Thursday, August 04, 2005

Verona 2004

In the late summer of 2004, I joined two friends for four nights of opera in the magical city of Verona.
Because the train stopped somewhere between Venice and Verona, we were forced to take a bus that passed through every village, and dropped people off in the middle of cornfields.

I missed the fancy dinner where every lady received a boutonnier and I missed half of the Placido Domingo performance.
At the station, shamefully but at that hour with no hope for food, I grabbed a McD's and took a taxi to the Gabbia d'Oro hotel where I picked up my flowers and my ticket and hoofed it to the Arena.
I arrived just at intermission so they let me in, reproaching me in Italian for being late to such an auspicious performance.

The weather was so hot that we were not interested in taking day trips to Milano or Brescia. On the first day we did a thorough tour of the town and went to the museums and a couple of churches, climbed that hill, ran through the sprinklers...

After that we would just stroll about, watching and being watched. Beautiful people. We would spend hours at one gelateria, chatting, sketching, laughing and eating one gelato after another to stay cool. Tried a granita and was pleased with it. Ate lots of salad.

One afternoon I went clothes and shoe shopping alone for an infusion of Italian chic and I gave the girls a little fashion show back at the hotel.

In the evening we would return to the hotel to freshen up for dinner and go off to the opera.

We saw Aida, La Traviata and Il Trovatore. I saw it as a brief flirt with Verdi, who I will never like. After this I returned home with my heart intact and still in love with my Mozart.
But deep down, I am not all that keen on opera anyway.

Nevertheless, it was a special experience to sit in such a vast arena with thousands of people, thinking about the Romans who built that impressive structure thousands of years ago, and to feel the cool night air caressing my face.


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