Love stories, ice skating and ancient arenas in Verona
The travelling road show with my parents continued as we departed Venezia for another Venetian city, Verona. What was supposed to be a whole day in Verona turned out to be three quarters of a day at Venezia's train station due to some railway workers' strike. Melbourne, I'll never complain about your trains again. Ok, maybe I will. But not as much as I did that day about Italy's trains.
After being stuck at Venezia station since 9:00am, we finally arrived in Verona in time for a quick lap on the tourist sightseeing train and a late afternoon stroll through town before dinner. During our sightseeing stroll, we managed to pay a visit to Juliet's Balcony. Yes, we're talking about THAT Juliet from the legendary Romeo and Juliet love story. I don't know about you but I never knew that the Romeo and Juliet story was a true story. Turns out everybody else knew about this, even Dad. I must have slept through that history and literature class back in high school.
However, the legend of Romeo and Juliet couldn't hold a candle to the real gem of Verona - the Arena. Now, every city has a decent sized arena or stadium complex to host major events. But how many cities can say their arena is 2000 years old? And still in use? As it turned out, there was an event happening on the one and only night we would be in Verona. It was called "OperaPop. On Ice". As its name suggested, the event involved a mixture of opera performances and modern pop music, complemented by choreographed performances from world and Olympic champion figure skaters. We took advantage of the last minute discounted tickets and scored ourselves some seats about 5 rows from the stage.
The show itself was simply amazing. We were all blown away by the sensory overload of talent engulfing us. From the pitch perfect tones of the opera singers, to the gravity defying stunts of the skaters, we witnessed an event that will live on in our minds for a very long time. Another thing that will live on in our minds (and ears) for a long time were the constant screams of "CAROLIIIIIINNNNNAAA" coming from the rows of Italians behind us as the home grown favourite world champion skater, Carolina Kostner, wowed the crowd her endless spins and leaps on the ice.
So there you have it. From the lows of a malfunctioning train station in Venezia, to the highs of OperaPop in an ancient Roman arena packed with 8000 screaming Italians, we had enjoyed quite an eventful day. One we'll be talking about for years to come.