Friday, December 7, 2012

The tiger woman in Verona

We were so happy to find Katell as our couchsurfing host in Verona. On the first day she brought us around the city. Quite hungry after the visits. we found it difficult to get good and cheap food in the old town. We passed by a Christmas market, in which a German sausage bun with sauerkaut sold six euro and turned us away. Manu took us to try our first panini, which was just a piece of kabab bread with ingredient of choice. It was not cheap. Mine with salami ham with cheese cost four euro, which gave better food in Hong Kong, where as local we know good and cheap gourmet. French Katell did not like that fast food. I understand that (as Chinese I shared that too but I was too hungry). After the meal we saw an old city gate. Then Katell drove us to her home.

She kept saying that it was a small home but to us it was big enough for a family of four. It even had a garden. There we met her two puffy cats, which are also new to the home (3 months). I made some dinner, shared her interest of vintage car and her work in printing company for fashion catalogue. Personally I enjoyed her car magazine and her interest of vintage car. There was even a vintage car parade trip from Milan to Rome and back. It could be fun to do so. Maria was more interested in the printing work. The catalogue was indeed very beautiful and in high quality. Manu had to work at night in a restaurant and missed our dinner. I made stir-fired vegetable noodle with sour sauce. 

After dinner, Katell was so kind to take us see Verona night. We latter knew that she had a very busy week of work and was a bit exhausted, thus were touched by her hospitality. We saw the nightline of the old city. It is beautiful.
I am satisfied with the jumping star out of the Colosseum photos

That night we also went for a small milonga. We became the youngest couple there. The DJ was terrible and did not keep us long. That ends our first day in Verona.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Juliet’s sticky gum in Verona

The Brescia-Verona bus went slowly under the gloomy sky but it was still better than two days ago when we passed the same Simione. This time we saw some sun shining onto the more peaceful lake. We saw more grape tree along the way. The northern part of Italy also produces wine. We had had the luck of drinking organic locally produced red wine when we couchsurfed in Patone. After two hours we were in Julia’s and Romeo’s home Verona. It was still a gloomy cloudy day when we arrived the train station. We felt fortunate to be received by Katell, an energetic woman doing the first hosting. She drove to the station to pick us. As French she came to Verona because of loving the place and then found a job. We were amazed how she could do in the current Italian economical situation. She does it and seems to enjoy her life there.

She asked where we would like to go and we did not have much idea. A city tour would be good. Although we had some plans in mind to visit nearby place such as Mantova, it seems impolite for us to request given that the gas price is high. Katell took us to Castel Vecchio, then we tried the apperitivo (Italian happy hour with drink and snack) nearby so I could go toilet. Then her boyfriend Manu came. We later knew that they knew each other not long ago and we witnessed the two loving birds enjoying Verona.

After we visited the ancient bridge we went into the old city. We saw a Rome collesium renovated to a theatre. The one in Rome is still a ruin but this one is usable in summer for opera. There was a steel structure of jumping out star. Then we were brought to a dark alley between buildings. The walls of the alley were full of graffiti with names and hearts. They were so densed to be legible. The alley led to a small inner garden, where a woman statue stood. People queueing up to sexually harass the statue for photos by grabbing right boob. On the browny oxidized statue there was the shiny bronze right boob. Katell asked me to do the same for photo. I felt a bit uneasy because 1) I did not feel horny enough to harass a statute when I am more sexually aroused by my wife. 2) at that time I guessed people did that for love. Why do I need that when I have love already ? Katell encouraged us again. With uneasiness we did the touristy thing. It was just ruining my traveller’s image and I wish Maria not upload the picture to facebook. Later I asked Katell the meaning behind grabbing the boob. She said it was for luck. What a fuss ! Because of Shakespere’s writing a story of the tragic couple who might be real (but of different names, there were million couples of such tragic endings or even worse in history, including China) made this place unique and attracted tourist coming to do stupid things.It also included the waste of locks tangled in the gate, the fake begging posture under the balcony in the garden, and the most disgusting was to put eaten gum onto one wall and the gate sticking post-it or even writing names on the harden gum.

Who knows the curse of gum stick us to Verona. Maria torn her collateral ligament on her right knee during skiing. We went through the six hour wait at Italian hospital. We stayed two more days than we planned there. Even when we pushed ourselves to Venice, I still have to go back to Verona to rent the wheelchair for Maria. We also had to plan our trip back to Verona for picking up the bags which Katell was so kind to keep for us and also returning the wheel-chair.

I don’t think it is because of my disgust at the gum that I was revenged. The gum was just too sticky and kept us to the old city, which was still beautiful and Katell made that more so.