There is only one city in my trip that I am returning to: Verona*. I was here ten years ago on a band trip between grade 11 and 12. It has a reputation as a very romantic city, as this is where Shakespeare placed Romeo and Juliet. But for me, the biggest draw is the Arena. When I arrived in Verona in 1996, I was blown away. It still amazes me today that somehting that was guilt 2000 years ago still stands, and still is used!
I was even more enthralled because I had read a series of books in high school (and many times since then, too!) that were set in ancient Rome. A major character in the book is a gladiator, so much of the story focusses on what went on in the Arena. The books were highly researched and, as I found out when I took classical studies courses in university, very historically accurate. I was SO excited to be able to go into a Roman arena and see a piece of ancient history.
As a safety precaution (we were all highschoolers) we had to go around in groups of six people. I couldn't find anyone who wanted to go into the arena with me, so I just decided to go with the chaperones. Eventually, five other people agreed to go, as long as we could do some shopping first.
They browsed through some postcards, bought some film, nosed around in a few shops, no big deal. Then they decided they wanted ice cream, so we waited (and waited and waited and waited) in line. AFTER they got ice cream, they decided they should probably go to the bathroom. One at a time, everybody went. By the time that was all done, it was time to meet up with our group and move on the the next city. Our meeting place was right in front of the arena, and as I looked up at the 2000 year old arches, I saw the band director waaaay up top, waving down at us. I was sooo disappointed. I had to fight back tears back in the bus.
So, darn it, THIS time round, ten years later, I'm going to see the arena!
* My apologies to those of you who have heard this story (over and over and over!) I see you raising your hand. That's right.