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Bologna for the day

Friday, May 22, 2009

One of my sister's friends in California is originally from Bologna, so my sister went to visit her yesterday. Her friend asked that I come to Bologna for the day so that she could show off the best her city has to offer. My sister told her friend that we went a few years ago and weren't that enthusiastic about it. We had so-so food, and didn't find any good gelato (ice cream). Unfortunately, we didn't expect the city to shut down for lunch only because in Florence fewer and fewer of them do.

I jumped on the Eurostar train at 11am and arrived an hour later. The trip was quick and pleasant. When I left, the weather in Florence was a little cloudy, but not too hot. As soon as I got off the train in Bologna, I was surprised by the humid and heavy air. For some reason, I thought it'd be cooler.

I met my sister's friend and her sister at the stazione (train station) and we walked to Piazza Maggiore where my sister's hotel was. We walked under the long street lined with portici (porticos) on both sides that protected us from the hot sun. I was surprised to see people riding biciclette (bicycles) on the sidewalk even though they were already crowded with pedestrians.

We chatted on the way, and I didn't remember how long the walk was to Piazza Maggiore. People seemed busy and rushed as if we were in a large city, but my view of Bologna is that it's small so I wasn't expecting all hustle and bustle.

Once we met up with my sister in the piazza, we continued walking in the same direction through back streets to a restaurant. I was hoping to have a typical dish from Bologna, but the menu offered more Tuscan dishes.

After lunch, we walked back to the other side of Piazza Maggiore to her friend's favorite gelateria (ice cream shop). Because we have such delicious gelato (ice cream) in Florence, I was initially reluctant to have any. But when I saw that they had zucca con cannella (pumpkin with cinnamon), I couldn't say no.

Once we finished our tasty gelati, my sister and her friend ordered another coppa (cup) each. I thought about it because they also had fresh whipped cream, but only tasted my sister's gelato because she ordered for the second time a scoop of zucca con cannella.

My sister's friend took us back toward where we ate lunch through other backstreets to take advantage of the shade and avoid the crowds. She led us to one of her favorite clothing shops that she wanted us to check out. My sister had told her that we weren't impressed with the shopping especially after a few people bragged about it. She promised to take us to a few good places.

My sister and I ended up buying a few nice items in a few different shops that her friend took us to. After a couple of hours, her friend had to take off, so we were left on our own. We made our way back to Piazza Maggiore to pick up my sister's suitcase and called a cab to go to the stazione. I love walking, but I wasn't going to cross the entire city for the fifth time!

I was hoping to take more pictures, but didn't feel as inspired as I had hoped. I walked around with my macchina fotografica (camera) around my neck, which I normally don't do just in case something caught my eye. I took this one shot of the Neptune statue in Piazza Maggiore from the portici.

When we got on the train, we both sank into our seats and relaxed until we got back to Florence. Before arriving in Florence, I was almost giddy with excitement. I was only away for a few hours, but I couldn't wait to see my beautiful city again. I missed being away from it, and felt at home the minute I got off the train.

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