I got to Bologna pretty early in the morning, the flight was actually 20 minutes ahead of time. I was awake for most of and got to check out the snow covered swiss alps and some of the amazing little towns that littered the mountains. It was an amazing sight! After landing in Bologna I made it to my little hotel, dropped some stuff off and headed out exploring. The porticoes which line virtually every street in the city center were amazing. It was a very active, yet relaxed atmosphere. The weather was extremely good (20-25C the whole time) and the people were very nice.
These are some of the porticoes which are the heart and soul of the walking culture in Bologna. I finally felt relaxed and was on vacation! As I was walking around I noticed a small "home brew/wine making" store which was unfortunately closed but great to see that it is part of the culture in Italy.
As I was touring the main square in the city, I ran into some kind of Police demonstration which I stopped and watched for a bit. It was kinda bizarre but I did get a good chuckle from the Police segways and this old lady who walked through the middle of the ceremony without a care in the world. Classic Italian!
I met Sed and Melissa outside their hotel after some pretty interesting attempts at getting in contact with them. It all worked out in the end! We sat around drinking some Hellerbock for hours.
The next day we decided to explore the Emelio Reggianno region. Off to Parma we went, using the amazingly easy intercity train system. Instead of having a strict plan on sites to see, we took the "walk around and figure it out" approach, an approach which I am growing more fond of every time I travel.
Mel and Sed in Parma! We walked around a bit and found a local hole in the wall to stop and eat at. We went with some Lambrusco, hams, and cheese. A delicious mid day snack!
The cheese was melted and peppered and served with the most delicious orange slices I have ever had.
It didn't take us long to find a small little bar with some Italian craft beer and it was delicious! The Sally Brown was a traditional brown ale with some coffee in it.
After wandering around the city some more we headed back to catch the train to Modena. We weren't there long until I spotted another car closely tied to my family history.
The Toyota Land Cruiser. Soak that up dad! The strategy for Modena was the same as Parma and we found ourselves walking around a magnificent little Italian city.
We hung out in this little park for a few minutes, just enjoying a relaxed afternoon. Perfect weather!
We stopped in an incredibly busy gelateria, full of what seemed to be Italian high schoolers who had just graduated. The streets were littered with people hanging out for this "graduation".
We stopped in this open air market and got some cheese and fruit for a little snack. The produce and cheese at this market was mouth watering. I would love to be able to walk down to this kind of market and get my produce every week.
After searching for a restaurant Melissa had read about and had since closed, we ended up sitting outside another "hole in the wall" place and drinking lambrusco and chatting till late at night. Theme of the day, relaxing.
We caught the later train back to Bologna, had a few more drinks and said our goodbyes. I was heading to Pisa the next day to meet Natalie and her parents and they were headed to Florence. I am really thankful for having such great friends and can't wait to see them again when I return to the states!
Location:Bologna, Cinque Terre, and Venice