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Workin the World The 4 month trip that lasted 5 years .. all the adventures from Workers final year o/s and the trip back to Oz.

Where For Art Thou Romeo

ITALY | Tuesday, 21 August 2007 | Views [2232] | Comments [2]

Leaving France behind, we made our way into the home of pasta, pizza and animated talkers: Italy. I had been to Italy previously and was not really bothered whether I made it back there or not, however, as soon as you get your first illy coffee, gelati or pizza slice, you wonder how you ever left. Even the food and coffee in the service stations is sensational.

French - Italian Border

Stop for Laaaaaaaaaaaadies

The plan for Italy was to stop in Verona for lunch then make our way over to Slovenia however the hangover from Monte Carlo prevented this so we decided to find a place to stay for the night and to attack Verona first thing in the morning. Driving off the motorway in Italy is an experience in itself, the streets are not lit, the signage is non existant and very, very good looking prostitutes are scattered along the side of the road. The prostitutes actually proved to be a source of great amusement for the weary travellers (well for this weary traveller), where did they come from? How did they get there? Who would stop for them out here in the middle of nowhere? Growing up in Australia, in a family where long road trip holidays are the norm (my mother once sat with me on her lap for 22hrs as a 2 year old across the Nullabor), you become pretty resourceful as a kid. In fact, I believe it is this childhood experience in most young Aussies that places us as one of the leading drinking game creating nations. However, never in my life had I played ‘spotto’ with prostitutes, only in Italy (or perhaps the freeways outside of Amiens).

For those of you who have never been to Italy before, it is an amazing country, from the sun drenched coastlines in the south and the skiing in the Alps, to the sheer beauty of the Amalfi Coast, Cinque Terra and Tuscany, the landscape changes in a matter of kilometres in parts leaving you in wonder as to how so much beauty could be packed into one ‘knee high boot’ (although the aforementioned prostitutes would probably argue this point).

After a nice breakfast in our suitably Italian named ‘Hotel Elephant’, we drove into Verona braving the Italian traffic, mind you the level of road craziness seems to dissipate the further you go from Rome, so it wasn’t all that bad. The first time I was in Italy I was so in awe of the place I failed to actually give any proper thought or appreciation to the contributions they have made to the world, not in terms of great works of art etc but in terms of normal every day life. Pizza and pasta of course are the staple diet of most people aged 20-26 who live in share housing, in fact every country I have been to, Asia included, will have Italian dishes on their menu to cater for the ‘fussy eater’. Road systems are a legacy of the Romans, in fact many of the major roadways in Britain still use old Roman paths, as is mass irrigation, it is quite amazing when you sit and think about it, even more so when you see the state of Italy today, unorganised chaos would best sum it up. However, much like when Mr Burns was advised he had every disease known to man, in fact even some new diseases they discovered in him alone, in just the right amounts so as to not kill him, the chaos in Italy seems to be in just the right amounts to keep life running smoothly, as long as you can get a coffee and a cigarette, everything else seems to be ok.

Verona itself was an amazing city, home of the Capulets and Montagues from Shakespeare’s famous tale, Romeo and Juliet. Now also famous for where Bunny proposed to Amelia, a tale of love, which is sure to eclipse the Bards trashy musings. I was surprised at how beautiful Verona was, with its own Coliseum (used during summer for classical concerts), Montresor Palace, and a rambling old town, it has all you would want from an Italian city (Gelati, Pizza & Pasta) with less tourists.

Our first stop was to check out the Colosseum, which sits in Piaza Bra, dwarfing all in front of it, after the obligatory picture with some Roman centry, we made our way through the tight, cobbled streets to the home of the Capulets and the famous balcony from where Juliet stood. The tunnel leading into the courtyard is covered in graffiti (as well as pieces of chewing gum and band-aids for some reason??) of people declaring their undying love for each other, fortunately, however, the graffiti, which once covered the front of the house, has been cleaned off leaving a great view of the famous balcony. For those of you unaware the story is said to be based on 2 real families who were at war with each other for centuries, the story was first documented by a few Italian writers, it was then translated into French, after which it made it’s way to England, where the Bard got his hands on it, saw it had all the makings for a classic tragedy and put his own spin on it. In fact, the ‘official’ explanation provided by the €1 handsets in the tunnel, claims Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet as one of the greatest examples of plagiarism in history.

The Colosseum

Roman Sentry

Getting close to Juliet - the balcony is in the background

After having the standard picture grabbing the boob of Juliet’s statue we headed back out into the old town and wandered through some lovely markets (complete with real, functioning Pinocchio’s), got a beautiful foccacia and shopped in the designer stores, until the time came to jump back in the car and head over to Slovenia. However, before we could leave Italy and on Soph’s orders, we had to stop for Pasta. According to the map there was a lovely town on the border, complete with castle so the decision was made to pull in there, unfortunately if you are wanting to eat anywhere in Europe between the hours of 3-6pm, you either have to get a stale sandwich or kebab, so, after driving around for a while, going to Lidl without enough money (much to the dismay of the angry Italians behind us) and getting lost a couple of times we eventually made the border where once more we were waved through without so much as a glance in our direction.

If you ever want to traffic drugs, people or even plutonium, then drive a car through Europe. You are lucky if the border patrol guards even take the time to look up from their book before telling you to hurry through. It almost seems like you are imposing on their time by even stopping “well what are you waiting for mate, can’t you see I am up the part where Harry Potter and Voldemort battle for control of Hogwarts!”.

So there you go, a brief stint in Italy, a truly amazing country and one I will definitely get back to one day (perhaps for the wedding of my good mate Horse/Jigger/Rourkey etc etc, an event for which I am supposed to be ‘the official photographer - wink, wink, nudge, nudge). Next stop Slovenia ...

Tags: On the Road



The gum had me perplexed as well! I later found out that people write love notes on paper then stick it to the wall with gum. When the wind blows the paper flies off leaving the resulting stack of gum. Disgusting isnt it! Years worth of saliva in that one little gap!

Glad you enjoyed Verona as much as we did. It truly is a beautiful place! Love your stories and photos. Looking forward to catching up soon!!

  Amelia Sep 20, 2007 2:40 AM


LOVE the photos - they are great. Reminds me of summer in the middle of danish autumn. Makes me want to travel again, but must wait for 08.
BTW - I think I'm the only subscriber of your blog. I can recomend www.bloglines.com

CIAO, bello.

  Mirjam Sep 28, 2007 7:34 PM

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