Verona, Italy

Yesterday was a beautifully hot and sunny day off in Verona. Most of us joined our friends Marco and Valerio for a spectacular 3 hour lunch at Ristorante Greppia. A meal to savour and remember, the most delicious salami, smoked ham, prosciutto, fresh tomatoes with basil and mozzarella, gnocchi in cream sauce with raddichio, spaghetti drizzled with olive oil and finely chopped kalamata olives, spinach ravioli stuffed with ricotta in a creamy tomato sauce, grilled beef tenderloin, saut�ed mushrooms, fried potatoes and zucchini that I don't know how it was prepared, but was the best tasting thing I've eaten in a long time. Wonderful Italian wines accompanied the meal followed by fresh fruits, cheesecake, almond cookies and grappa. Ristorante Greppia is a must go if you are ever in Verona. Check their web-site, A warm grazie to our hosts Marco, Francesca and Valerio for their kindness, always being able to find the finest cuisine, but most of all their friendship.

On the way back I stopped in at the Cathedral of Santa Anastasia, a Gothic church constructed between 1290 and 1481. Cool, dark, quiet. A fellow was playing the pipe organ not in a majestic way but soft and meditative music that sounded like it was written in the 1600's. The man, probably in his 60's, dressed in jeans and a denim shirt didn't look like what I thought he might judging from the music being played. Through all the impressive religious art, ceiling paintings, carved marble pillars, etc., the most striking thing for me was a singular holy water font being supported on the back of a hunchback. Carved in marble in the late 1400's, the hunchback played well to the superstitious and it was said that if you rubbed a hump of a hunchback it would bring you good luck. Indeed while I was looking at it, a lady kneeled down and touched the back of the carving.

Had a caffe and another wander around the city as the sun was going down, then back for a quiet and early evening in. Tomorrow we are off to Rotterdam.

So long,