Day 04: Garda, Verona, & Do We Have Everything?

Jim and I didn’t sleep very well again (jet lag was doing a slow creep on us this time around) so we were up early, done with breakfast, and had gone on a walk around the entire town by the time we saw my parents downstairs eating breakfast.  The plan was to be in the car and rolling by 10:30, not a minute later.  Well, it turns out my parents had other plans, as my dear father had discovered the hotel room keys from Venice in his pocket on this morning.  Jim and I were somewhat in awe that he had only just noticed this, a full 24 hours after leaving Venice, as it wasn’t like it was just a plastic key card in his pocket.  No, these were two different sets of heavy, large, metal keys (one for the front door of the hotel, one for the room) that were each anchored to a rather large, unwieldy key chain with a giant tassel.  My father looked rather proud of himself, my mother looked less than amused, and Jim was tickled pink that he finally had someone to call with his burner phone.  We made a quick call to the Venice hotel to assure them the keys would be returned immediately, and my parents scurried off to find the Garda post office.

Aaaa, tranquility

Aaaa, tranquility

Promptly at noon we were finally ready to go, the Sardinia Can being about 18 pounds lighter without the Venetian hotel keys.  We hemmed and hawed about whether or not to visit Verona, because we were so close geographically, and in the end decided we should stop in for a look.

My father photobombing us at "Juliet's Balcony" (ahem)

My father photobombing us at “Juliet’s Balcony” (ahem)

Dad (and Gretel) expertly navigated our way to Verona and through the busy streets to an underground parking lot at Piazza Cittadella, where we unfolded ourselves from the car and set off to see what Verona had to offer.  What a mistake.  As serene and tranquil as Lake Garda was, Verona was every bit in the opposite direction, a chaotic madhouse.  We whizzed by the giant Arena and then headed off to “Romeo and Juliet’s Balcony.”  That last part is in quotes because it’s not really their balcony, it’s all fictitious, but Shakespeare set the play in Verona and some enterprising person along the way deemed that balcony was “the one.”  And then the masses came in droves to see it, this random balcony that has no significance to, well, anything.  Did I mention the balcony was actually added to the building in 1936?  The Bard was long since departed.  As we were more interested in seeing the spectacle of it all, we bee-lined there, viewed the insanity, which was exactly as one might think, and bolted.  I was especially impressed that they were able to charge people €6 for the pleasure of going upstairs and onto the balcony.  This random, insignificant balcony built in 1936.  €6.  Each.

 We had worked up an appetite, so Jim led the charge back to the Arena and to a sandwich joint, where we ate and then got the hell outta there.  I’m sorry, Verona, it’s just that we’ve seen much more charming places in Italy.  Like the AutoGrill off the Autostrada, for instance.

The AutoGrill with ladies parking

The AutoGrill with ladies parking. Now that’s charming.

The next 4 hour drive in the Sardinia Can passed rather quickly, considering I spent most of the time wondering if you can actually feel the onset of permanent paralysis, and we reached Cuneo, a town in the Piedmont region of Italy, just after dark.  We checked into the Hotel Royal Superga and Jim and I were just getting settled into our room when there was a frantic knock at the door.  It was my mother in a panicked state because she had left her most favorite coat and vest hanging in the armoire at the hotel in Lake Garda.

‘Scuse me?  We are going down this road again, a mere 10 hours later?  Clearly Jim and I were going to have to start taking charge of packing AND hotel keys from now on.

This precipitated the second time in one day Jim’s cell phone was called into action, as we had to call the Garda hotel to find out if her coat and vest, no, her most favorite coat and vest, were still there.  Indeed, they were, and the front desk clerk said to let him know what we decided to do in terms of getting them back.

We called a brief family meeting, where my mother was appalled she had done such a thing, Jim and I were in a bit of shock this was happening again, and my father sat in the corner looking pleased as punch it wasn’t something he had done this time.  In the end, we decided because it was her absolute most favorite coat and vest, the safest thing to do would be to drive back and get it on Friday before we needed to be in Milan.  Jim and I just hoped our blood vessels could withstand the drive.

Crisis behind us, we took off for dinner at a somewhat fancy place called Osteria due Grappoli.  After a fabulous meal with lots of wine, we headed off in the direction of the hotel before bidding my parents arrivederci and heading to the square for a Sambuca nightcap.  I swear it’s not my parents driving us to drink – really – this is just sort of what we do when on an overseas adventure.

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  1. Christine F

     /  October 7, 2013

    Happy travels! I’m attempting to keep up with your missives as they come up this trip. You’re being followed!


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