learned A LOT
I was only in Verona for about 6 hours but a lot happened. I got there and went to an office in the train station and asked where Casa de Giulietta was and she gave me some directions and told me what bus to take, and that it was about a 20 minute ride. Thinking I didn't need to spend 3 euro on a map because I got some pretty solid directions from this lady I just went to the bus stop and got on the bus. I didn't really pay attention to what was around me while I was on the bus, I paid more attention to the time, and after I had been on the bus about 20 minutes I took a good look at what was outside the bus and I was definitely not in the tourist area of Verona. I was in a more industrial area, where there were some apartment buildings and wider roads. I got off the bus and went into an esso and asked for directions. One of the men who was in there had a map but the map didn't even show where I was in Verona, he told me to get back on the bus that went in the opposite direction and to get off when I got to the stadium. I waited for the bus for about 40 minutes and got on and took it back in the direction I came, and got off at a stadium. I went to the only shop that was around there (which happened to be an 18+ type of store, SOOO awkward), and he said that it was about a 20 minute walk. So I started walking in the direction he told me to go in, and eventually I got to the old part that was filled with people who were obviously tourists. So after that I went into about 30+ shops and asked for directions. I would ask in Italian because Verona isn't a huge tourist town so I didn't think as many people would speak english there as they do in Venice. Of course then the people would think that I was fluent in Italian and give me directions in Italian, and so I would only understand about half of their instructions which is probably why I had to ask so many people. I was walking down this one alley when I saw two guys handing out flyers for something and they were young so I asked them if they spoke english, and they did, they were actually from england just in Verona for the summer, so they gave me directions to where I was going, and I started walking and got distracted by my favorite Italian store because I wanted a shirt from there and that store said everything was 50% off. So about 15 minutes later when I left the store one of the young guys from England like came over to see if their directions helped me and I told him I hadn't gone there yet, and he walked me down to Juliet's house and he asked me to have dinner with him after I said I couldn't because I had to get a train later (even though my train didn't leave until 10), I just really didn't want to because thats awkward haha. but I ended up having Gelato with both of them after Casa De Giulietta because I ran into them again. They were like dumb and dumber though, I couldn't handle them so I ate my gelato quickly and got out of there. Alicia Keys was playing in the stadium that night so where we were sitting we could hear her because it was basically an outdoor concert so it was sweet!
Casa De Giulietta is pretty, you can pay to go inside her house but the museum was closing by the time I got there so I couldn't. There were a lot of couples who would like stand there and make out. I felt like such a loser being alone there!! You can see the balcony, and there is a statue of Juliet, and a little memorial for her with flowers and stuff. The walls are amazing, their not like how it was in the movie. It's absolutely filled witth notes from people. I read a few of them thinking they would mostly be from women, but there was some very sweet ones from men too! Some people wrote like full pages describing their perfect man and how they wanted to meet him, and some wrote really nice simple things. There was one that said she was happy to be with her Romeo for 20 years now, so cute! I wasn't planning on writing anything but I figured I kind of had too because I was there so I wrote Juliet a little note on the back of a receipt I had from paying a speeding ticket in Calgary and stuck it on the wall with gum, so romantic!!!
After Gelato I was booking out of there pretty quickly to the bus stop and a bus came right away and I got on and asked the driver if that bus went to the train station, and he said it did. So I got on and again didn't really pay much attention to where I was going and ended up in a town that is outside of Verona, it got to a stop and I was the only person left on it and the driver said that the bus was done for the night. I was so shocked, I didn't know what to do, I wanted to freak out on him saying that he said it went back to the station, but with language barriers I didn't bother, not to mention if by chance he called the police on me or something I didn't really want to explain to Fabrizio and Silvia why the police had me. So I got off the bus and there was a supermarket close so I stood outside and asked people if they knew english, and I'm sure people did but didn't want to deal with a backpacker with tears rolling down her face. Luckily this VERY nice english man came out and eventually he called me a taxi, which cost me 15 euro. I ended up getting to the train station with 2.5 euro left in my wallet, so I had to resort to eating McDonalds because I was so hungry and they had 1 euro cheese burgers.
