Part II: Verona, Italy September 24, 2019 (2 yrs in the making!) – The Story of Jana, Lorna, & Rose Marie…

Ok folks, here’s Part II:

And the adventure continues….we got up early and walked a few blocks to the nearest McDonald’s.  Was interesting for me, as we had to order through a kiosk and then pick up our order and drinks on the other side there.  Just after we got there, I guess the student tour entered and it was filled with “kids!”  Older teenagers I guess, maybe college-aged… we had a nice breakfast and had some time to stop for some souvenirs of Verona after, at a little store.  Bought a few postcards, magnets, and a mug for my neighbor who was taking care of my cat.  We managed to find our way back and decided we needed to pack up and get to the train station.  It was a sunny/cloudy day, so far.  We had wanted the owner to call us a cab, but for some reason, I still do not understand, he said he couldn’t.  I was afraid my limited Italian would be fruitless, so they said to just wait down by the taxi stand.  Ok, I was ready first, so I went down to make sure I could get a taxi and wait for the girls.

(I realized through this whole ordeal, I did not take any pictures!!)

Remember this was a Wednesday morning, about 9a or so.  Lots of traffic around and lots of taxis.  The taxi stand was just the other side of the Arena di Verona.  There were several people standing there waiting for a taxi.  The girls finally made it, the others were starting to give up, as no taxis were in sight!  Everyone left except for us and it was getting late.  There was this one poor guy from the middle east who had lost his passport and he needed to get to an embassy or something, we felt bad for him.  We waited a bit longer and then we finally gave up.  It was getting late and we were going to miss our train, if we stayed much longer.  I got out my trusty Google Maps again.  It seemed the train station was not too far away, so we decided to walk.  We did not have much choice.  Unfortunately, we did get turned around a few times and everyone we passed, we asked about a taxi and the few people I saw, kept saying the closest taxi was the train station, which is where we were headed!  As we walked, and walked, we realized we were definitely going to miss our train.  I contacted Daniela in a crisis mode, but she said she could not come and get us.  So, we kept trudging along.  I felt bad for Lorna, as she was hanging behind both Rose and I.  Every so often, we had to stop and wait for her to catch up.  After some more twists and turns, we finally made it to the train station – I swear we were walking for over an hour or more.  We were so exhausted by the time we got there!  We had definitely missed the train.  The only positive thing was that the train to Desenzano was like a commuter train and it left every half hour or so.  I had contacted Daniela and was concerned our pick-up time had changed, thinking we were going to be on a later train now.  Ok, THIS is bizarre…. As much as I had most everything planned down to the last detail, I somehow had sent Daniela the “wrong” time to pick us up from the train – or so I thought!!  Ironically, I had sent her the “right” information, so she had already planned to come and pick us up at the “later” time of our arrival!  So, all in all, it worked out well. Was it fate we missed the first train??

 

I was still not feeling all that well and was still taking it quite easy.  I was walking slow and Lorna, even slower.  It was a pleasure to finally meet Daniela and she helped us with the bags, etc. and she took us to our hotel.  Desenzano is a beautiful city.   The sun had come out and it was a gorgeous day.  I’ve already decided, if I ever go back to Italy again, I’d love to spend a few days around Lake Garda and maybe go around the perimeter of the lake in a few hotels.

Our hotel was very nice, although the room was not all that big.  The bathroom was almost as big as our room!  Daniela took Rose and I up to the roof view – very spectacular, although there was a slight haze over the lake.  Lorna was completely exhausted by the time we got to the room and just plopped in the bed and did not move.  I think Daniela had some bigger plans for us when we got there, but I was not feeling well and Lorna was stuck in the room, so instead, we had lunch at a restaurant next door to the hotel, and then walked up and down the boardwalk of the lake for a few hours.  Lunch was very nice, had pasta, salad, and wine.

