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Gnocchi and Fusilli.

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I have been in Verona for just over two weeks now even though it feels like a lifetime. Time moves so slowly over here which is both good and bad but I am now finally settling in. It took me a while to decide which category I wanted to select for my first submission but I eventually stumbled upon pets. Being in a big city, it is expected that pet owners will choose a small and manageable animal to fit perfectly into their city apartments and this couldn’t be more accurate. The amount of tiny dogs I have seen since arriving here in Verona is incredible, the city is awash with them! Not only this, but the term ‘pampered pooch’ is taken to a whole new level. It seems popular in Verona to take your dog for a walk without actually allowing your dog to walk. Instead, dogs are cradled in loving owners’ arms and pushed around in what can only be described as dog prams. People seem to really cherish their pets here, with dogs being allowed into shops and restaurants without anyone batting an eyelid which is lovely to see because back home I often find myself walking past sad looking dogs tied up outside shops desperately waiting for their owner to return.

I have been to numerous cafes since arriving in Verona and found myself one day sat next to a couple who had their Dalmatian sat at their feet. I was firstly shocked to see such a big dog in the city but after hearing them talk, I realised that they were German and so would most likely have been here on holiday. They saw me looking at their dog and smiling and unfortunately, not knowing a word of German, I spoke to them in English and asked them whether they lived here. They told me that they had driven down from their home city in the East of Germany and were now doing a small road trip of some of the big cities in the North of Italy. I asked them whether it was difficult travelling with such a big dog and they told me that it “has its moments”. I asked them whether now, in hindsight, they thought it would have been easier to leave their dog in the care of somebody at home. They replied with an answer that really made me smile. They said “no, because he needs a holiday too”.

I myself find that animals have a very therapeutic and comforting quality about them which is why it is unsurprising that pet owners cherish their animals so dearly. I wanted to have something I could look after too, which is why with the consent of my other two flatmates, we decided to buy two goldfish. We found an absolutely fabulous “acquario” with so many tropical, cold water and saltwater fish for sale. The man in the shop guessed we were Erasmus students and told us that it was quite common for him to get students in his shop looking for a pet for a semester. We chose one yellow goldfish and one black and orange speckled goldfish. Being in Italy, their names had to be place appropriate so we eventually decided upon “Gnocchi” and “Fusilli”. I have heard people say that goldfish are boring pets who don’t do very much but in reality watching them swim around their tank is relaxing. Whilst there aren’t quite as many ways to ‘pamper’ goldfish as there are for some of the other pets I have seen in Verona so far, they are well looked after!

(Photos of them at the top- not the most photogenic of fish!!)

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