It's come to the end of our holiday and it's from sunny Italy back to rainy England. Well, from rainy Italy to sunny England, technically, seeing as it's a glorious 26 degrees today and it was chucking it down in Garda when we left; it has been the most wonderful week I could imagine, a long mishmash of swimming and sightseeing, wining, dining, unwinding, the best weather and most definitely the greatest company a girl could ask for.
Fortunately the buses were running again on Friday and we finally made our way into Verona. Probably by grace of the potent subconscious awareness that'was the city of Romeo and Juliet, it sure did smell of love. It was romantic, stylish and breathtaking. Our first stop was the Arena di Verona, Roman amphitheatre built in AD30 and a shady garden beyond providing respite from the intense heat. We ambled on through the shopping street, a busy, bustling golden mile of designer boutiques littered with small souvenir stalls and gelaterias before climbing the 368 steps to the top of the Torre dei Lamberti for a stunning view over the patchwork terracotta rooftops and cobbled piazzas. And of course, onto the famed balcony of Juliet. Despite our cynicism it's fair to say we were stunned by the passage into the courtyard; absolutely in awe - every inch of space crammed with messages, mementos of undying love. Where lovers didn't find space they resorted to plasters, tape, anything that sticks, to leave their letters. So if your faith waivers, if you've lost love, this is the place to come. I sure am in love again.
In love with Italy. The place is incredible, brimming with the most delicious food, delectable wine, romantic language and the very warmest, kindest people. People that have a zest for life, love for their work and time for their family. They siesta in the afternoon and eat and drink together until late in the night. The days seem lengthy - spent leisurely rather than rushed. Getting on the bus is nothing short of a social event and paying the bill in a restaurant can take a very long time. Even fast food isn't very fast (ask us, it took us almost 30 minutes to get fries in McDonalds Verona). And really, it's difficult to work out whether it's the Italians who have a complete disregard for timekeeping, or it's us who have a disregard for living life. We seem in a constant state of 'rush' here (think of the London underground if you're going to try and disagree with me on that one), rushing to get to work, then rushing to eat within one hour and of course then rushing to get home. Long lunches and afternoon naps are reserved exclusively for 'holidays' - a treat rather than a way of life. Perhaps we should let the Italians show us how it's done….
Every moment of the entire seven days has been a joy - they say a picture paints a thousand words so here are the highlights: thank you for sticking with me and hope you have had a wonderful weekend.