a big thing on Murano and you could tell by not only all the shops selling various glass items but also by the large displays of artwork outside.
After a little while of walking around it was time for me to head back to the main island of Venice to get ready for the next part of my day – an evening trip to Verona.
I was pretty excited for this part as it was just on a whim last night that I decided to do it. I had two reasons for going to Verona.
One was to see the famous Casa di Giulietta which is Juliet’s house from some play by some guy. I think his name was Shakespeare.
The other was to have an amazing last meal in Italy.
I took an hour and a half train ride at 5pm to Verona arriving there just before 7pm. I got off the train and after having perfect weather in Venice I was greeted by rain. I had absolutely no idea where to go. The station wasn’t close to town I found out and it wasn’t like there was a bright neon sign saying “Juliet’s house this way”
I popped into the ticket area and the man in broken English told me to catch a bus to the centre of town so that’s what I did. I got off the bus and was immediately taken aback by all the great architecture surrounding me.
I spend some time taking photos and then asked some local teenagers (they always know English) which way to go to the house.
They pointed me in the right direction and as I started walking that way I was relieved and also horrified to see a sign for the house indicating that it closed at 7:30.
It was 7:12 and I started walking very, very fast. I got there literally 5 minutes before they started ushering people out to close the gate. In the brief time I was there I saw all there was to see. In a little courtyard there is a balcony and also a statue of Juliet. I was able to take a dozen or so photos from a bunch of different angles (hey, I came an hour and a half for this – had to make it worth it!)
Thank God I got in when I did. I think I would have been utterly disappointed if I traveled all that way to just see the balcony from behind a closed gate.
I guess that’s what happens when you just decide something on a whim without researching it. Not that I’m complaining – I actually hope I do alot more impetuous things like that as it’s pretty exciting!
I had a little over 2 hours til my train ride back and headed back into the restaurant district to have a meal. A big meal. This was my last meal in Italy and it was going to be a good one. I stopped in a nice restaurant and had 4 courses – yes, four.
I started with a great bruschetta bread topped with mozzarella cheese, cherry tomatoes and basil drizzled with olive oil. The portion size was just perfect for a starter. Soon after my second course came – spaghetti in a tomato sauce. Normally I prefer my pasta with some meat or seafood in it but chose a basic pasta as I knew I had another meal coming behind it.
The pasta was great but I only ate about a third of it because it was huge and I had to pace myself for the real meal – stuffed cuddlefish.
Now I had heard the word cuddlefish before but had absolutely no clue what it was. I’m one for adventure when it comes to food so of course I had to order it. It looked like calamari and ate like a steak. It was nice and chewy and came with a beautiful vegetable mix.
My fourth course was dessert and there’s really only one thing I desired – yup, another tiramisu. Even before I came to Italy tiramisu was one of my favorite desserts. Of course back home you had to search high and low for a restaurant that serves it. In Italy, not so much – it’s everywhere. Thank God!
With a glass of prosecco (of course) and their lovely 2 euro cover charge (be happy to see that go away in the next country) my bill came out to a nice even 44 euros. Sure it was expensive but I wanted to treat myself. Italy had it’s highs and lows for me but I wanted to make sure I had an amazing meal to finish it off.
Tomorrow I head to Ljubljana in Slovenia and then onto Croatia later in the week. To say I’m excited about this leg of my journey would be a huge understatement. I’m dying to get there and see what the Balkans have in store for me…