Sunday, January 1, 2012

Christmas Eve in Verona

Christmas Eve took us to Verona, the home of William Shakespeare's famous love story Romeo and Juliet. Again, we loaded up two cars around 10am and headed over towards this historical town; this time, the cousins were in one car: Piper, Kam, Felix, and myself, while mom joined Rob and Ana in the 2nd car. Verona is known by Italians as piccola Roma - Little Rome.
Kam, mom, and I in front of the Verona Arena
We parked, and headed out into the main center Piazza Bra, literally running right into the Verona Arena. The arena was built in 30 AD and is the 3rd largest in Italy. From here, we wandered down Piazza della Erba, one of the main shopping streets, towards Casa de Giulietta (Juliet's house). Juliet Capulet is a fictional character created for Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet, however, the balcony in Verona has turned into a tourist attraction complete with a bronze statue of Juliet. Naturally we visited Juliet's balcony and took many pictures rubbing her right boob, as they claim this will help give you good luck in your future love endeavors.
Kam and I feeling up Juliet
Along the walls entering her house, there are names etched into the stone, as some believe that this will allow their love to be everlasting. It is also traditional to write a letter to Juliet and leave them in her basket with hopes that the Club di Giulietta will write you back, like in that stupid Amanda Seyfried movie Letters to Juliet.
We continued our journey through the city, making our way past a few large churches as we headed towards Romeo's house. Despite the plaque on the side of the building that states this as Casa de Montague, this house is still occupied and thus never open for visitors. Disappointed, Mom, Kam and I decided to stop for some coffee while the rest of our group went in to view one of the churches.
Sign at Romeo's house
Yummy coffee
We continued down the street behind the church to check out the view of the Adige River from the San Giorgio Stone Bridge. Our day was coming to a close, and we were all eager to get home to begin our Christmas festivities that evening.  
Mom, Kam, and I on San Giorgio Stone Bridge
Kam and I taking a rest on the "art" placed around town
Back at home, we were getting into the Christmas spirit. We all ate some eggnog and snacks before we were heading out to Villagio della Pace (Village of Peace), where many of the families that are posted at Caserma Ederle (the army base) live, for a few hours of Christmas caroling. Rob, Ana, Felix, Piper, mom, Kam, and I met up with three of Rob's army friends: Chester, Steve, and Lacy. We printed out about 8 different carols and headed on to the base-housing.
O' Christmas Tree! Kam, Felix and I
Finally, returning home, we showered, ate a little, and then were ready to begin our countdown to midnight when we would be allowed to open presents, as it is officially Christmas Day (December 25th). After opening our la Befana stockings -- la Befana is an old woman, looking similar to a witch, who delivers presents to children around Italy on January 5. Piper had made us each our own stockings and filled them with candy and other small goodies. 
My sister had opened all her presents from mom and dad at home before she flew to Italy, so she was limited to the few gifts from Piper and myself. Aunt Susan, Piper's mom, mailed over a surprise package that the three cousins (Piper, Kam, and I) were to share. It was a photo album containing old family pictures of our grandparents, aunts, uncles, and of course our parents. It was unbelievable to see how much everyone had begun to look like themselves at such a young age; not to mention how eerily similar my sister and some of our other cousins look to the pictures of our younger, now aged, relatives. All in all, this was an awesome Christmas.
Me, Kam, and Piper looking through the family album

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