This morning was quite beautiful – cool and calm on the terrace of Albergo Milano as we took our last breakfast there. The decision to stay in Varenna was the correct one. It is beautiful, laid back, and more out of the way than some other lake towns. It has provided us with the option we prefer, living amongst the locals, dining on their local fare and observing the daily lives and culture of friendly Italian people.
We trundled our heavy bags up to the main town square so the boys could bring the car down to pack all the luggage into the back of the car. While we were waiting I took the opportunity to look inside the most beautiful little church (Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista) in one corner of there square, and to take some photos of the square and side streets, bathed in the watery morning sun.
Packing the gear into the boot was a bit of a mission but we were soon on the road to Verona. Just over two hours later we hunting down a good lunch in the old town, on the main drag opposite the amazing amphitheatre. There is a time and place for eating at places displaying “touristic menus” as we have seen them called. We needed to eat and run and we did – the food was fast, tasty and simple.
We headed off in search of Juliet’s balcony, along with many others, but we had to consult google maps in the end! The site was a bit of a disappointment – with hundreds of tourists crammed into the small courtyard, all want to either get up the balcony and/or hug the right breast of the statue of Juliet as is the custom – of course we made the boys do it…
While we only had a couple of hours in Verona, I personally feel it it could be a lovely place in which to spend a few days – it had a certain feel to it, a soul perhaps, and I loved the colour in the architecture, the shop displays and the beautiful facades of some of the older buildings.
Back on the road we set off for Venice, this time with Phil at the wheel – his first drive on European roads in a couple of years but all is well – he got us to Venice and the parking building beside the water taxi dock. The valet came to park our car and off we went to get our taxi. Venice delights me and as soon as I was back on the Grand Canal amongst all the colourful chaos that the waterborne transport creates, I knew it was right to return. Gondolas crossed the bow of our water taxi, trash barges came close, water taxis zigzagged up the canal, giving way to each other in a kind of choreographed routine – mesmerising, just like the beautiful old buildings, (some colourful, some grey and drab) lining the chaotic waterway.
The driver pulled into the jetty outside our B & B, Ca’ Angeli and we felt right at home- we stayed here four years ago and loved it, so we are back and it feels good. The rooms are large and elegant plus the bathroom is enormous and oh so sparkling.
Refreshed after our long drive from Varenna, we braved the crush and set out in search of Harry’s Bar for an aperitif. The alleys had to be negotiated single file as groups of tourists poured past us, seemingly on their way back to cruise ships. Even St Mark’s Square was relatively busy at 6pm but I guess that is just Venice. We found our way to Harry’s Bar, much smaller and more discreet than I had imagined, but were turned away because a certain two elderly gents were clad in shorts – not acceptable for the Bar’s dress code. We are booked to returned tomorrow, with the boys more suitably clad.
Dinner was yet again a fast affair in a not too fab restaurant, but we were tired and hungry. The owner of the B&B can recommend good places for us over the next two days but for now we are fed and watered. Bedtime now, and I was going to post photos to amuse you but the uploading of photos since we have been here has proven difficult, so just a few now until I figure out the problem!