Much to our surprise, Daniela’s English was very good!  She kept telling us she really did not speak English very well.  Let me tell you, her English was WAY better than our Italian!!  We got by pretty well and I threw in a bit of Spanish, which she also understood.  Every so often there would be a word she did not know, so Google Translate to the rescue!  We were out there for several hours and then stopped off at the little store where they sold gelato and bought a few snacks, to go along with our gelato.  We ate that, and went back upstairs to join Lorna.  We had also brought her back our leftovers.  She ate a little and her gelato and cappuccino we had brought back for her.  We were pretty tired after that, so we said our goodbyes to Daniela and she left, as she had to get back to Brescia, which was about an hour from there.  We wished we could have seen more of the city and surrounding areas, but things don’t always go according to plan – even as good as mine were!  Haha!

 

Our nap lasted til quite late and we really never ate any dinner and just snacked on the chips, etc. we had brought back to the room.  Later that night, I was feeling really, really, bad.  So bad so, that I was looking to see how I could leave early and go back home.  Unfortunately, there was no logistical way I could get back to any city to catch a plane and head back home early, so I just took it easy.  I almost went to an urgent care there!  I managed to have breakfast.  Rose had called Daniela and Daniela called the hotel and told them I was not feeling well and they might need to call a taxi to a hospital.  Luckily, there was one not too far away.  One funny little thing, the concierge person came over to me, not realizing I was the one that was sick and asked me about me – lol!  I told him I was the one not feeling well.  They were very nice.  I managed to have breakfast and a bit later Rose and Lorna came down to join me.  We sat there for a while, until I felt confident enough that I felt ok and did not want to go to the hospital.  Again, it was a beautiful day and a bit of the haze had lifted and I was able to get in a few more good shots of the lake. I was sorely disappointed in the weather though.  Although gorgeous, it was still hazy and you could not see the beautiful mountains, I knew were there!  (Luckily, Daniela had checked out the Hotel Aurora for us earlier and took some beautiful pictures – so I have included them as well!)

We had called the taxi and it was there to take us to the train station.  Very small little train station area.  We got a snack for later and then waited for the train.  Of course, the train was late…. But was glad when it finally got there and we were on our way back to Verona.  We had a few delays along the way there, also, but had nowhere to get to, so no big deal.

It was after 1p or so by the time we got back to Verona and we had a few hours to kill.  The Verona station is nice, so we ate at the little café and I bought some chocolate bars and had a glass of wine.  It was finally time for our train to arrive. It was nice to finally get on the train and relax a little, on the way back to Rome.  The last few days had been exhausting for both Lorna and I.  Rose, many years older than the two of us, was in much better shape!

It was late afternoon by the time we got back to Rome and our last hotel.  We had been so exhausted after the last walking tour, we had cancelled the last tour I had planned for Friday.  This last hotel was a bit strange, as it was encased in this grotto of sorts.  You had to go through this big gate with this security code and they hadn’t given it to us.  Luckily, someone was coming out and we got in.  They were a bit wary of us as we didn’t know the code, but I guess we looked harmless. Lol!  After a bit of confusion, this lady finally came down and took us up to the hotel, which we later found out, really only had like 4 or 5 rooms.  They had expanded and taken over this other area, also another hotel.  When we finally reached our room, it was really small.  It had a queen size bed and a twin size rollaway.  So nice Rose didn’t mind the twin bed!  We did kind of have a balcony, but it was dark inside the covered grotto area.  Not the best design.  We left the heavy drapes closed for most of the time we were there.  Again, a really nice bathroom.  Tiny fridge and coffee maker.

The room was kind decorated in an art deco style with mirrors and gold, and a diamond-like mirrored light fixture.

After a short rest, we went down for dinner at the little restaurant recommended and down the street from the hotel.  We ate outside. Had a nice dinner, then walked across the street to a gelato place.  Believe it or not, I was too stuffed to even have any gelato!  ☹

I think we turned out the lights shortly after that!

Next morning, breakfast was at 7a and we were up shortly after that to get ready, as it was only served until 9a, which I thought was not very long… for once, we got to enjoy breakfast and not have to run for a train!  Lol!  Breakfast consisted of a grouping of sunny side up eggs, lots of breads/sweets, rolls, of course cappuccino, various juices, some fresh fruit, etc.  It was pretty tasty.  We got there on the late side, but others were coming in after us!

