“Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene”
So starts the Prologue of Romeo & Juliet of William Shakespeare.
Yesterday morning I was supposed to wake-up at 6.30, to get ready and catch the train to Mantova, where we were to visit Palazzo Te. I really wanted to go there; mainly because its director, who invited us in person, is a really kind and caring person and I had enjoyed his guidance before at the Klimt exhibition. However, I had fever yesterday and took a medicine before going to bed, which eventually made me sleep longer and miss the train.I went to the train station and caught the next train. It was going until Verona, there I was going to take another train to Mantova. The train arrived there late, there was only two minutes before the departure of the second one, which I consequently missed. The next departure was more than an hour later. I would have arrived Mantova only to say hi, goodbye.
I am hardly a stubborn girl; but I have some strict opinions about getting what you come for. I had come that far and Mantova’s name has been branded in my memory as “the city where Romeo was exiled to.” Romeo and Juliet has always prickled my head, I have read the text, seen movies, musicals, have always envied to see Verona. Now that I was already in there, instead of returning to Venice, I got out of the station to get a tour in the city, see the famous House of Juliet.
You know what they say, “hope for the best; but expect the worst.” And if there is one thing I’ve got accustomed to in last weeks, that is ‘expecting the worse’. Since I love discovering by myself, I decided to linger a little in the city, not more than two hours, just not to return before seeing.
If Venice is in Italy, Verona must be another country. I really loved it and could hardly bring myself to get the train to Venice at the end of the day. Finally, something is as good as promised.
It didn’t seem nice only because it was different or because I spent just a couple hours there. The city is great in every sense. People were so nice that they didn’t even let me pay for the bus ticket, just because they wanted to be welcoming to me, being a tourist. It is such a pity; since Verona is known for not much more than Romeo and Juliet. That is just a little part. The last time I felt that joyful was when I got back home during Easter break. Those broad avenues, wide, light colour buildings… Smell and hear the motion, the life flowing around. The soul of past dissolved in that of today. You are not captive or forced by the city to be a part of its age. You are free to taste, to belong to whichever age you wish, be it ancient or new or both at the same time.
It’s a pity though, for I had forgotten my camera at home. I can’t wait for guests to come visit me here, so that I can take them to Verona each time. It takes about three hours and the train is very comfortable.
I don’t know whether money can buy happines or not; but if you are longing for some free space and fresh air, a touch of a city in motion, you can have them with a train ticket for a price of seven euros. If you happen to be around, don’t miss it.
By Eda Güngör