Amazing Architecture, food and fun
01.10.2013 - 04.10.2013 18 °C
1/10/13 Hmm Airfrance, Paris to Bologna. The less said the better, expensive mistake on my part for the luggage check in.
Arrive Bologna late afternoon, follow Paolos instructions on how to get to Pietros Apartment. We meet up with Paolo to get the keys to the apartment. What a genuinely lovely man, gave us directions and recommendations on places to eat, places to buy groceries, things to see and do.
Cute little apartment made for little people, looking onto a private courtyard, in a secure building, a main entrance door, a sliding locked gate and onto our door, which is a big wooden wonderful door. The bathroom door is tiny and Paul can fill it width and height.
We decide to go for a walk and try out the pizza place Paolo had recommended. What a cavern of a place, taken out to a small courtyard with charm. An old fountain full of old corks. We ordered appetizers and pizza, big mistake. Family size pizzas for both of us. Wow, we rolled home. The food was delicious and simple.
On the way back we went to the grocery store to get provisions for the morning and our stay. Wowwww, if you are in Italy go to their grocery stores and look around. A whole new delicious world awaits you. We get to the counter and the lady says, you want sacks? Paul looks at her like she is mad. She means plastic bags, second mistake was we didn't weigh and label the vegetables ourselves. Oops!! All good, back to the apartment and bed.
2/10/13 Breakfast then off to wander the streets of Bologna.
Bologna is a university town, so it is full of young people, hanging out drinking, eating, walking. The porticos are amazing, everywhere you walk is a portico. Squares with statues and fountains, medieval churches. Two towers of Bologna interesting sight to behold.
Little entrances to internal courtyards, some simple some ornately decorated little oasis the middle of a teaming city.
We spotted heaps of people out the front of this little shop, pizza by the slice, but huge pieces, for 1.50 euro amazingly fresh and cheap. We sat on a step near the two towers and ate our fantastic find.
Next onto the Piazza Maggiore, a plaza built in in the 15th Century, mind boggling. Large, imposing ornate buildings, teaming with people. Italian police at the entrance with riot protected vehicles. Interesting.
We wandered into a building and came upon this marvellous little garden, secreted between four walls, an old well that had been filled, raised platforms for sitting. trees for shade, ahhh how could we resist a little sit and a rest.
Next we wandered to the markets, woowwwww, very touristy but fish mongers, fruit and vege stalls, delicious little vine rippened tomatoes that you just wanted to pick up and eat like an apple. Cheeses, cured hams, breads, gelato you name it a gastronomic delight for all. Ladies with lots of enhancements which weren't only the jewels and clothes they wore. Cute little dogs being led along.
Head back a different way past a little garden again, with a fountain and people having a rest in the shade, chatting, kissing, holding hands. Then bathroom called down these stairs to the bathroom, abruptly greeted in 1 euro. Up the stairs I go to Paul ask for money head back down, thinking going to savour this pee for 1euro, the place better be spotless. Yes it was, much cleaner than the one in Paris. urrgggghh.
Late afternoon hours and hours of walking we decided to return to our little abode to relax and eat some dinner. A short stop at the supermarket for evening supplies. Dinner then off to bed.
A lazy morning, nice to not have to be anywhere any time soon. Late breakfast, then off to explore again.
We decided to head to the Stazione to see how far it was to catch our train to Rome the next day. Leaving the walled part of the city and entering "Real Bologna" was a world all of its own. A little markets selling bric a brac, bargaining to be had in Italian, such a fantastic sound to hear.
Then for a walk through a park with huge white steps and a massive statue guarding the entrance. We come upon a fountain, that had ornate statues of mermaids and lions, that are enclosed with mesh. Hmmm kinda detracts from the whole feel and look. It appears the park is where the kids go that either are jobless or skipping school. Feeling a little apprehensive about getting out of the park without being attacked. Finally come upon the big bus hug, lots of people everywhere. We wander on in bewilderment as this is a whole other side of Bologna life. Out through some doors and see a man in a high vis vest and try to ask for directions to the Train station, ahhh get out my trusty italian language book, " you want Stazione, over there".
We make it to the station and decide we need to leave a bit of time to get there and also catching buses was not an option.
As we were heading out of the station area we came upon a Barilla stand, I know they make pasta, but they also make biscuits. We entered the little building to be spoken to in Italian, no Italiano, the girl goes, oh ok, well I can speak english, you have to complete three activiities and you get a gift. Sweet, so we sat and watched a man make biscuits, in Italian. Very entertaining, we then got to sample some, mmmm delicious, hot out of the oven. Onto the next activity a mind game of remember with cards, one more activity and we get our free gift of some cake thing and a juice. A little bit of a an excuse to sit and rest our legs.
We leave there and see some other ornate stairs leading up to another entrance to a hotel. Wowser, what a place. A bustling hub of shops and people on our meander back to our apartment.
We stumble upon a little cafe, that had delicious cakes and biscuits in it's display cabinet, we bravely ordered milky coffee which is frowned upon after mornings in Europe. But we were accommodated happily, three coffees (Paul had two as the coffee was great) a cake each and some biscuits, 7 Euro. Wowww.
Made our way back to our apartment, dinner and bed. Ready for our train to Rome.