It was a beautiful day, so we decided to explore the city!  I was so glad I had cancelled that other tour.  You always want to pack in as much as you can, so you can see everything… but this was really the only day we had of “had to ourselves” to explore what we wanted, without any other obligations – trains or tours!

So, we asked for some directions and they said we could go either right or left out from the hotel.  We chose left and started our walk up the street.  There were lots of people out, it was a lovely, sunny, Friday morning!  Shortly after our journey started, it seemed to slow down and this HUGE crowd of protesters gathered and were blocking the streets!  I guess you could say it was peaceful.  It mostly consisted of young people, college-aged, likely, holding signs about pollution and being a part of the solution, not the problem, etc.  We had planned on walking to St. Peter’s square, but apparently, that was where the crowd was going.  There were also polizia cars, trying to move the crowd along.  You could barely cross the street!  We finally gave up and did cross the street, as there were shops over there.  OK, we hit a few souvenir shops on our way back and I did a lot of “damage” at this one Murano glass store.  Nice older lady – found out (later when we went back) she was actually Jewish!  Bought 3  little Murano glass clocks, some necklaces, and little pendants.  Then as we made our way back to the hotel, I picked up a scarf, a few t-shirts, a purse, and I think that was it!  Did buy a few Murano glass pendants at the first shop.  😊

We got back, exhausted, but happy.  Rose was in such better shape than Lorna and I.  We had to keep yelling for her to wait for us!  😉  I’m sure we must have eaten something when we got back, but I can’t remember now.  (ok, it HAS been over a year! Lol!)  I do know we just rested and took a little nap.  I’m sure we had a snack of something.  We may have raided the little goodies in the room.  Lol!  After our rest, I kept thinking and thinking about that Murano glass shop.  Lorna was still tired, so Rose and I ventured out again.  When I went back, I bought those other items mentioned and bought myself a large necklace of Murano beads in amber/black.  Gorgeous of course, as well as pricey!  But, I figured, I may never come back here and what is a few more dollars spent!?  We got back and Lorna was still resting.  I think we decided to have an earlyish dinner and ate at a different restaurant down the street.  Inside, this time.  😊  Rose treated Lorna and I.  I had pizza, and I think Rose and Lorna had some kind of pasta.  We also ordered a bottle of Moscato.  I was still not feeling well.  (I had no idea at the time, my affliction was really acid reflux and all the tomato-based stuff I was eating, was what was killing me! – as I just found that out THIS January 2020!)  So, again, after dinner, they went for gelato, and again, I was not feeling too keen and didn’t get any.  I did take some pictures though!  😊  I didn’t even finish my Moscato! ☹

An early departure again, for us.  Again, I think we missed breakfast again, since our flight left about 11a and we had to get to the airport.  Luckily for us, this hotel called us a nice taxi, was more like limo ride, in a older model Mercedes or Lincoln.  Nice, sane driver, even in a suit.  We had no idea, we were so close to the coliseum! We had only gone a few blocks, and around a few corners, when it popped into view!  It was a sight to behold.  So, took my last picture on the way to the airport.  The driver took a bit of a scenic route to the freeway, through a park of sorts.  It was very pretty….

Since Lorna was not feeling well and walking a bit slow, and I was not my best, we requested wheelchairs for when we got back to Detroit.  They asked if we wanted them for Rome, as well, but we said no.  After our at least mile plus walk to get to the terminal, I wish we HAD asked for wheelchairs.  

We finally had a chance to get a bite to eat at a little café area near the gate.  I got a sandwich and a chocolate filled croissant for later, and a bottle of water.

It wasn’t long before we could board the plane.  Rose was not feeling well and wanted to upgrade to first class.  Luckily, I think there were only 2 seats or so left and she was able to get one of them.  So we kind of said goodbye and we boarded the plane.

Ah, finally on our way…. As luck would have it, there was a delay!  Like, an hour delay!  Oh man, I was so miserable.  I was having another attack.  Fortunately, at least the movies were working, so I chose some dumb movie, I don’t even remember what it was.  I was so miserable until we were finally airborne and I was able to get my prosecco!  It’s the oddest thing, they say that carbonated beverages are a trigger for the acid reflux, but the prosecco calms mine down!  So, nearly 2 hours of feeling miserable, I finally got some relief!  We were finally on our way.  Lorna and I were sitting next to each other and Rose was in first class.  Lorna put on a movie and then dozed off.  I did the same, on and off.  It was an extra long flight, with the hour delay on the ground, but I think the pilot made up some time, as I don’t think we were that late coming in.  I think Delta buffers in a lot of extra time, for delays, etc.