At the train station I had a bit of a scary experience, i thought i was going to get abducted!! I was on the train platform waiting and this black guy said ciao and I said ciao back, I didn't think much of it because that happens all the time here. Then he sat on the bench beside me and talked to me, and asked me if I was travelling alone and I very foolishly said yes, my first big mistake, then I told him I was taking the train to bassinno and he said he was going to bassino too, to apparently meet friends. We talked a bit more and then i said i was stopping at Rovereto (the stop I had to get off at) and he said he was visiting friends in Rovereto too and its not a town its just what the station is called so things werent adding up. It seemed to me that he just didnt know what he was talking about and stuff so I said to him that I was going to the washroom and I went away and checkd the screen that tells which train stops at which platform and the town my train was going to was actually called Bolzanno. So he didn't even know what the train he was apparently taking was called. as I was looking at the screen he followed me down and I was scared so I booked it away and went back to the platform. I decided to look for some backpackers who probably knew english so I could tell them what was going on and stay with them, but the train wasnt going to a tourist area so there wasn't anyone I could tell was going to speak english fluently and understand my problem. So I went out to the main area where the ticket desks are and looked for some type of Police or security but there wasn't any, probably because the train I was taking was one of the last of the night. I started freaking out a bit more but the train was going to be there in like 5 minutes so I had to go to the platform and I tried to hide myself a bit but then he came up the stairs so I walked the other way and stood at the other side of the stairs so I could walk down the stairs and up the other side if he came, which he did, but the train came so I couldn't go down because I would risk missing the train, which wouldn't have been a good idea at all. There was a couple guys my age that were speaking Italian and a girl also around my age too who wasn't with the boys but was near them and she was obviously Italian so I figured my best bet was to stay near them because chances are they knew some English from school. As we were getting on the train went behind so they would get on first and I could sit near them. When the train came the guy walked pretty far to go in the same set of doors as me, it was obvious what he was doing because he just stared at me and he walked past a couple other open doors to go inside the train. But he didn't look like he was going to get on the train, he didn't have bags with him, he didn't walk near the doors, nothing signaling he was really interested in getting on the train, so I felt a little relieved because I thought maybe he would just leave and not get on the train. Also I should probably mention that there is no one checking the tickets on the trains so it is very easy for someone to walk on a train without a ticket risking the chance of a random ticket check. I knew this before I came to Europe because I was warned about people asking travelers who are alone where they are going and it's easy for that person to also say that is where they are going as well. But anyways I sat in my own group of seats, on the train there is 2 sets of 2 seats that face eachother so enough seats for 4 people to sit and so I put my bags so that 3 of the seats were taken, and a couple minutes went by and he hadn't got on the train so I was relieved thinking maybe he went and go on another car, or maybe he's not taking the train. But then he did get on and he sat down in the open seat in my little pod. He started talking about how he was going to visit some friends in Rovereto and then go back to Verona later, but once again Rovereto is an Italian town, but not in the area that I was going, Rovereto is simply the name of a train station in another town called Trentino, where I was being picked up. I sat there and debated getting up and walking away and I almost didn't because I thought that would be rude, but finally I did. I sat in the seat across from the Italian girl, and across the aisle were the two Italian boys, but the black guy was behind us and the boys laughed because I think they had some idea of what was going on. Then the girl asked me if I wanted her to move her suitcase because it was right beside me and I said si but then I asked her in Italian if she spoke english and she did so I told her that guy was scaring me. She and I talked a bit and we were both were getting off the same stop so she said she would walk with me. The guy went and sat in another car and eventually when our stop came we got off but we didn't see him so I dont know if he got off at Rovereto. But fabrizio met me on the platform so I had him to protect me anyways. I told him what happened and he said that girls traveling alone really have to be careful! I am used to random people talking to me, it happens quite often both in Calgary and now here in Italy. Italian guys are a little sleazy and always try to talk to any girl, so it's usually easy to just brush it off as the way they are, and not give it a second thought. But there was just something about this guy that just wasn't right, I had a really weird feeling about him right from the beginning, so when he wouldn't leave me alone I got progressively more and more terrified. I have thought about this constantly the last couple days because it was so scary, and thought about what his intentions might have been? I don't know if he wanted to rob me because I'm a small female tourist who is probably carrying lots of money and probably couldn't put up much of a fight, or if there was other things he wanted from me, or maybe he was just a social person who was looking for a friend and maybe had good intentions? I don't really care, I can happily live the rest of my life without knowing the answer to this question. I hope though that if he had good intentions I didn't hurt his feelings by being rude and walking away from him.
Then Im reading a book about the Amanda Knox murder in Italy thing, and the guy who followed me around the train station looks a lot like the black guy named Rudy Guede whos DNA they found in the room where Meredith Kercher was murdered. That man was convicted and is in jail now so it obviously wasn't him but I was a little shocked when I was looking at the pictures in the book yesterday!
So Verona was more of a learning experience then a sight seeing tour. I learned that I really need to be more organized, and go to places having a plan. I also learned that I have to keep my mouth shut to shady characters!