Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Today we had a bit of trouble getting out of Verona–we kept taking turns that led us down one way streets not in the direction of the Superstrada. Finally we got out of the city (we figured out later it would have been a snap if we made a sharp left onto the main street right outside our apartment, but we never got to use that trick) and made it to the road to the Parque Giardino Sigurta. We’d decided to go here because it was a change of pace from visiting towns and we were afraid the girls were getting bored. The Parque is a nice set of gardens open to the public since 1978, and Italian families bring picnic lunches there and spend the day. After we arrived, we hurried to catch the train tour that gives an overview of the gardens. We got to sit in a train car filled with young Italian children on a field trip (much preferable to the car filled with elderly German touristssmoking cigarettes!). From the train we saw the pond with the turtles in it so we walked there later. On the way we saw views of Borghetto and cows and beautiful Italian landscape. Once at the pond we got a closeup of the turtles as well as lots of sightings of praying mantises (praying manti?) and lizards. The girls were very happy. However, it was past lunchtime and I was concerned about the nearby restaurants being closed, so we headed back to the car and out to Valpeggio Su Mincio, which our guidebook said is known for good cuisine. Well, we’ll never be able to tell you because apparently Miercoli is the day when the whole town is chiuso. It was becoming a safe bet that if we chose to visit a village, it would be that village’s closed day. Getting a bit panicked (and a lot hungry) we headed to the next town on our list, Borghetto. Borghetto is just about the cutest little village I have ever seen, picturesque doesn’t begin to describe it. It was built over the Mincio river in the 1400s to house mills forwheat and rice grinding. The old waterwheels (now non-functional) are still there, and the old medieval bridge is largely standing. Fortunately, in Borghetto there was an Enoteca that served food that was open, and it had a cute dining terrace overlooking the river. Not really the kind ofplace you’d normally take children but these were desperate times. As this was the only restaurant for miles around that was serving food it was packed and we had to wait a long while for service. Charlotte and I amused ourselves by pushing the stroller up and down and up and down the only “street” in town. Once we got our food and wine it was great, and everyone’s mood improved once our tummies were full. After lunch we got gelato and then walked the long way back to our car, past this great villa and very friendly Irish Setter (I think he had his eye on Genevieve’s ice cream). I think that’s what I want to do, move to a scenic town like Borghetto and live in a grand villa….. We fed the rest of the ice cream cones to the fish and then went to visit the Castello in Valpeggio su Mincio. It was very hard to figure out how to get up to it and once we did we discovered that despite what it looked like from below it was largely still in ruins. But Genevieve was happy to walk on the walls and we got some more photos of the countryside. By now everyone was pretty tired so we headed back to our apartment. Once there, Genevieve and I roused ourselves enough to go to the clothing store around the corner because they had a shirt I liked in the window. All their clothes in this store came in one size. Fortunately I am that one size but I wonder what you do if you aren’t? And I learned another thing about most Italian stores–what they have in the window is what they sell in the store, unlike here in the US where the window displays are but a sample of what you will find inside. After I got my shirt, we went home for (you guessed it) dinner, bath and bed.