March 28th-March 30th
Kiara and I took the train early Saturday morning to the north of Italy and spent the afternoon in Bologna. It was our first time on the frecciarosa fast trains and certainly will not be our last. We have heard nothing but good things about all the Bolognese specialties and decided to spend half of our day wandering the town and trying out those delicacies for ourselves. After many recommendations we had a great restaurant we wanted to try but couldn’t find it. Because the time of our train departure for Verona was in just over an hour we didn’t get to eat the foods we traveled there to eat. A bit of a disappointment, but we still walked the entire town in the three morning hours we spent there before leaving for Verona. There are dozens of churches that exist on almost every block in Bologna so we were kept busy during our walk. Along with the churches there were many market-style booths and little boutiques that we explored.
Upon our arrival to Verona, we walked right into the old part of town; a difference from our many visits to the province of Umbria, where no town is on the same latitude as the train station. There were no funicular’s needed this time around and we both appreciated the ease of walking straight into the heart of the city. During our time in Verona we saw all the main sights but my favorite part was renting two bikes and spending each morning biking down the river. We were blessed with wonderful weather all three days of our trip, and we definitely took advantage of it. We tried some regional wines, new to us, and plenty of gelato sitting by the water. We explored most areas of the old part of town because of how easy it was (and quick) with the added wheels.
Juliet’s house has a mailbox on it, and just like the movie Letter’s to Juliet you can write ‘her’ a letter asking for love advice, or guidance or whatever related to love that you wish to say and she will respond! The women who respond for Juliet are called her secretaries, and with some funds from the city of Verona, they respond to every letter. Kiara and I had coffee and cornetti and each wrote her a letter. I think we are both anxious to see if and when we get a response. Considering I wrote my home address as the return one, and won’t be home for another two months, I hope it takes at least that long! Otherwise, I may have some explaining to do to my father.
The rest of my time here at JFRC will be spent in Rome, until classes end and I travel independently for May. I think seeing and appreciating not only Rome but also Italy is a really unique advantage of this program that more students should use to their benefit. The trains can be relatively inexpensive, and where better to practice your Italian skills than here? I am looking forward to exploring every corner of Rome that I haven’t been able to make it to yet, and continue to see other parts of Italy in the next month. Not many people can say that they stood under Juliet’s balcony, just as Romeo did centuries ago.