Ah fair Verona, where we lay our scene. I am obsessed with Romeo and Juliet, specifically Baz Luhrmann’s depiction I might add. Apart from that film – most definitely not filmed in Verona I had no idea what to expect from this place. Would be quiet or busy, full of tourists or not. I didn’t need to wait long. We pulled into a carpark just on the outskirts, our chosen spot for the evening and Jesus it felt ropey. We are used to some ropey places but the people hanging around were enough to keep the engine running and we slipped out of there sharpish. We instead parked in a camper car park. Nothing fancy, no loos or electricity but it was rammed. We were lucky to get a space. Anyway we felt much safer so we stayed.
We wandered through the little car park lined with big and small campers when we spotted a Scottish number plate. Obviously we are now well and truly in the motorhome club so it’s only polite to go over and say hi. Blake was our bestie by the end of the night and we sipped red wine and chatted until the early hours, learning tales of his Australian outback adventures.
The next day we decided to walk into the centre and explore the city which in my head would be the most romantic place on earth. The architecture loomed above in the clear skies, Italian renaissance styles adorned the facades. The streets were shaded from the glaring heat and the amount of people increase the closer to the centre we got. We ambled through the cobbled alleys and down random places not sure of where we were going but enjoying the adventure of being lost. We came across the main square filled to the brim with tourists groups large and small. At the centre market stalls overflowing with tat bustled with people. Nothing for us there so we moved on, passing the arena and saw people rushing around setting up for tonight’s show. On one of the small alleys a humongous whale bone hung an archway. It was weird and google informed us it was all a marketing ploy from a nearby dentists…makes sense. Further down we came across the Scaliger Tombs, so ornate and eerily beautiful. We stopped off at a nearby café for a drink and stumbled into it’s stunning garden. Overflowing with plants and greenery it was a little haven in the built up surroundings. What was even better was the cheap drinks – €2 prosecco yes please!
Of course, my excitement couldn’t be contained for much longer and I whipped up Juliet’s balcony on my google maps and dragged Joshua. I couldn’t see it at first just masses of people clustered together. The walls as I passed quickly became coated in graffiti, post-it notes, stickers and clumsily scribbled pen notes littered the walls. Surprisingly it wasn’t distasteful, it was romantic. Millions and millions of tiny love notes guiding us to our destination. An opening in a wall took us into a tunnel which again on every free space a love message of some description, the walls, floor and ceiling wherever was free people were clambering over each other to declare their love on these walls as if it was magical. As it opened up I could see the iron gates surrounding a small courtyard were teeming with heart shaped locks and ahead a statue of Juliet with a rather gold boob looked to be getting groped by a queue of tourists. True enough, apparently if you touch her right breast it will bring you good luck…I am sceptical so did not. The balcony above us was a conveyor belt of people posing to their loved ones below which made the whole scene a bit comical.
More importantly on my list of things to do was to find the ice cream shop my pal had visited a few months earlier. I walked aimlessly around the streets in search of ice cream to no avail so instead we wandered down to the water front. Joshua had looked up the cutest place for lunch. We stepped in and a little deli counter was stuffed to its max with delicious cheeses, meats and breads all fresh and of course Italian. The idea of this place is you choose what you like by weight and pay then the ingredients are packed into a picnic basket along with your cutlery and you pick a drink form the fridge – we of course had some fizz. The deli courtyard out back looks over the river and seats with umbrellas made a perfect setting for a romantic lunch soaking up the sunshine. It was a moment I won’t forget, just the simple things and time spent with a loved one the sounds of water rushing by and the sun kissing my skin.
In our eyeline was the castle Vecchio so to burn off the cheese we wanted to walk up to the top and see the views over Verona. Hand in hand we strolled across the Vecchio bridge and hiked up the stairs until an opening exposed the beautiful rooftops of Verona below. It’s funny how a perception makes you feel more, like it’s known as being romantic so I felt this love in the air all the little things like graffiti of hearts and the locks lining the bridge link to this subconsciously warm and happy vibe. With this in mind, I was determined to go back and enjoy the courtyard of Juliet’s balcony once more. I persuaded josh to buy me a love lock and together we clipped it on the railing together forever together in that little square. On cloud nine we of course headed back to the bar which cheap prosecco to toast out love before childishly skipping home snapping up the season first conkers to keep spiders out of our van.