Birthday in Bologna

Posted by jswt | Posted in Italy - Bologna | Posted on 25-06-2012

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By chance occurrence, by dad ended up in Bologna, Italy while I had a few days to kill before flying home, so I flew in for a visit. We had a great time wandering, eating some amazing food, learning travel lessons, window shopping and just enjoying life. Highlights included a day trip to Venice, a magical silent movie night in a square with a live orchestra, and a damn good 60th birthday steak (and beer). Got a feeling this won’t be my dad’s last travel 🙂

Italians do (some things) better…

Posted by jswt | Posted in Italy - Bologna, Italy - Pesaro | Posted on 18-03-2010

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I’ve been in Italy for a week and a half now, and I’ve been having too much of a lovely time to post much…

Things I’ve learned about Italy:

1) Their food is *amazing*. Their restaurants are stellar, and their grocery stores make ours look like desolate Quick-E-Marts. I can’t even call what we get back home pasta now. Even their $2 bottles of wine are good – let alone the good stuff. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm.

2) Everyone here is better dressed than us. I still don’t understand the puffy shiny jackets, or the excessive purple, but they’re rocking it.

3) I’m unsure how anything gets accomplished in this country. *Everything* is closed in the afternoons, and might/maybe open around that, apparently dependant on the mood of the shopkeep. Nothing happens quickly, or on on the first request. You just have to keep asking, and remember that 95% of a conversation is communicated through the hyperactive waving of hands, and high volume dramatics. It’s just how it is.

We spent our first week in Pesaro, which is a small little beach town on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. It’s March, so it was really quiet and not too hyper, but there was a wonderful old-world downtown area that we could wander to and through.

On the tour’s transfer days, there’s a troupe of wives, girlfriends, husbands, boyfriends, and miscellaneous partners who tend to travel ahead and file into the hotel. I was part of this early-arrival posse on Sunday evening, and we went out en masse for a nice dinner and stumbled onto a chocolate festival that was going on in the main square.

Monday was Chris’ day off and we spent it wandering Pesaro – it was pretty cold, but still a nice day for a walk along the beach. We’d hop into cafes along the way for unbelievable coffees, brilliant pastas and antipasti, and always amazing wines.

Weds night was our 4 year anniversary, and Chris took me out for an unbelievable 6-course seafood dinner and wine pairing at a restaurant overlooking the river. The 4 years that we’ve been together have been amazing – we really understand eachother, share a lot of the same drives and motivations, and are compatible on more levels than anyone I’ve ever met. I’d realized a while ago that my life is made a whole lot better with him in it, that I’d be quite happy growing old with him, and so that night on our hotel room balcony overlooking the ocean, accompanied by the rolling sound of crashing waves, I got down on one knee and asked Chris if he’d marry me. He said yes, and instantly turned into a giddy princess, to whom I was engaged.

The rest of the week was rather uneventful – we were both working, the town was pretty quiet and aside from a couple visits to the local pub we just laid pretty low…

Sunday we transferred to Bologna, Italy (where I’m currently writing this)…

I rolled into town with a couple other tagalongs, and rather than heading directly to our hotel out in the burbs, we spent a lovely day checking out Bologna. It’s fantastic, with that super old town square centre magic feel.

Not much was open (it being Sunday, and the afternoon, and just generally Italy), so we just wandered around sticking our noses where we could. We found a great little underground vaulted cavern where we ate lunch of delicious antipasti plates (mmm – proscutto wrapped pineapple), and I was introduced to Lambrusco wine. Not sure if it was the wine with lunch, but shortly thereafter, climbing the largest tower in town seemed like the right thing to do, and after a 20 minute spiral hike upwards we were returned an unbelievable view of the whole city from a few hundred feet on high. One of our group spotted a flea market in a square a few blocks over, so that was our next stop… Tons of antiques and jewellery and vintage designer accessories, and definitely more nazi memorabilia than I’ve ever seen in one place, but for sure regretted my limited luggage space with the things I’d like to have taken home.

The next day, we hopped a morning train over to Venice… It’s somewhere I’d always wanted to visit, and Chris never had, so we didn’t want to miss the chance and were so glad we didn’t. It was as if we were walking through a dream: a city built out of nothing apparently drifting and floating while fending off and nestling up against the elements. We hopped off the beaten path and spent the better part of 8 hours doing our best to get lost via the maze of little streets and alleyways and walkways and tunnels and magic gardens, many of which are literally older than the country from which we come. Words can’t even begin to capture the sense of wonder and pleasure the city inspired, and I hope that one day I’ll get a chance to get back.

As I mentioned, the hotel’s a little out of the city centre, so I took the past couple days to lock myself down and do some long days of heavy development on a project I’m working on… My spidey-sense is telling me it’s going to be worth the effort, and I’m feeling good about where it’s at, so I’m going to take a guilt-free adventure pause…

For a bit of an engagement celebration, Chris has booked us into a very, very nice sounding hotel right in the heart of Rome… We’re leaving after work tonight, and taking the train down for 2 nights/1 day, and then coming back before work on Saturday. Only a few things on the list that we want to see, but mainly just looking forward to experiencing another beautiful Italian city and the sights, sounds and flavours that it has to offer.

More on that… IN THE FUTURE!
🙂