Tom and Linda's 2011 Europe Trip

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Padua & Verona

It was a cold day when we arrived in Padua by train from Venice. We left our backpacks with the baggage check at the ferrovia (€7) and walked.






Our main goal in Padua was the University, founded in 1222 in defiance of the Church by men of Free Thought. They taught anatomy by dissection of the cadavers brought in from the next town - strictly forbidden. Copernicus was here, and Galileo taught here for 18 years.


The students were out on the sidewalk doing some hazing thing that included caricature cartoons and alcohol.

We wandered around inside for a while. Bits of old architecture hung on the walls, memorials to the fallen in two World Wars. Lots of bicycles ans scooter. General University atmosphere, which is always inspiring.



We walked over to the Piazza della Erbe and caught the last of the morning farmers' market.





Had a little lunch sitting at a table in the sun and warming up.





We walked back past the Post Office, where I intended to finally get my postcards from Santorini in the mail, having bought Italian postage at a Tabachi and pasted it over the Greek stamp. But we could not find a place to post a letter. At the Post Office. I ended up carrying them back to the train station where there was a box.

Tickets to Verona, 2 for €13, 2nd Class on the slow train, 85 minutes.

We shared our car with several young people who seemed to be students, perhaps commuting for school.

We arrived in Verona at about 4:30 PM, figured out transportation and got a bus to town from the station. Accidentally got off one stop early, causing more confusion.

Once we figured out where we were, we headed for the best hotel deal on Rick's list, Hotel Torcolo, where we found a cozy double for €70.

While checking in with the cheerful and helpful Catarina, I mentioned that we had found them through Rick Steves and she gave us 2 hours of internet free.

It's a sweet little room. Queen bed, tables and lamps on both sides, decent sized shower, although the bathroom is barely big enough for that, sink, toilet & bidet.


We rested in the room for a bit, then went for a stroll. Found a young vocal group harmonizing in the Piazza Brá in front of the Arena. Tossed a coin in their guitar case.


Strolled on down to the Piazza Erbe where there were vendors with booths still open. It was quite chilly out and I bought a pair of leather gloves for €8. And of course there's the gelato.



Dinner in a café afforded a view of the passagietto going by. We started to join them on the circuit, but my stomach was quite unsettled and we ended up taking a shortcut back to the hotel.

The man now at the desk spoke no English, but I remembered that 23 is "venti-tré," so we got our key and headed upstairs. I then spent too much time in the bathroom. We both checked email and relaxed and I tried to recover.

We liked Verona quite a bit. There are some interesting things to see in this town, even if you skip "Juliet's House." She's fictional, people!

Up in the morning, feeling better, we dressed in our warmest clothes, including silk longjohns. We checked out but left our bags at the desk and walked to the Castelvecchio. Very interesting art, mostly religious, that bored Tom to death. Terrific views from the ramparts.


Castelvecchio (Italian: "Old Castle") is the most important military construction of the Scaliger dynasty that ruled the city in the Middle Ages.

The castle is powerful and compact in its size with very little decoration - one square compound built in red bricks, one of the most prominent examples of Gothic architecture of the age, with imposing M-shaped merlons running along the castle and bridge walls.


It has seven towers, a superelevated keep (maschio) with four main buildings inside. The castle is surrounded by a ditch, now dry, which was once filled with waters from the nearby Adige.

Castelvecchio is home to the Castelvecchio Museum, which displays a collection of sculpture, statues, paintings, ancient weapons, ceramics, goldworks, miniatures and some old bells.


Castle courtyard and well. Very important in a seige.



In the Beginning... The Bible in pictures.



Saint Cecilia, for my friend Lisa.



Fellow traveller, from Sandpoint ID. We enjoyed each others company for a while.


This knight's helmet looks like the guards of the White Tree in Minas Tirith. Silliness abounds when armor becomes ornamental rather than practical.


Ponte San Lorenzo, over the Bacchiglione, is one of the earliest Roman segmental arch bridges. The M-merlons of the Castle continue.




The far bridge is the Ponte Molino, another segmental arch bridge of Roman origin.


We think this was demolition rather tahn fire. Water to keep the dust down?


Our walk took us along the river and across the Ponte Molino.



A scooter for a wet climate.



Church turned bar? Bar blessed by a saint? Interesting.


The Bacchiglione is a bit rough here.


Back to the Piazza Erbe for lunch and a look around. Warm and sunny now.




Stopped by the hotel for our bags and to shed the longjohns. Rode to the train station in a packed bus with a bunch of students.


Tried to pay for it, but couldn't find a place to buy a ticket or make the machine on the bus take my coin. Luckily nobody checked.


Headed to Firenze, we found the fare quite high at €106. With some research, we changed the transfer from Padova to Bologna and got it down to €67, arriving just a half hour later at 17:00.

Managed to recognize a platform change, announced repeatedly in Italian, and gracefully caught the slow train to Bologna.


In Bologna there are two sets of tracks, and two Track 6es. It took me a bit of study to figure out that one set was laballed "Ovest" and handled only regional trains.

The train to Firenze was a Eurostar. Very nice, fast train with assigned seats and all. Got us there in half an hour.


So we continue to Florence, or Firenze.


1 Getting There
6 Olympia
11 Ephesus
16 The Cinque Terre
2 Sorrento
7 Santorini (Thira)
12 Athens
17 Pisa & Sienna
3 Pompeii & Herculanium
8 Istanbul
13 Venezia
18 Tuscany
4 The Amalfi Coast
9 Varna & Odessa
14 Padua & Verona
19 Montepulciano
5 Sci-Am Cruise
10 Yalta
15 Firenze
20 Rome & Home

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