Sunday, August 23, 2015

Italy: Bologna

After arriving at the main station in Bologna, we bought our bus tickets (buying bus tickets can sometimes be an adventure- they aren’t sold on the bus and you have to find a Tabbachi shop that also sells tickets. This has been an issue for us but so far has not prevented us from travel.). We arrived at our little apartment and had a brief introduction to the appliances. We had a nice little clothes washer and I started a load before we went out and explored the town that evening.  On our evening stroll we discovered that there was an outdoor movie festival in the town center! While this created an obstruction of the scenery, it offered a fun option for an evening activity. The movies didn’t start until 9:45 in the evening, however, and so we decided to wait and watch a movie on a night following which we didn’t have anything to do. When we returned to our little place, the electricity was out. Hm, well the rest of the building still had electricity and we didn’t see anything that looked out of place but we had to get into contact with our Air BnB hosts to see if they could come fix it. I ended up on a Skype phone call with the primary renter and he told us where the fuse box was- problem fixed! We started the washing machine again and in about 40 minutes or so heard a loud pop followed by the smell of burning and…. The lights went out again. This time the fuse box didn’t solve the problem so we had to have the person managing the property come out and he had to switch a main breaker. The problem solved (again) we were able to go to sleep and luckily all our laundry was done for the night. Oh, and they installed a brand new washer the next day!
Main cathedral façade

Empty streets on a morning run

The next day we rented our first car! My dear friend Tristan took all the paper work that we mailed to her from China and went to the AAA office in Seattle and got both of us international driver’s permits. Once we finally got the keys (we missed our bus stop and had to wait 1.5 hours at the airport office for them to get an automatic ready), we were off to Ravena! Ravena is a cute little city and we ate lunch and toured several different churches for a couple of hours.

Every ceiling is a canvas to communicate a unique message

I'll just take that room at the top....

These. Ceilings. I was instantly in love.
We then took the short little drive to the beach. We decided not to try and swim since we had had such a late start to the day but we found a place to relax and snack a little bit before driving back to Bologna.

The next day was jam packed. We started with a tour and tasting at the Parmigina Remano factory. This is where they make genuine parmesan cheese. It was a fun and informative tour. We bought us a little hunk o’ cheese to take with us to snack on. After our cheese tour, we went for the basalmic vinegar tour. Similar to the cheese, in order for vinegar to be authentic Modena vinegar it has to be made in that certain region of Italy. The basalmic vinegar that is sold in most superstores that says Modena is most likely made somewhere else and then shipped to Modena to be bottled with the famous label. We learned a lot here as well and Jared discovered that he really does like balsamic vinegar! After this last tour we had a quick trip into the town of Modena and walked around. They were having a fun antique market in their main square! Unfortunately, we didn’t have too much time to wander because we had to get the car back before the shop closed.

A hunk a hunk cheesy love
All of the vinegars all in a row
That evening we went across the street from our apartment to this wonderful little Italian (obvs) food restaurant, Il Sangiovese before making our way to the square to watch Casablanca under the stars. The stars, however, were covered by clouds and it wasn’t long until our attempt at doing something after 9pm was spoiled by rain.
Of all the gin joints in all of the world and... it had to rain on mine.

Our last day in Bologna we had NOTHING planned. It was so nice to sleep in and not worry about catching a bus or checking out or making sure we were here or there when it was open. We went on a nice run, had breakfast, took showers and then promptly took a 2 hour nap. It was our first real nap since we’ve been gone and it was divine. Once we got up we went back into town for a coffee and to walk around to the sites we missed during our first afternoon walking tour. We cooked dinner at ‘home’ that evening and spent the evening and night hours planning, researching and relaxing.

The next morning we were off bright and early to go to our Lake Como retreat where we had even more relaxation!

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