This weekend we went to Padove (Padua), Venice, and Verona. Allie, Kristina, Emily and I stayed behind at the park to work after care, pack, and get cleaned up. [Back story; currently Allie, Scott, Emily and I are living at Carney. Next week Emily will go to the hotel in Varacatour and Kristina will come here. But for our weekend travels sake, Kristina stayed behind and Scott went with some other folks.] A taxi picked us up from the park and took us to a metro station not far from where we live, in Pozzouli. We headed to the main station in Napoli. When we arrived around 7 to get on an overnight train that left at 8 we were delayed by a major line. The group we were traveling with (Scott, Lindsay and Amanda) got to the front of the line, and were told by the ticketer that we could just get on the train with Eurail Passes. When we got on the train we slip into two cabins. It was a mostly enjoyable ride until we decided to was lights out. Sleeping between two other ladies booties was just not my ideal ride. Around 2 in the morning a man began to vomit, LOUDLY, right outside our door. Emily could see the bright red vomit running by the door, complete with smell. That was about it for me and I stood up to stick my face out the window.
After a nasty ride we got off our train around 5:00AM in a town called Padova (in English it's spelled Padua). It was almost my favorite place (Tervi Fountain is still winning). The town, like Cedar Falls, is a college town. It's just as sweet as Cedar Falls. I absolutely LOVED it. When we first arrived no one was around. We waited at the train station for about 15 minutes sort of waiting for a bus. Allie and Amanda used their little Italian skills to ask a bus driver how to go to the Piazza we wanted to go to. We walked about 8 blocks and saw very few cars. Mostly people on bikes, perfect rusty vintage bikes, with baskets. I couldn't stop thinking about sweet little Green Giuseppe with his wicker basket, sitting all alone at home, waiting for me to take him out for a ride. The sun was rising and the tops of the buildings were all glowing a bright gold. I couldn't stop smiling.
When we arrived at the Piazza there were a few trucks arriving to begin setting up their stands so we decided we had plenty of time to wander around. We enter another Piazza to find this massive astrological clock. There was an entry way under the clock so we decided to head that way. The street wound around to benches and little newspaper stands. Everyone but Scott and myself took a seat on the benches. We are in the sweetest little town and we are leaving at noon, how can you just sit!? There weren't any people to watch. I just didn't get it. Thank goodness Scott was also down to explore. We wandered down streets that curved and wound, little alleyways lined with Fiats and scooters. It was so picturesque. I could absolutely live there. We saw elderly women walking there dogs, people waking up and opening their door length shutters to their verandas, and several folks riding down the street on bikes. We happened upon so many beautiful little places. I almost felt at home. Even though I had no clue where we were people would smile at us, I didn't have a single stress on my mind. I felt so in the moment and free. We stopped at a café to get ready for the day. We also got glasses of DiSorono (with ICE!).
Around 7:30 we headed back to the main square where the market would be, along with everyone else. The square with the astrological clock was now bustling with white vans filled with CLOTHES! I was oh so excited. The prospect of digging through thrifted ITALIAN vintage clothes was a dream come true. But we hustled past that and towards the food market. Another dream come true! It seemed, at least for this town, Scott was going to be my traveling companion. We wandered through the long rows of stands three times. You could see from each the vibrant colors that each each of fruit was freshly picked. Sure, I've been to the farmers markets of Iowa, but this just seems to be even more fresh. I am not sure what it is about buying fresh food at an Italian market that is so intriguing to me, but my smile was just busting at the seams. We them headed into an ancient Medieval building Piazza della Ragione. Here is what wiki has to say about that building..
The building, with its great hall on the upper floor, is reputed to have the largest roof unsupported by columns in Europe; the hall is nearly rectangular, its length 81.5m, its breadth 27m, and its height 24 m; the walls are covered with allegorical frescoes; the building stands upon arches, and the upper storey is surrounded by an open loggia, not unlike that which surrounds the basilica of Vicenza.Inside of this building was the meat market. It was also just as I had pictured an Italian meat market would be. From these two markets we bought pomodorini (baby tomatoes.. the only Italian veggie I know), cherries, peaches, apricots, cucumbers, strange little clear berries, mozzarella de buffalo (mozzarella from a buffalo, THE BEST), soft on the inside crunchy on the outside round loafs of bread, salami, an entire basil plant (which is now sitting on our window sill in our kitchen), and a bottle of pinot grigio. So yes, the perfect picnic EVER. We enjoyed our meal on the edge of a fountain. After that we headed over the astrological clock Piazza so I could dig through clothes. There wasn't much there but I got a dresses.
The Palazzo was begun in 1172 and finished in 1219. In 1306, Fra Giovanni, an Augustinian friar, covered the whole with one roof; originally there were three roofs, spanning the three chambers into which the hall was at first divided; the internal partition walls remained till the fire of 1420, when the Venetian architects who undertook the restoration removed them, throwing all three spaces into one and forming the present great hall, the Salone. The new space was refrescoed by Nicolò Miretto and Stefano da Ferrara, working from 1425 to 1440.
That was my favorite so I went into great detail. The rest was just marginal fun compared to that amazing adventure so I will quickly summarize. We found an H&M in Padova so we HAD to stop there. I got two dresses for €24. Anna you are going to flip when I show you these dresses (which will be in my make-up Friday Favorites sometime this week). We got on a train and went to Venice. Took a water taxi (that took FOREVER) to the glass blowing capital of the word, Maurano. It was a nice little island but the ride was just too long. I saw a man blow a glass horse. We bought a few souvenires and then went our seperate ways. Allie, Kristina, Emily, and I took a water taxi to Piazza San Marco (Saint Marks Square). It was huuuuge, and filled with pigeons that I couldn't stop calling penguins. Venice overall was very busy. The only time we were away from people when when we took the back to the Rialto Bridge. On our way we got MINT CHOCOLATE CHIP ICECREAM. That was my Venician highlight. I think by the end of the day I am typically too hot and sweaty and weighted down with purchases to enjoy places. I must start keeping that in mind so that we plan to do things I REALLY want to do in the morning. After the bridge we went back to the train station and headed to Verona where we would be staying for the night. We got a taxi and went to our hotel. Kristina and I went for a swim and then headed to bed for a nice 9 hour sleep. It was glorious. In the morning we took a taxi into Verona. It was almost as nice as Padova. We saw Juliet (of Shakespeare's classic) fictional balcony and then alley filled with letters to her. A square with a huge monument to Dante, also know as the Lord's Square for it's various Lord decorations. And a few other places that will be captioned in the pictures. We had some amazing pizza, hoped on a bus to the train station, and headed back to Napoli.
Now we are at Carney park. I am exhausted and have to get at 7AM to do morning care.