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seeing Juliet in Verona

In every life, there comes a time when friends are indispensable, and today was one of those times. Last night, in this lovely apartment in Bologna, I had the luxury of taking a bath. I lay back and slid up and down between being nearly submerged and sitting upright, over and over. It was heaven.

And when I emerged, I had a livid red scratch across my lower back. There must be a rough patch in the tub, and as I slid up and down, I had scraped some skin off. It hurt through the night, and this morning, I needed it tended. But I could hardly see way back there, let alone apply a bandage. So I had to ask my friend Bruce to take a look. He did – and actually took a photograph so that I could see it too. (Which I will NOT be posting on the blog.) I found a First Aid kit here, and Bruce stuck a big bandage just above my bum for me.

What else are friends for?

Another great scene – when we got back from our walk late yesterday afternoon, we entered the vast doors of the apartment building and went to our floor. But we could not remember which apartment door was ours, the one on the right or the one on the left. The one on the right had the name of our landlady, whereas the other had some other name, so we tried to get into the one on the right, but the key did not fit. Bruce tried and tried, and so did I, and then I held my phone as a flashlight while he bent down and tried again. Luckily a nice man came home and told us we were trying to get into his apartment.

LOL. It was okay – he was the father of our landlady who lives in the apartment to the right, so he understood – crazy Canadians.

Today – Verona. A mild day, chilly in the morning, sunny later, a quick train ride, and there the city of the Montagues and Capulets, of the Two Gentlemen. And what a glorious place it is.

We did the Bruce Trail, as I call it, for he has been to the city several times and had our path mapped out. The Roman arena was closed, so we headed straight down the beautiful narrow streets to Juliet’s balcony, obviously not hers but in a building owned since the 1200’s by the family – But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. Then for a cappucino on the market square, and then to a series of churches – he got us the church pass, five churches for the price of two, though we only made it to three – to see various treasures, including a famous altarpiece painting by Mantegna and a famous battered fresco by Pisanello. Lunch by the river, outside with an incredible view – polenta con funghi and minestrone, another fave – more walking and looking and admiring. I kept seeing tight groups of handsome, laughing young men or a pretty young girl and saying, There are the Montagues; there’s Juliet Capulet.

But by then, we had done almost 20,000 steps; Bruce’s phone keeps tabs. We’ve been doing 20,000 almost every day. And now I know that when we get to 20,000, I’ve had it. So we took the long trek to the train station, and once more I was happy to pay the 20 euros to get us on an earlier train home. It was the milk train, a local with many stops, so I answered a lot of emails, including one from my boss at U of T and a series bouncing from France to Canada to a train in Italy. Amazing.

We got in just after 6. Hooray – time for the aperitivo, one of the best things about this fabulous country. From 6 to 9, in many bars, if you order a drink, you can help yourself to a selection of free food. Not exactly free – BK and I found a great place near our flat staffed entirely by young women, where we ordered two glasses of wine – both for me, since Bruce now does not drink – and ate our fill from a big selection, including eggplant many different ways, cauliflower in cheese sauce, tons of pastas. The wine, however, was 12 euros a glass, much more than a glass of wine usually costs. So our dinner was not free, but still, we had a great meal for 24 euros, and I had delicious Montepulciano d’Abruzzo to boot.

It’s heading for 8 and we are home, tapping at our separate machines. Already, many beautiful memories of this trip, but several special ones from today – Bruce carefully applying the bandage, our lunch in a lovely piazza, our aperitivo. There’s an art to successful restaurant finds in a strange city, and as Bruce says, you win some, you lose some. Today, winners all the way.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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