Bologna!


Ciao!

Well Bologna is not what I expected whatsoever.  It’s full of young people and very crowded.  It is crazy-crowded.  None of this is bad, it’s just not the Bologna from my mind.  Prior to arriving here, whenever I thought of Bologna I thought of Yossarian in Catch-22 and his epic fear of their mission to Bologna.  The things they did to get out of the mission because they were so fearful of not coming back. Anyway, the point is, actual Bologna is nothing like Yossarian’s Bologna :).  It’s beautiful and charming, and literally chock full of people.  Now I know where all the twenty-somethings live.

I arrived safe and sound at 1am on Friday morning and grabbed a taxi to Kelly’s apartment.  It was really wonderful to see a familiar face!  Promptly fell asleep and woke to Kelly leaving for class in the morning.  I went for a run, which is difficult to do in this city with all of these people!  I have mostly been running on old country roads, so it was hard to adjust to dodging people and not being able to see where I am.  I got epic-ly lost, and then found my way back – I ended up going all around the city, it was a bit much.  We had dinner Friday evening, it was SO DELICIOUS.  Some sort of pasta carbonara dish with zucchini and carrots YUM.

Yesterday we did touristy things. We walked through the porticos to see the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca, which is this church that is on top of a hill overlooking Bologna.  See the pictures.  Also, there are 666 porticos that you have to walk through to get to this church, which if you ask me, is a bit strange.  I thought 666 was for devil worship only.  Wild.  And the 666 porticos go up the hill so you’re climbing a lot of stairs and ramp-like parts which earned me a healthy amount of wine with dinner :).  If you’re ever in Bologna, I 100% recommend you walk through the porticos instead of taking the bus to the top of San Luca, it was so beautiful and the viewpoints are not something you want to miss.  The church was lovely and had several frescoes and what not.

We walked back down and caught the bus back into the main city area.  We stopped to look at this huge outdoor market and I bought a JACKET.  Because it is COLD.  Fall lasted maybe 5 minutes, and now it’s bitter chilly here.  I might be exaggerating.  But still, it’s like late November weather I’m dealing with and it’s still October.  Anyway I bought this sweater jacket thing that is really cozy, and it goes well with the possum gloves Mer brought me from NZ (so warm, Mer, very key to me being warm!).  And Kelly bought a plant for her room (see the pictures) from this ADORABLE piante/fiori shopkeeper.  He was so sweet and was very into his plants and how to care for them.  He spritzed the plant up with some water and added fresh compost to the pot before wrapping it in a beautiful tissue paper.  You could tell he was just so excited to sell this plant to Kelly.

Here’s the gallery, which mostly consists of the trip to San Luca and Kelly’s plant-buying:

Later in the evening, Kelly’s friends had us and her roommate over for dinner, among some other classmates.  The host is a RPCV (that’s return peace corps volunteer for those of you that don’t know) that was placed in Ukraine.  So he made some fantastic meal that consisted of noodles, sweet and sour pork, and fried okra.  And chocolate chip cookies his Grandmom sent him for dessert.  Talk about hospitality.  It was very delicious.

Today was my last day in Bologna (only for a few weeks) and I sort of just lazed around and then went with Kelly and her roommate to a JHU barbecue in the afternoon, before taking off for Mondaino.  The barbecue was an actual barbecue with a few grills and more meat than I think is acceptable to have in one area at one time.  There were veggies too, but they were severely outnumbered by the amount of filets, burgers, etc.  Scary.  I had delicious  yogurt.  I mean, top of the line, organic tasting, blueberry filled yogurt parfait.  Sigh.

Then Kelly dropped me off at the Bologna train station and I headed out for my last WWOOF adventure.  And here I am, at Suzie and Phelan’s, a fantastic couple originally from the UK, but they’ve been in Italy for over 25 years.  You know the phrase they’re good people?  Well it applies in every sense here.  Not only are my host parents wonderful and good people, so is my fellow WWOOFer, Fran, who is also from Ingleterre, and BIKED HER WAY HERE FROM THERE.  The woman is so inspiring and impressive and I quite admire her, not just for biking through the Alps, but for many more reasons which I’m sure I’ll discuss more over the next two weeks.

I’m staying in the picturesque apartment that’s attached to their home, with a cozy fire in the fireplace, and a full-belly.  Tonight’s dinner was minced lamb stewed with vegetables and served over saffron rice.  For dessert, an apple dumpling and cream.  Did I mention the lamb was from their farm, freshly slaughtered last week with the help of another WWOOFer?  I didn’t?  Oh, well it was.  And it tasted like it, too.  Yum.  Yum. YUM. YUM.  And I think we’ll be helping Suzie in the kitchen next week with dinner, so I am beyond excited to learn some new things.

Anyway, I have so much more to say, but am simply exhausted.  So it will all have to wait.

Ciao ciao,

JT

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