We changed our plans a little to be back for Aida in Verona on Friday so on Wednesday we left early and stopped to see Juliet’s tomb and to see the amazing frescos in the museum there. We then drove via Bergamo and had a look around the old town for a few hours before heading for Milan. The weather changed dramatically from 32degrees in Verona to 22degrees in Bergamo. We took the steep funicular up to the old town which was very atmospheric with beautiful architecture and lovely shops and restaurants. It took an hour in pouring rain to reach Camping Milano so we stayed put in the van for the rest of the afternoon and evening as the rain continued. At least it wasn’t cold.

We set off early from our good campsite to get the bus and then metro which arrived at the ‘Duomo’ right in the middle of town. The cathedral was very imposing and there were many tourists waiting in long lines to get in. We chose the visitor’s entrance or those wanting to pray where there was no queue so we went in and lit a couple of candles and were able to see the cathedral. Most cathedrals that require tickets allow you in if you are going to pray. The piazza is enormous and adjacent to the cathedral is the Galleria with all very high end shops like Louis Vuitton and Gucci. The structure itself is magnificent. We wandered down the Via Dante to the
Piazza Castello with it’s large tower and high walls and through to the beautiful enormous gardens behind the castello. The day was warm and we had no rain in the morning.

We stopped for a light lunch at the buzzing ‘Bar Mauro’ and then walked to the church of “Santa Maria delle Grazie” where Leonardo’s painting “The last Supper” is housed. We unfortunately did not know that tickets to see the painting had to be bought in advance so we left and did some retail therapy instead and walked around the interesting streets. We were luckily in a boutique when it started to hail and then rain very hard until there was a river running down the street so we waited out the storm until it was only
spitting with rain and made our way back to the Piazza del Duomo. I had spotted the “Aperol Terrazza” earlier in the day so we installed ourselves there overlooking the Duomo for me to enjoy a couple of Aperol Spritz’s euros 13 for the first one and euros 9 for the second one. Maurice had a couple of mocktails and enjoyed them. The storm and torrential rain was unusual for the time of year and we managed to get back to Camping Milano with only a sprinking of rain as we were walking back from the bus stop.
The transport system in Milan was excellent with buses every 10-15minutes and metro every few minutes.

There was heavy local police, carabinieri and military presence all over the centre of the city at the major tourists spots.

Across the Lombardy plains were widespread wheat, corn and rice fields. We took the secondary roads which made for a much more relaxed drive back from Milan.

We left Milan on the last day of June back to Verona to get to our campsite again and have a rest before going to the Arena for the performance of Aida which did not start until 9pm. We arrived at Marta’s spa to pick up the tickets (we had met her in India 2years before)she had for us at a discounted euros 20 each and then went back to our favourite ‘San Nicolo” bar for aperitifs and arrived an hour early to the Arena which was already filling up. The performance with four intervals continued until 1am and we were lucky to have been told to go across the park to the taxi rank where we managed to get one in 15minutes. It was quite cold by then and we were back in our van by 1.30am.
Aida was an amazing spectacle in such a wonderful setting. It was a modern adaptation with comic aspects as well and was an incredible feat in choreography and technical aspects. The orchestra and singers were wonderful and we were very glad that we changed our plans so that we could attend the performance.

After a necessary sleep in we headed on a clear blue sky day for Pieve di Ledro’s Camping Azzurro where we had stayed last year.
The secondary road wove through the mountains and large areas of vineyards and over the north side of Lake Garda to lake Pieve just to the west of Lake Garda. After the hot and humid weather in Verona the previous week, the mountains offered a much cooler 24 degrees and some spits of rain. We arrived in Ledro to a large contingency of cyclists who were competing in a triathlon the next day. A very loud party only started at 9.30pm which is one of the only drawbacks of travelling in Europe in Summer with all the events and school holidays and activities for children. The loud music ended at 11pm which was fine and that was the only disturbance we had so far this year. As we drove through the mountains the views were spectacular to the lakes below. Up into the Dolomites and on the way to Bolzano the fruit growing area was enough I think to feed all of Europe. We passed enormous sheds and thousands of packing cases in several areas as well as hectares of grapevines, a lot of which were trailed horizontally instead of vertically.

As we got closer to Bolzano most signs were in Italian and English and the storekeepers in Bolzano definately favoured speaking in German although we were still in Italy. It was 28 degrees when we arrived at our campsite for the night. We got an early start to park in town and have a short look around Bolzano which had beautifully decorated houses and buildings.

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