Bologna is a small town that you’re stopping by the on way to Roma. You picked the town by its recommendation from the Lonely Planet website: it’s one of the oldest cities in the world, and the culinary capital of Italy. Unfortunately, seeing as it’s such a small town, you were unable to find a cheap hostel close to the centre of town, so you instead booked a 2 star hotel 15 minutes out of town. This decision turns out to be exactly what you needed after the debacle in Milano: you have a private double room with your own bathroom, free breakfast and towels, and even a small gym downstairs! Of course you have no intention of going to the gym, but the idea is nice! After having a shower and throwing your clothes about the room (because you can), you take a bus into town in search for food. Bologna being one of the world’s oldest cities has buildings and cathedrals dating back to the medieval age. The cobblestoned streets grow more and more narrow, each holding a niche boutique or a dingy looking café. After purchasing some presents for friends back home, you walk in search for a specific restaurant recommended to you by the receptionist at the hotel.
You find yourself in a small room laden with large tables, excitedly trying to figure out the all-Italian menu. Giving up on this, you simply ask for any vegetarian pasta, after a starter of crunchy bread and roasted Mediterranean vegetables. You share a litre of wine before digging in to your delicious pasta. (i)
(i) I’ve completely forgotten what type of pasta, but it was with a tomato sauce with eggplants, ricotta and parmesan. Pretty good!
After dinner you find a gelato shop where Mik orders a scoop of Baci gelato, which you taste while drinking your coffee and smoking yet more cigarettes. During the walk back to the bus station, different men attempt to start conversations with you in Italian, all starting with “Ciao bella!” Feeling uneasy you call it an early night by falling asleep to Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls.
The next morning you gorge on your all-included breakfast of croissants, cake, tea, muesli and yoghurt. Afterwards, you take a recommendation from the receptionist by going on a “short walk” out of town to see a panoramic view of the city. After 2 buses and 3k’s of stairs, you finally get to the top, drenched in sweat. The view is set atop an ancient building that you guess was probably a castle. You look around at the view (was actually pretty average), take some photos, and begin the much easier decent. Once you’re back into the centre of town, you stop by a small restaurant for lunch: the restaurant looks exceedingly posh, but is instead designed for work lunches, with a self-service availability. You get a plate of food, vegies and pasta, and tuck in. As it turns out, the meal is underwhelming, so after a post-food cigarette, you buy some delicious macaroons at the colourful shop next door – these are much nicer.
You walk around town for a bit until it starts to get cold and dark, with a full belly you decide to head back to the hotel to call it an early night of MTV and Facebook. The next morning you eat your free breakfast before heading off for Florence!