What a beautiful Easter weekend the PashbyMauls have had! We have been so very blessed to have our dear friends, the Nguyens, visiting from Vienna for Easter. You’ll remember that these lovely people visited us last year for Easter as well, as they received the “Our European Family Award.” Day 75 was inspired by a lovely pre-Easter dinner that we had together at the Antica Osteria dalla Croce. Of course we have also enjoyed our beautiful countryside neighborhood, and enjoyed walks, feeding the geese at Lago di Fimon, going to Torri di Arcugnano for gelato, reading books, playing games, watching movies in front of the fire, and having an Easter Egg Hunt!
Naturally, today we wanted to go exploring. We decided on Verona as our destination because we needed the flexibility of having a stroller with little Olivia on our trip, who is 3, and although a confident and independent walker, may need some breaks during an all-day trip. Venice is a no-go with a stroller! If you are thinking of going to Venice with a stroller, bless your heart. Don’t do it, and don’t say we didn’t warn you if you disregard the friendly advice.
We hit a little snafu in our plan around 11:15am when the A4 autostrade running from Venice to Milan got super-congested because of an accident and a trip that would have taken 45 minutes-1 hour took 2.5 hours. All we could do was keep going, despite the signs in Italian imploring us to get off. We noticed that those who took the advice of the signs got SUPER stuck and actually couldn’t go anywhere because they were all waiting to pay their tolls. We finally managed to arrive and find parking in a newly opened city parking lot, Park Centro, which we would highly recommend because it was CHEAP! We ended up paying only €4 for 3.5 hours, which is a steal in Verona. As it was 1:30pm, our plan was to find some food. God was really looking out for us today and we were so lucky to stumble upon Pizzeria Leon D’Oro, which had a beautiful terrace and yard open. Drew was unhappy to hear me say that this is the best pizza I have had in Italy, even better than our local jaunt. But it was, and let the pictures tell you why:
Nourished and relaxed after our stressful traffic incident, we decided to brave Verona. It is Easter Monday here, meaning a holiday. I did understand that there would be a lot of people there because I brought my parents to Verona on Epiphany, but I once again underestimated the masses of people that flock to Verona when given the chance. What are they all doing, you ask? Well, they are mastering something that the rest of the world (especially Americans) needs to get on-board with: they are hanging out with their families and friends by walking, breathing in the sunshine and fresh air, and not worrying about work or a schedule. Simple! Although it was even more people then the La Befana celebration, they were still all pretty much doing the same thing: light exercise, talking, enjoying life, eating great food (especially gelato) and being together! If you ever happen to be in Italy on a holiday, you need to take advantage of your opportunity to people watch and try to assimilate into this glorious tradition.
But what did we SEE, you want to know? Well, we did happen to see a few sights in Verona: the famous Arena, Pizza Bra, Piazza Erbe, we walked past Juliet’s balcony but didn’t go inside because of the HORRIBLE crowd, and the Scaligeri tombs, plus the Dante statue and the infamous whale bone. We also managed to work in some superior gelato! Then we dashed away from the crowds and enjoyed a beautiful walk back to Park Centro along the river, which was a perfect end to our little tour.
This is a day that took stamina. We basically decided to go to a place with the same kind of crowd as Disney World on Christmas. We had several snafus, like the horrible traffic and the unprecedented amount of people. It could have been a terrible, stressful situation, but it was not because of our personal choices. All of the grown-ups along modeled the choice to be calm and not stress out. As a result, the kiddos were–for the most part–oblivious to the absolutely chaotic place we plopped ourselves down in.
Here’s my advice if you find yourself in an annoying/stressful travel situation:
- Make sure you’re fed, hydrated, and that you peed recently (preferably in a restroom).
- Take several deep breaths.
- Throw your list out the window. You won’t see it all. You may not even see “anything.” Best to just wander around as the crowd allows and take in what you can.
- Find a way to be content with those who you are with, enjoy each other, enjoy yourselves, and enjoy the locals’ sense of vitality.
Did you unexpectedly lose 1.5 hours in the car? So what? You have the rest of the day there! This advice may or may not work out for cruise ship trips where you only get 5 hours in a place, but try to apply it to any super-stressful travel situation. Your attitude is the only thing you can control in these instances. In short, roll with the punches over to the sunny side of the street.