Valley Overseas: Hidden Treasures in the City of Star-Crossed Lovers

Welcome to Valley Overseas. We’ll hear from students exploring new lands full of strange customs, seemingly impenetrable language barriers, and Euro-trash. They’ll dish out the good, bad and the ugly of living in a home-stay, and the tales of discount airlines. From mixed-up vocab to drool-worthy people in fantastic fashions, let us show you the experiences of a lifetime.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATaking a break from our weekend-long traveling expeditions, my roommates and I went on a day trip to Verona, Italy. This town is said to be the set of Shakespeare’s most famous love story, “Romeo and Juliet”. Juliet’s infamous balcony is the biggest tourist attraction in the quaint city. Eager to witness where the ultimate romance took place, we hopped a train to Verona.

Walking up to the balcony, our high hopes were deflated. A tourist with a neon pink pixie cut was standing in Juliet’s spot. Suddenly, taking a picture of the balcony where Juliet listened to Romeo’s soliloquy to add to my “Study Abroad” Facebook album was out of the question. Additionally, getting an artsy shot of the site was impossible due to the classroom sized area which housed the balcony.

Making it through the throngs of people and following my anti-touristy guidebook of Verona, we finally got to experience the simple beauty that Verona had to offer. With the sun shining on our day, we were determined to make this day trip more than a failed attempted to experience the love of Romeo and Juliet.

Down a hidden alley, we later discovered the most adorable winery housing amazing Veronese vinos with an incredibly friendly owner with an American wife. The owner offered us a variety of free wines to try. From reds to whites to other types unfamiliar to us, he was adamant that we experience the Veronese wines.

Wanting to get a snap shot of my group in the quaint wine store, I handed an elderly man my camera.  Apparently behind the times, he held the digital camera up to his face and got a glorious picture of his eyeball. Apologizing for not giving instructions on how to use the camera, we were quickly informed of his undying passion for American jazz. He then showed us his Louie Armstrong autograph from 1959 that he had tucked away in his wallet.  We made his day and he made ours.

Making our own path through Verona was the best decision of the day. Moral of the story: In every new city, there are hidden beauties—the fun is in finding them.