Today was another travel day. After checking out at 10 a.m., we all made our way to the Mantua train station, about a 20-minute walk from the hotel. I showed my usual lack of directional abilities by leading JoAnn, Alan L. and Thelma in the totally wrong direction for a few blocks before I realized my error. They now know that me walking fast just means that I get lost faster :(. Other groups trickled in over the next little while as we had plenty of time before our 12:28 train to Verona.
Darryl made the train reservations back in Canada so he picked up all the tickets and divvied them out to everybody. The ride, taking about an hour, was comfortable and we even broke open a couple of bottles of wine to make the journey even more enjoyable. The conductor just shrugged. I guess having a wine and cheese picnic on public transport is normal, with tourists anyway.
It was another 20-minute walk to our hotel, the Hotel Verona, a nice modern hotel in the downtown. Our room not only had another big towel warmer but we had 2 balconies! This is important when you have clothes that not only need washing but drying. While we were unpacking, a horrendous roar came from the street. Apparently, they were having a rally car race or exhibition, because about a dozen of the little roaring beasts drove past. After the noise of last night, I wasn’t looking forward to another night of street racket but they faded into the distance and weren’t heard from again.
Al and I went for a walk to check out the immediate area. The arena is impressive, as are the extensive city wall fortifications from Roman and medieval times. Even though the temperature was 21C, Al and I were the only people wearing shorts and sandals. Maybe the Italians considered this to be cold? We finally saw one other person wearing shorts in the distance but it turned out to be Doug :/. On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at a nearby sidewalk patio for a beer and slice of pizza and bought a bottle of wine for later. You never know when you will need a bottle of wine.
Later that evening, 8 of us went for supper at Ristorante Greppia, located in an alley near Juliet’s house (and famous balcony). It was a lovely, warm night so we ate outside in the alley, as usual shuffling their tables and chairs to accommodate the size of our group. The atmosphere, the service, the food, the wine and the company all were superb – this is a great restaurant! Being Italy, there was no problem finding a gelateria on the way home for our preferred desert fix 🙂