Our good friend Chris, picked us up from the airport and dropped us safely to home.  As always, there’s no place like home and I was so glad to get there and see my kitty!

 

All-in-all, we did have a good time and I hope Lorna and Rose Marie, agree!  I just hope, the next time, if there is one, I am a lot healthier!  No surgeries, 6 weeks prior, no acid reflux – trying to control with diet, was on Prilosec for like nearly 6 months, until I was reading and you really are not supposed to be on it for more than 2 weeks!?  And no more blood clots (this past January, so now on coumadin for likely life..).  Seriously, I’m so tired of being sick and doctors and hospitals!  I know I’m not the only one with health issues, but these past few years have been so rough, with my job depression, then the hysterectomy, the acid reflux, the blood clots (found another one in October on TOP of the other one that will never go away), and chronic, intermittent leg aches and pains from the blood clots.  I would just like to be able to go and enjoy myself and be healthy at the same time.  If I go again, I’d of course like to see Sicily, perhaps.  I’d also like to spend more time around the Lake Garda area.  It was so beautiful and the little town we stayed in was so quaint.  Of course Brescia is beautiful and I know Daniela was disappointed she could not show us around her city.  I love meeting my new Italian friends, Daniela, Dani, and Veronica.  Sadly, I missed seeing Veronica this time.  Would love to visit the Adriatic coast again, as well.  I know there are so many beautiful places to see in Italy and you can only do so much in a week or so.  Hopefully, the world will be a better and healthier place in the next few years!!

Thank you, Daniela, for being so gracious and understanding to Lorna and I.  We wished our health had been better and we could have done more while in Desenzano!  But it was lovely to just walk  along the lake and sit in the sunshine!

 

Until, next time???  Ciao a tutti!!  🙂 

 

Jana

16 thoughts on “Part II: Verona, Italy September 24, 2019 (2 yrs in the making!) – The Story of Jana, Lorna, & Rose Marie…”

  1. Jana-this was some story! I had to laugh at certain parts of it, because I share a lot of the same ailments. I had to give up coffee 30 years ago, along with a combination of tomato sauce with cheese. Found out I have a hiatal hernia which causes the acid reflux. I take a Aciphex for that. You can try Pepcid, I even give that to my dog who gets heartburn. I also have a blood clot disorder-I inherited the Prothrombin 11 mutation, 2nd worst one. Found that out through genetic testing. I’ve had 2 blood clots as well as a pulmonary embolus. So I am on Xarelto for life now. Started out on Coumadin, but like Xarelto much better because there is no blood testing involved or diet restrictions. So when I travel, my motto is better to be prepared and I have an entire bag filled with medicines. (I have a lot more going on with my health which I won’t get into now. But glad that at least you were able to see a little of Italy, and will go back again. I would love to meet Daniela, as she helped me to get the puppets to the boys 2 years ago. Thanks for this story.
    Susan Medal

    1. Hi there! Yes, blood clots are so scary!! Glad you enjoyed it. Yes, Daniela can work miracles! Glad you are somewhat ok! 😉 I was on Prilosec for a bit and I seem to be able to control it with diet. Thankfully, I can still eat chocolate! 🙂

  2. Thank you Dana it was interesting I felt as if I were walking along with you, Only made it to Italy 2 yrs ago I love Firenze & Sorrento the most,

  3. Jana, I want to tell you thanks for making all of our travel arrangements, booking hotels, trains and side tours. You were so brave to travel so soon after surgery. I really was worried about you. Thanks to Daniela for taking us to the hotel in Lake Garda and for showing us around that lovely city. It was a pleasure to meet her in person, she is a lovely person and a good friend. I had a great time after all, I was in Verona with good friends and our young men of Il Volo. Ciao!

