120515 Stresa – Venice 15 May Tuesday

We have another early start as we need to travel from the west at the top of Italy to the east on the coast.  However, the highway is very good with 3 lanes all the way.  There are more trucks and lorries than cars on the highway transporting Italian produce around the country.

We are arrive at Verona around 11:30 am and our guide meets us at the bus parking area.  The main destination where all tourists go to in Verona is Juliet’s House of Romeo and Juliet fame.  The streets are crowded with tourists, so deep, it is hard to find a spot to set up the tripod to do the videoing.  The ‘balcony’ is in a small piece of street in a busy arcade.  We are given a short amount of time to take pictures standing beside Juliet, the statue.  Her breast is smooth from all the tourists, both male and female, fondling her.  Oh well, Romeo is not around any more so someone has to do it.

We visit Romeos house, very plain.  This town thrives because Shakespeare wrote a play about an ‘in love’ couple years and years ago, from England.  The souvenir shop is teaming with tourists buying trinkets, padlocks, key rings, magnets, pins, aprons and whatever you can imagine.  Just up the street, a young girl has a sewing machine on the sidewalk, sewing your name on a heart or piece of cloth so you can attach it to something of your own – 5 Euros.

We visit the city square.  This is non-other than a place to sell souvenirs to tourists.  Along the small narrow roads leading to the Roman arena, there are expensive looking clothes shops with well-decorated windows.  The colors are not drab dark shades but vibrant clean looking, and exciting blends.  Our favorite is the ‘Colors of Beneton’ shops.  They are the most colorful in Italy.  However, the shops are not for those who are happy with Target and even Myer prices, for they are for the rich.  Fortunately, Lyn is not feeling rich today.

At the Roman Arena, we find a well-kept relic.  The locals compare it to the Colosseum of Roma as being in tact and useable.  There is to be a concert and the stage is being set for the 20,000 who will be entertained here.  Seat prices are around 2-300 Euros each.  The best seats are up the back but not high up.  From here you can look at all the big-ticket people straining their necks past the person in front of them just so the people in the higher seats can ‘see they are in the expensive seats’.  Often, there are Rock Concerts with Madonna performing in September and Lady Gaga currently being negotiated with for a concert in 2013.

We have lunch at the Piazza Bra before boarding our bus for a 2-3 hour trip to Venice.  Each popular city has a checkpoint for buses to be approved to enter the region.  They want from the driver to provide details of all his passengers: where they have come from, what is their nationality, how long they will be in the area, all to be approved by fax.  All this holds us up around Italy a number of times during our tour.

Eventually, we have reached Venice proper, and we start out like the locals; on our feet and in boats.  From our bus, we gather our ‘cabin luggage’ and walk to the water taxi for transporting to our hotel, 30 minutes away.  Our main luggage goes in another water taxi.

Our accommodation is Hotel Danieli, overlooking the main area where gondolas leave from, just along from St Marks Square.  Quickly, we check-in and board a gondola for a 30 minute experience around the canals.  One of the gondolas has our entertainment and his voice sounds great with the walls of buildings being the acoustic device.  We expect that our suitcases would be at our rooms on our return but some of us have to help the porter to distribute them to the rooms before going out to a delightful meal in a ‘restoranti’ down the narrow alleyway from St Marks Square.  We retire around 10:00pm.

This blog has had around 700 hits per day for the last week and yesterday it got to 904, so I assume you are enjoying the daily posts.  I get up at 4:30am each day to put them together and fix the photos up before publishing the work.  Lyn has taken 1200 stills and I have over 800 shots of video – I don’t know how long the total video is but it is probably up around 4 hours by now – much editing to do on our return.

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