Resting in The Fat One

Trip Start Mar 27, 2006
Trip End Jun 06, 2006

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Retail Therapy and a Nuttelaria

Bologna is known in Italy as "La Grassa" (the fat one), because it is the countries gastronomic center. Famous for food, it's historic center, the university, and it's food. Where better to take a rest and catch up on some personal maintenance (our laundry was less then fresh). The day and a half we spent here was filled with blogging, laundry, relaxing, walking and eating.

Blogging- Our Internet point of interest was called "EthnoLink." We spent a ton of time during our two days visit to Bologna in a little booth updating the blog (at 2 Euros an hour it was a steal, the Internet point in Venice charged 8 Euros and hour). During that time we got to know a lot about EthnoLink and the friendly guys that run it. Highlights included the hourly lysol spray-down of the entire place. The scorching heat of our little office space (think telephone booth on the sun- this made the lysol a must). Loosing an entire blog entry when our computer froze. The store clerk referred to us as speaking Italian more then once. We thought he was joking but after being around the shop for awhile, it was clear we spoke as much Italian as the rest of the customers. Shilo said it was the first time she understood most conversations going on around us in Italian. We figured this was because everyone, including us, only knows the same five phrases.

Laundry- Our second trip to a formal self-serve laundry. The owner's Mom was running the place and was very helpful. Margherita had lived in Cleaveland for 30 year an had recently moved back to help her son with his business. We talked at great length about the differences between the US and Italy. While the cheese was better in Italy, she missed the big houses in the US. After an hour our cloths were fluffy and smelled better than they had for a long time. It is important to note by this time on the trip our clothes have started to fall apart. Apparently, washing something in a sink every night and wearing it everyday is hard on your clothing, even if it is super wicking.

Relaxing- Bologna has a very calm feel for a large Italian city. The arcaded sidewalks are huge, so you are not constantly dodging cars and scooters. As far as arcaded sidewalks go, Genova was memorable for being black and white, Torino was memorable for the elegant details, and Bologna for the grand size, tall enough for a man on horseback or Shilo on Gabe's back (the former point is from our guidebook, the later is a personal estimate). Bologna's historic city center is incredibly well preserved and Gabe really enjoyed the fountain in Piazza Nettuno. Created by Giambologna, it features Neptune and numerous sea-nymphs with multiple streams of water shooting out of their breasts. Shilo didn't see too much of the Piazza because she was engaging in some retail therapy, at the clothing store "H&M." Her athletic bra had been hand wrung one to many times and had become more of a blouse then a bra, so she bought a new one. It was difficult as most of the bras had Snoopy on them (on some he was only on the inside of the cup?).

Walking- Our "hotel" was on the other side of the train tracks, literally. This resulted in some long walks, but the price was right. Gabe thought the name, "Daily Bed," was very witty. Adding to the humor was the fact that Bruno (one of the owners) didn't seem to get the pun, and his wife (who spoke no English) kept calling it "Bed and Bed." Shilo pointed out that his wife was accurate, as there was no breakfast.

Eating- All of our meals out were at "Del Moretto" a great osteria filled with artwork, artists, and no tourists. Both nights that we ate here we had Tortelloni filled with parmesan and ricotta cheese (a famous Bolognese pasta). On the first night we had Tortelloni with a rocket pesto, and on the second with cherry tomatoes. One of the interesting parts of eating in an authentic restaurant in Italy is the menu, or lack there of. Most places change their dishes daily, so even if you have the same homemade pasta the dish is entirely different (based on what was fresh at the market that morning). We also made a stop at the first official "Nutelleria" that we had seen. It offered 9 different Nutella based deserts including, a Nutella crepe, a Nutella filled donut, Nutella and ice cream, something called Nutella pizza and a Nutella-corn flakes square (like a rice crispy square). Shilo, chose the corn flake square and even she couldn't finish it.

A review- Bologna's churches (Bologna's most famous church "Saint Petronio" was closed for restoration, so we tried to visit some smaller churches on our walks)

Shilo's thoughts- Feeling out of sorts not having been in a church that day, we wondered into a some church on our way to dinner. The most memorable part of the church was the elderly priest who invited us to mass. When we said we were only in town for the day, he immediately walked away from us mid-sentence.

Gabe's thoughts- We would have visited more of Bologna's churches but we encountered a problem. Even though the main outer doors were open, I kept opening the second door only to find a wooden wall, so I thought the churches were closed. After a few tries I figured out that the churches in Bologna have a double interior door. We didn't find this anywhere else in Italy, it lead to many "three stooges" moments (think of Curly/ me getting frustrated and barking at the never ending doors).

"Riposo" (Italian for rest, which we needed after Venice)

Shi and Gabe
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Bre on

man, that sounds great!

Bre on

I really like bologna too...sooo good!

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