  4. I’m a retired travel agent of 30 years. My advice to all my clients was to beware of those at the airport who will attempt to sell you rail tickets or special rates for taxis into Rome. Upon arriving in Rome you did the right thing buying your train ticket at the train station!! Never negotiate rail or taxi rates with individuals at the airport. If you take a taxi only use a metered taxi!!. There are many who will try to convince you otherwise but don’t fall for it.

    Be safe and wise and enjoy the Eternal City..

    1. Yes, you’re right, Virginia! But you don’t have to be out of country to be fleeced!! My daughter, niece and I went to see the Lion King years ago in Toronto, Canada and were approached by a person at the hotel, with a rickshaw who said he could take us to where the concert was for $45.00. We thought that was pretty good but when we arrived at the concert hall, he said it would be $45.00 each!!! $135.00 for about a ten block ride!!!
      We were not very happy about that, but what can you do?
      Buyer beware!

  5. Dear Jana, it is true I had prepared a nice program to spend together, that day on Lake Garda, I wanted to take you by boat on the lake, to visit the “Grotte di Catullo” which are a very famous place located in Sirmione del Garda , and Catullo was an ancient Latin great poet who lived from ’84 to ’54 BC.
    Unfortunately your health conditions did not allow us to do this program, but it was pleasant to be with you walking along the lakefront, having lunch together, in short, meeting friends with whom I have a relationship only via the internet, it was wonderful.
    Thank you for the compliments on my use of the English language, you are too good to me, yes I speak something, but very little and I can only practice it with you, so my use is very limited, but I am happy that somehow I can understand you and let me understand.

    When I saw you at the small station in Desenzano, it was a real pleasure, you and RoseMarie, exactly as I had seen you in the photos, but I must admit that Lorna amazed me, her look was completely different from the photos I had seen a year first.
    I couldn’t interact much with Lorna who was all the time in the room, too tired from the previous days, but chatting with you and RoseMarie was really nice and I must say you are right, RoseMarie is the one of us who is older but, using an Italian term “asfalta” all of us, which means that she is in crazy physical shape and surpasses all of us, she is a very straightforward woman and whom I admire a lot.
    And you Jana that “fegato” (in Italian means: what courage) that you had to face a journey after an intervention like this.
    The next day, when RoseMarie told me that you were not well at all, I got very scared and immediately called the hotel, I was about to leave and come there, when they told me you were better and all you friends were predicting the train. return to Verona. What a relief!

    Rereading all this, it made me remember pleasant moments, thanks Jana and next time, few things planned and more rest. A big hug from an Italian friend !! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    1. Amica mia, you are too sweet. You surprised me with your English. I hope I can attend more concerts soon. Ciao.

  6. Thanks again, Jana, for your very refreshing and informative telling of your journey with Rose Marie and Lorna. What a time you had!! But, meeting Daniela must have been great. I’m a little jealous, as I would love to meet her in person, too. Being my age, there isn’t much hope of that in the near future, so I’ll just have to live vicariously through your travels.

  7. Very nice article Jana. Even though you had alot of difficulties it was fun to read it. I would love to visit Italy someday. Thank you for telling us about all you adventures.

  8. Thanks a lot for the story, which I have read with pleasure. You guys did sure have some problems to deal with, but at least you all managed to have a fantastic experience at the Verona Arena with our guys :-). But you need to come back and see more of Italy at an easy pace!

    As I am relatively new here and yet have to experience the guys live, I do of course envy your great evening and not the least that you got to meet the guys up front and personally at an “Meet and Greet Arrangement!. But I am working on the project – and just to-day I have purchased a ticket for the first concert in Verona on 03JUN22. I am all excited! The concert is as such totally fully bookied in respect to good seats – but I managed to get a single seat on the 12th row on the floor. Meaning, however, that I shall be travelling on my own leaving my husband behind. Hence, I would love to know in due time, if someone else from your fan-site will be attending this concert and with whom I could meet up with prior to the concert. for a coffee/drink/chat.

    PS: As I would like to share Il Volo with my husband, we are presently likewise considering to fly down to Rome coming October 2022, as it seems that there are still some good seats available there. That would be great!

    Thanks again Jana for the story – and for replying my private request the other day. All the best – Kirsten, Denmark

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