Last week, my mom and brother came all the way from San Diego and New York (respectively) to visit. I was thrilled to have my first visitors in Germany. While the majority of the trip was spent in Italy, I was also super excited to spend the first day with them in Munich and Aschau. There’s something special about getting to show your family members, who know you best, where you live and what you do on a daily basis.
A family friend in Munich picked them up from the airport and drove us to Aschau. On our way, we stopped by Starnbergersee, a beautiful town on a lake. The day was unfortunately completely cloudy and cold, but we still had fun eating lunch on the lake. I was so excited to see them and kept speaking German to them on accident and it was all a whirlwind of fun. My mom and Chase were majorly jetlagging, but I kept pushing them along throughout the day, determined to keep them awake until bedtime!
We arrived in Aschau in the afternoon and visited with my host family. Chase played cars with Timo, the 3-year-old boy I Au Pair for, and Timo just thought he was hilarious. He kept pointing to my brother’s mustache and asking, in his tiny little voice, “was hast du da??” (in English- “what do you have there??”). So cute. We all ate dinner together at my favorite Bavarian restaurant in town and indulged in some giant schnitzels and beer. I really wanted my mom and brother to meet my friends, so struggling to stay awake, I forced them to continue on and we all met up at our local bar to enjoy a drink together. It was so fun seeing my two worlds collide, sitting in the middle of it all and doing some translating between the broken German and broken English being spoken!
The next morning we got up and took the train to our first stop in Italy: Verona. The train ride went through all of Austria and the north of Italy, directly through the Alps. It was a beautiful ride- my mom kept getting up and taking pictures of the scenery every few minutes!
By early evening we had arrived in Verona and set off to find our Bed-and-Breakfast. There was a bit of a debacle once we arrived and the owner’s daughter had to drive us to another location. Everyone was speaking Italian and we weren’t really sure why we were getting in the car with this girl, but she ended up driving us to another apartment they own, which was really more of a hostel. I’m still kind of confused about the whole situation. However, there was a huge wine festival in town and apparently every room in all of Verona was booked that night, so we were just happy to have beds to sleep on.
We wandered around Verona at twilight and admired the beauty of the city. Honestly, I hadn’t really heard that much about Verona, good or bad, except for the well-known fact that it’s the city Shakespeare used as the setting for Romeo and Juliet. It really is a beautiful city that I would love to go back and spend some more time in. We found a wonderful restaurant right on the river and lucked out with a table on the terrace outside. We sat out there for a good 3 hours eating and drinking and thoroughly enjoying our first night in Italy!
The next day we got up and had a few hours to explore Verona by daylight before heading to the train station to move on. Naturally, we hit the big must-dos: Juliet’s balcony, the Arena, and a few cool piazzas.
Juliet’s balcony was, of course, a big tourist trap filled with lots of people, cameras and expensive souvenirs, all of which my precious mom indulged in. In her defense, she’s a huge Romeo and Juliet fan so it was pretty exciting to her. And it was cool to see the supposed balcony Juliet stood on when she called out “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?”
Although I’ve seen the Colosseum in Rome, the Arena in Verona was still cool to see. Especially because they still use it year round for Operas, which I think would be amazing to attend. As a huge history fan, the Arena was also super interesting to me. It’s kind of crazy sitting in the stands of it and imagining what kinds of horrific things were seen here 2,000 years ago.
After some quick sightseeing, we grabbed our things and our host drove us to the train station. We left with plenty of time to get there, but then we had to buy our tickets and grab food to bring on and somehow we managed to walk on the train about a minute before it left. Why does it seem like you are always rushing to the train? Like always?? It’s stressful but thrilling at the same time. And every trip needs a near-miss experience right?
A side note about our luggage (sorry mom!): my mom has been to Europe twice before, but both times were under the age of 18. As it was her first time in her adult life, and knowing we would be on trains and up and down steps and moving around a lot, I warned her to pack light. My luggage consisted of my backpacking backpack and an over the shoulder purse. My brother’s was a normal every day backpack and a hand held duffel. My mom, on the other hand, brought a very heavy medium size, rolling suitcase, a large duffel that was her “carry-on”, and her purse. In the warnings I had given her, I said that she would have to be able to manage what she brought. She said this would be no problem. Guess who carried her suitcase/duffel most of the trip? Me or Chase. Because, let’s face it, we knew she wouldn’t be able to pack light and she’s our mom and we love her. It wasn’t always easy, but I know we weren’t always perfect angels as kids and she put up with us and so it all evens out in the end right? Probably.
So we made it on the train and took off to our next destination: Cinque Terre! Be on the lookout for the Cinque Terre post, which will be up in the coming days.
Verona Photo Dump: