Bologna, Verona, Parma

Trip Start Mar 15, 2006
Trip End Dec 20, 2006

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Tuesday, May 2, 2006

This week hasn't quite been the showcase of my forward planning and organisational skills that I would have liked. Monday being a public holiday, I decided to travel a bit further afield. I set off Saturday morning, but having failed to prebook my train tickets (very easy on the internet) I ended up having to take the slow regional train that stops every station. It started to rain by the time I reached Bologna (but not such a bad place to be when it rains because most of the city has covered arcades), and of course accommodation was hard to find, so I ended up settling for a fairly expensive double room in a seedy part of town. Bologna is an interesting town, and I could imagine it would be a nice place to live (much nicer than Florence). It is home to a large university, the communist party (they tried to solicit me to join, the third time so far in this country!), a lively night life (there are lots of little bars everywhere), red brick houses, and good food (many famous dishes originate in Bologna). I climbed one of the two medieval towers that still stand (The taller one only has 1.3 metre lean and gave a good view over Bologna, but the shorter tower leans even further and is unsuitable for climbing).

The next day I had thought about travelling to Venice as this was probably my favourite city from my last visit to Italy, but decided against it due to the rain and risk of flooding and smelly overflowing canals. So I headed to Verona, again forgotting to prebook my tickets and catching the slow regional train. In Verona I decided to save myself the 2km walk from the train station into town by catching the bus. Unfortunately I caught the bus a bit too far (right into the next town infact!), before realising my mistake, which didn't leave much time for sightseeing in Verona. Verona was well worth it though, and has the most beautiful houses I have seen in any Italian town so far (hence my many boring photos). It is also home to a pink marble roman arena, and the alledged house of Juliette (from the story of Romeo and Juliet which Shakespeare based on the fuedings of the Scala family, though I'm not sure Juliette was a real person so don't know whose house I actually visited...)

On Monday I travelled to Parma, birthplace of my favourite cheese, and also of Parma ham (which I have never tried), and home of the composer Verdi. It had a pretty pink marble baptistry attached to the cathedral. I din't go inside as I seem to be suffering a bit from cathedral fatigue. The shops were closed and the town was empty given the holiday, which was nice change, but I only stayed a couple of hours, bypassing the opportunity of a 2 hour guided tour of a parmesan cheese factory, but I think maybe that would be taking my love of the cheese a bit too far...

I'm back in Florence now, with only 3 weeks of Italian classes left before I head to Sicily, Croatia and Greece.
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