Saturday, October 28, 2006

Farewell to Friends 10.27.06

Last night we went to Ai Glicini (Via Centro n. 235, in Borgo Roma) our favorite restaurant near our apartment and shared a tearful goodbye with Vanessa and Sarah, two of the sweetest young women you could ever meet. They welcomed us with curiosity and warmth when we first arrived here in Verona and have been just delightful each time we showed up there. They promised to keep in touch and we had the warmest send off, with hugs, kisses and tears! OK, the tears were mine. We will miss them very much.

The lovely Vanessa (from Croatia) and Sarah at Ai Glicini, Pizzeria Trattoria

The talented (and adorable!) pizza making guys at Ai Glicini

Their delicious pizzas!

This week I went back to Annalisa and Fabio's, my "parrucchiere" (hairdresser) to get a last haircut before leaving. Annalisa was incredibly helpful to me in getting me all fixed up for the wedding in Koln this summer (you may remember the fiasco with the red dress and the backwards darts - see my post from July!) and I will be forever grateful. They have been wonderful, warm and friendly. They speak absolutely not a word of English so I consider it a triumph to have been able to get my hair done and communicate with each other as well as we did. I will miss them too!

Annalisa and Fabio, my hairdressers (parrucchiere) in Borgo Roma (Via Legnago n. 69)

I wish I could say the same for the people who live right around us. Fausto and his wife Rosa upstairs have been delightful and Paula from next door, who sadly lost her mother recently. But most of the neighbors really could not have cared less that we were here and didn't seem at all interested in meeting us or getting to know us. I know we should have made more of an effort ourselves and perhaps that would have made a difference. Truthfully, we traveled a lot this summer and were gone a lot but no one showed any interest in even being friendly and even if we met them in the hallway or outside the building we would barely get a hello. One woman even shut her blind as we walked past which probably was just coincidental but she just looked right past us. The people we have met and gotten to know have been incredibly warm and generous so I cannot generalize and say that they are just not as friendly up here as they were in Sicily, which would be unfair. If they were curious about us, they sure didn't show it. I suppose they are just more reserved and perhaps didn’t want to impose themselves on us. I know it takes time to get to know people and our time here has admittedly been brief. I blame ourselves mostly for not trying harder.

We have enjoyed exploring this area. There are so many incredible places to visit, we could never visit them all if we stayed here a lifetime! Our visits to Venice have been wonderful. We have come to really love Verona and our walks along the river and through Piazza Bra and Piazza Erbe and all the wonderful streets and the architecture. Mantua, Padua, Modena, Marostica for the chess game, Soave and its castle, Bolzano, the Dolomites, all the pretty little towns on Lago di Garda, Trento, the Po Delta, the vineyards of the Valpolicella, tiny Borghetto, Rovereto and the art museum MART ( we visited recently (a terrific show on the artists Schiele, Klimt, Kokoschka and others from Vienna of the same period), and most recent, the lovely city of Bergamo. Not to mention the fact that we were able to go to Koln and visit our friends in Germany, Switzerland and France so easily. Laura and Giorgio have been incredible and meeting their family a real highlight of our time here. We'll miss them all very much.

Piazza Bra, the Liston, one of my favorite places in Verona

We're ready to go now. This area is rich in places to see and things to do. Unfortunately, the air quality is something we haven't enjoyed. They definitely have a problem with air pollution and Bob's asthma has been worse here. I ended up with an upper respiratory infection, my first illness since we've been in Italy. Probably just a result of overdoing it and catching what Bob had. But we're still glad we came here. It has been overall a wonderful experience we will never forget.

I will probably try to post a few more things before we leave but this week will be a busy one. We have been packing already and our apartment is kind of turned upside down at the moment. Having brought so much stuff home will help and the car should not be as packed to the gills as it was coming here in June.

We have plans to do some things with Giorgio and Laura this week, plus maybe squeeze in one or two other day trips. We'll see. We have already had to cross off a few things we thought we were going to do, like a trip to Prague and Slovakia or Croatia. It just didn't fit. But it's OK. We hardly feel deprived! On the contrary, our minds are hearts are full of all the things we have seen and experienced.

Now we are ready for an entirely different experience on the Amalfi Coast. We'll keep writing and posting, so if you are interested, come along. We welcome your comments and would love to know what you think, so feel free.

Rosemary e Robert

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