Since Fun Monday falls on Valentine's Day this week, our host for February, Molly over at Return of the White Robin ,gives us a chance to tell Valentine stories. She asks us to describe the best Valentine's Day gift we've ever received. Well Molly, I've given your question a good think and have to admit that I can't come up with a single Valentine's Day gift that I've received. Never fear though, I do have a rather good romantic story to share. How about Juliet's wall of love letters in Verona, Italy? And a little tour of Venice, the city of love?
A couple of years ago I enjoyed a tour of several European countries, Italy being one that I enjoyed most. Our first stop in Italy was Verona, the home of Shakespeare's star-crossed young lovers Romeo and Juliet. We were looking for romance both medieval and modern. From the town square we walked down one street in particular which was lined with couture shops for everything from the ultimate black dress to these fantasy wedding gowns. Italian men and women window shopping in this area were walking advertisements for Italian fashion.
Not far off the square, however, our attention turned to the most romantic balcony of all, Juliet's. It was here in a narrow little street in Verona that two young lovers pledged their ill-fated love. Since the 1930s, lovers from all over the world make the pilgrimage to this site. On the door, and through the passage leading to Juliet's balcony,
lovers leave graffiti amore.
The messages on the passage walls tell of love lost and found. In the courtyard it is customary to rub the right breast of the Juliet statue for luck in love. Notice that it is worn from the constant touching. Every year before Valentine's Day all the graffiti is powerwashed away to make room for next year's collection of lovers' wishes.
Late in the day we left Venice and travelled east to the small port city of Treviso on the Adriatic Sea where we boarded a ferry for Venice Lido. As we waited for the ferry we were delighted to watch this bridal party as they got on a launch to take them to the waiting cruise ship for their honeymoon. I just wish I'd been able to get a photo of the bride's shoes complete with organza bows at the ankles!
The fashionable Lido Beach was our base for the Venice and Burano leg of the tour. Our hotel, Le Boulevard, was aptly named because it was in the center of the beach action. It was also one of the most interesting accommodations for me. When you travel single, the rooms are often not the greatest, even though you have to pay a hefty single supplement. But sometimes you get a pleasant surprise. My room at Le Boulevard fit that bill. It was on the top floor and when I first opened the door my spirits dipped because there were no windows--how claustrophobic. And then I spotted two large skylights. A little tinkering with the blinds and I was able to sleep under the Italian stars for two nights--nice! This photo was an early morning view along Le Boulevard.
Perhaps the most romantic symbols of Venice are these gondolas with their black ad white striped shirted gondaliers making their way through the narrow canals of Venice. This photo was taken from the Rialto Bridge, one of the oldest parts of Venice.
So Molly, while I can't claim any special Valentine Day gifts, I do have some great travel memories of travels to romantic places. I even left a love letter on Juliet's wall. Nobody needs to know that it was to Willie the pit bull saying that I missed him and hoped to be home soon! :-)