Friday, 15 December 2017

Destination Europe VII: Trip Italy Part I

Italy is the much sought travel destination by tourists from all over the world. The deep cultural history like the Roman Empires, the wide array foods like pastas, the artistic beauty of art and architecture, the ambient natural beauty, the renowned scenes and plots in Shakespeare's plays, the friendly people and of course being not too expensive are the reasons cited by people visiting there. By the beginning of September, I was already a month in Stuttgart so I planned my next trip to Italy. I prefer travelling in Bus as it is much cheaper because most of the time I travel alone. Flix Bus is an inter city bus service from Germany, that have destination throughout Europe so it is very convenient to book and travel in that Green Bus. If we are travelling in group, we might be lucky enough to get group discounts in trains. Journey in train is much comfortable than in bus with more space. For the trip in Italy, because I planned to visit the major cities in Italy, I bought an InterFlix 5 city coupon for 99 Euros. By this, I can book five different journeys and it is advantageous when the cost of journey is over 20 Euro. 

15. Verona: On 1st September, I traveled from Stuttgart towards Verona, the first Italian city that I ever visited. It was 8 hours night journey and single journey ticket would cost me at least 40 Euros. So, my Interflix coupon saved me 20 Euro in my first journey. It was night journey so all I knew was we have to climb up the hills to cross countryside of Austria before entering Italy. Early in the morning when I was wake, the bus has already entered the Italian boundary. The road was meandering through the valley alongside a river, with two steep ridges from either side. At one point it reminded me of my travelling along the Punatshang chhu roads, where we see steep rocky terrains on either side. But it was different that the road was smooth, the ridges were green and the bus swift unlike our Punatshang chhu roads where the roads are bumpy and dusty, the hills degraded due to excavation and river diverted for damming. 

Reaching Verona, my sister who was then studying in Padua has come to Verona to guide and give me company. The weather was fine despite being summer, so in the next couple of hours we have walked through almost every nook and cranny, but mostly craving to see Romeo and Juleit's historical remains, though they were mere characters in the Shakespeare's famous play, and not a real Love Birds of the city. While many would still come searching for the veranda from where Juleit would wait for Romeos coming, Verona has much more to offer. A bustling city centre, remarkably well-preserved 1st century amphitheater, architecturally fascinating bridges over the river Adige and stunning view of the city from Casa di Giulietta. And of course not to miss Juleits home and her bronze statue in the court yard where hordes of people swarm in to rub her breast and take pictures. 

16. Padua: My visit to Padua was by chance. Its an hour journey by train from Verona. As my sister studies there, it became apparent for me to halt by Padua. I don't have any idea about the place but had a vague memory of Padua from the Shakespeares play "The Taming of the Shrew" which I studied over a decade ago during my high school days. 
 "I come to wive it wealthily in Padua;
If wealthily, then happily in Padua"
                                     -Shakespeare in "The Taming of the Shrew"

But after hearing from my sister, I came to learn that the University of Padua is perhaps one of the oldest universities in Europe  founded in 1222. The oldest existing, and continually operating educational institution in the world is the University of Karueein, founded in 859 AD in Fez, Morocco. The University of Bologna, Italy, was founded in 1088 and is the oldest one in Europe. I also knew from my sister that it was from the University of Padua that the first lady got her Ph.D in 1678. Padua is also known as city of science and culture and is an ideal place to trace the history and the achievements of mankind in the fields of science, technology, knowledge, and creativity. Great scientist Galileo has also served as lecturer at the University of Padua chairing mathematics department. 

17. Venice: The Floating City or the City of Canals is a beautiful city most traveled by tourists. Together with my sister, we traveled from Padua in the morning and returned in the evening from Venice. Unlike the two cities of Verona and Padua, Venice becomes more expensive owing to the high demand of tourists. There are numerous Islands and to reach to one Island from another we have to travel by water taxi. I visited two Islands and aside from the unique travelling experience by water taxi, I didn't find it too exciting to be in Venice. 


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