Oh, how I adore technology.
But we'll get to that.
Friday morning this house was all abustle with four girls running around eating, packing, and getting ready for VERONA! Shakespeare quotes were in abundance. As well as the occasional swear when we realized we forgot something (like my toothbrush...oops.)
I hopped out of bed and knew that it was YOGA time. Have you ever gotten out of bed and just felt the need for some inteeeeense stretching? That's the yen for yoga. Embrace it. DO IT.
Breakfast was unpictured, but I thought I would list it. I know SO many people (as I'm sure you do too) who run around every day, barely stopping to breath much less consider healthy food, and say that they are "too busy" or "too distracted" to think about eating well. I'm here to prove it CAN be done! As I cleaned and packed, I snacked on a yogurt (dairy+protein), a big yummy apple (fruit), some almonds (healthy fats), and an egg white (protein) on top of a spelt-rice cake (complex carbs). All the nutrient groups covered, and I could multitask while eating. I don't generally recommend it - I'm a fan of the slow wake-up breakfast time - but when you are in a hurry, there's no need for health to go down the drain.
Speaking of health, I decided that because we were facing a 3+ hour train ride, it would be a good idea to grab some lunch to go. Lunch of choice? Bagels.
I know, I know, what happened to my breakfast? Nothing. I just haven't had a bagel in probably well over a year, and the lox was calling to me. They even put arugula on it and only put cream cheese on one side, so I could actually taste the amazingness that is smoked salmon+cream cheese+arugula+bagel. Mmm. I was a little underwhelmed by the bagel itself - nothin beats a toasted sesame seed from good ol' Dunkies! - but man, I really love lox. A lot.
After stopping at the library to finish up our Permesso di Soggiorno - aka, we are now legally staying in Italy - we were off to our train. There was a transportation strike scheduled to start at 2, but we were doing ok with time. Yes, in Italy they specifically schedule their strikes and inform the public about them to plan accordingly. Way to stick it to the man, Italy.
We almost missed the train to Verona (we had to change in Bologna), and Sam almost didn't make it on...but 3.5 hours and a lot of laughs later we arrived!
I'm going to say it right now: I loved Verona. It was a city, but a smaller one and so cute. Great shopping, beautiful river, very picturesque streets. You know when someone says 'Italy' and all those narrow, vine-covered, brightly-colored streets with apartments and balconies come to mind? That would be Verona.
Alright, tech. difficulty #1: the camera spazzed. Not only does Frida eat batteries like I eat oatmeal, she only eats the expensive ones. Double As from the Euro store will simply not cut it. I suppose I can appreciate her high, if not snobbish, tastes. What I do NOT appreciate is having a breakdown when I am in the very city where one of the greatest love stories of all time takes place. Frida and I had a little chat. She's a stubborn camera, and I really do think she has eternal PMS. But, I did get a couple. Enter dinner:
Spaghetti with shrimp (unpeeled - a serious pain), baby shrimp, octopus, calamari, and mussels. A classic, but oh so good. Seafood is such a wonderful thing.
The guy who runs our bed & breakfast gave us a recommendation for dinner, which we found after some lively aimless wandering. It was a really funky, kinda kitschy place (as in, fine china on a chest on one corner and a fake tree with blinking lights in another) - we loved it.
It was a gorgeous day when we arrived, but it was COLD by the time we left the restaurant. It called for espresso and a long hot shower. Check and check.
The B&B was great, a really cute little apartment with very funky decorations.
Can't exactly say the same for breakfast. Would it kill you to put out a fruit bowl? Really? They had muesli and Twinings tea though, so I was somewhat consoled. It was nothing remarkable - and therefore, I will stop remarking upon it.
First stop as tourists in Verona: L'Arena, the local Roman ampitheatre:
Next up: Gelato. A wonderful midmorning snack. Mint chocolate is SO good!
On to La Casa di Giulietta - Juliet's House:
(Pictures by Alaina due to aforementioned
camera bullsh*t technical difficulties.)
The entrance is plastered with love notes! I was obliged to add to the collection:
It's tradition to touch her right boob for good luck. Clearly created by a guy. Didn't stop me though.
We didn't go in to the actual house, mostly because it was 3 euro to see...um, a house with no actual historical significance. The play was fiction, people!
We also found Romeo's house:
Can you say anticlimactic? Because it was.
Sinatra Cafe!!! Sinatra = LOVE.
He was window-shopping.
We wandered along the river...
And visited Verona's duomo:
I loved the white stone, but it's certainly different from the Duomo.
And then got cappuccinos and headed to the train station. Verona is very easily done in a day. But I loved it; very relaxing and so pretty!
We returned pretty exhausted, but as usual, hunger prevailed. We went to Il Vegetariano, where two of us went last weekend. We were eager to show the other two our super-hippie-awesome restaurant find! I got the stufato di ceci e funghi con cus cus, peperoncino arrosto, e carote (chickpea-mushroom "stew" with roasted pepper, cous cous and shredded carrot).
LOVED it. Holy healthfood, this was tasty! The mushrooms and chickpeas really complemented each other well, and the cous cous was so simple but so perfect. I love cous cous. I really need to use it more often!
And then more techy problems hit. No. Internet.
Now, before you start thinking "oh these youngsters nowadays, can't go a day without internet", I will stop you: FIRST of all, I am perfectly capable of being without internet for long periods of time. In fact, sometimes it's great to get away from it! This week, however, changed that. What week is this?
MIDTERMS. Oh yes. The internet dies on the day before I have a research paper (started but not finished) and two tests to study for. Love ya.
I worked it out (a.k.a, I went to an Internet cafe and spent two hours copying and pasting my source articles in word documents so I could read them as I wrote back at home) and it got done, but not without pain, suffering, and carbs.
We all we desperate to leave the apartment and this weekend there just so happens to be a gastronomic festival going on (I missed the big events in Verona and while I was chained to my laptop in the Internet cafe...I was not happy about it, but c'est la vie). We ventured out to find a special aperitivo connected with the festival that was featuring an Italian biscuit-making company. That, and I really needed some Prosecco.
The textures were mostly similar to those cheese straws that are always at Christmas parties - thick and crumbly with heavy hints of cheese. These were really tasty though - two were rosemary, two were poppy and perhaps saffron?, and another was I believe sage, although it had a nutty taste I couldn't quite put my finger on.
The prosecco and company were lovely, but the buffet was, um, not so much. What to do? Get a crepe.
There is a crepe place not far from us that is ALWAYS closed but has bright neon posters that tempt us with thoughts of banana-nutella filled crepes, and lucky for us, tonight they were OPEN! I actually opted out of the crepe action (gasp!) because they also had soft-serve frozen yogurt which I love (almost as much as gelato - almost.) It was nothing too amazing, but it fit the bill and I didn't want anything too heavy. Well, that and I stole a bite of Alaina's crepe. Banana + nutella is a genius combo.
Came back and studied, studied, studied.Oh mid-terms, how I loathe thee.
To sum up: Battery-eating cameras and internet loss = bad. Verona, pasta, and chickpea stew = good.