I’ve managed to get down to a week between posts. Quite the feat. Last time I posted, I was unwinding in Palermo…
Over breakfast at the hostel, I met a delightful German girl, and we decided to check out the Palermo Catacombs. It is beyond creepy. It’s a small catacomb, but the walls are lined with skeletons, in their funeral finery, some still having skin attached… And many of them are held upright, as though standing there. There is also the fully preserved body of a dead toddler from the 1920s. A very, very creepy place.
We walked past Palermo Cathedral, which is a very impressive and beautiful building, but like I mentioned before, church fatigue has well and truly set in at this point, so I didn’t go inside. We wandered around for a while longer, we looked at a few other churches and palaces and the like, without going in, before heading towards Mondello and the beach, where we spent the afternoon.
Another travel day. Unlike in Naples, the owners of this hostel didn’t want me hanging around after checkout, so I took one last walk through the streets of Palermo. Then I hopped on another overnight ferry, this one much more comfortable than the last.
From where my ship docked at Civitavecchia, I caught the train back to Rome, before travelling on to Bologna. I wish I’d had more time in Bologna, it seemed a very nice place. I took in the main sights, including another cathedral, but the primary reason I was in Bologna was to taste a traditional ‘bolognese’ sauce, which is actually a meat ragu, served with tagliatelle or tortellini. It was fantastic, although I’m sure I’ve tasted similar at home.
Today I took another train, this time to one of my must-see cities. Venice. I arrived in the afternoon, and settled in, uploaded some photos and cooked enough food to get me through a couple of nights. Venice is EXPENSIVE. Worse than Paris or London.
A major sightseeing day today, I went to the Doge’s Palace, which I would honestly say is actually nicer than Versailles. Entry to the Doge’s Palace grants you entry to three other nearby museums. Well, they say three other museums, but they’re all in one building, interconnected, and only have one entrance. So really it’s entry to the Doge’s Palace and one museum with three themes. I saw the outside of the famous Basillica di San Marco, but the security guard was being arbitrary when choosing who was allowed to carry their backpack inside, and I didn’t much want to get back in line after walking a block to the cloakroom. Plus, what’s another cathedral?
Today, it is in fair Verona where we lay our scene. And I’m not going to lie, I was there for one reason. Verona is the city that Shakespeare’s famous tragedy Romeo and Juliet was set. It’s one of my favourites (and the subject of the greatest song of all time, Dire Straits’ Romeo and Juliet. I will fight you.), so I absolutely had to go there while I was in the region. I swung by the famous Roman stadium in the middle of town, like a smaller, pinker, Colosseum. But I had to go to ‘Juliet’s Balcony’, which is apparently the balcony that served as Shakespeare’s inspiration. There isn’t actually any evidence that Shakespeare ever went to Italy, despite many of his plays being set there, but it’s nice to pretend.
Which brings me to today. Today, I went to the Rialto Bridge, across the Grand Canal. It’s currently being restored, but is still impressive. I then, finally, ventured onto the canals themselves. In a Waterbus, of course, not the gondola that’s on my bucket list. Because a gondola ride costs €80. I wandered the city for a while longer, and decided to relax for a little longer at the hostel, before writing this very blog.
Tomorrow I’m spending twelve hours on a bus or something ridiculous like that. So that will be fun.