Bologna - Visiting Lucia and Valerio

Trip Start Sep 13, 2006
Trip End May 25, 2007

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

After we arrived in Ancona we caught he first train to Bologna to meet Lucia and Valerio, our friends that we met over liters of beer at the Hofbrauhaus. This video is of Lucia and I with Simone singing along to the band there. Both of them work as X-Ray techs so once we arrived there we took a bus to the hospital to pick them up after they finished their shift. It was fun for me to hear about hospital life in Italy. They have worse schedules than the states in that they make them rotate all three shifts in a given month. However, many things are the same, too. We talked about what things they see in their emergency rooms. Because a lot of people take the bus there they get a lot of injuries coming in from people falling down when the bus takes off before they have secured themselves with a bar or seat. We also had a laugh about the weird cases too. Much like the ER at Swedish, they get the cases of people putting strange objects into their lower intestines (if you know what I mean). Of course, Julius was thrilled to be there for that conversation. Medical humor.

Bologna is a little off the beaten track in the Italy circuit. It is certainly more visited than Ancona but it is not yet in the Rick Steves guidebook. However, we found Bologna had a lot of charm and tons of history. It is the home to the oldest university in Italy and is well known for its medieval architecture. It has some wood framed buildings made before the Europeans came to America! Having Lucia and Valerio as tour guides also was a real treat as they took us to their favorite churches and sites around the center of the city.

The slogan of the city is "Bologna the Clever, Bologna the Fat" making reference to the university but also to the passion for food that the locals have. We passed through streets upon streets of markets and shops selling the most delicious-looking of everything - The most delicious looking cakes, tortellini, candy, fresh pasta, cured meats, pickled vegetables... Our mouths were watering, but we held back because we knew Lucia had planned a feast for us at home.

When we met Lucia and Valerio in Germany, Julius confided to Lucia that his favorite Italian dish ever was Spaghetti Bolognese. She said that if we came to visit them she would make it for him. When we got back to their place we found that they had not only made the sauce from scratch, they also had homemade pasta. I had commented that day about how bologna is know in the states as a favorite lunch meat for kids but that it does not have a good reputation in culinary circles. They agreed that in the rest of Italy the bologna isn't that good, but their city (as you would expect) makes it best. We bought some when we made a last minute run to the grocery store, and she was right, it was tasty. We had it is our antipasti course. along with some bread and truffles that we had picked up in Pula, a major truffle region.

The Spaghetti Bolognese was, in Julius' words "The best I ever had". I had to agree, Lucia is a fabulous cook. Of course with Italian dinners you have to squeeze in a second course, which we managed to do, but we did get a break before dessert. For dessert she had homemade tiramisu which was to die for.  We had that with a sweet strawberry wine. After dinner Julius and Valerio flipped on the TV to see what was going on with the Italian soccer matches. As we mentioned in the Como blog, the Italians without Sky Sports (an expensive cable channel) are stuck watching a live play-by-play show on Italian stations. Watching it with Valerio was much more enlightening because he could explain what was going on with all that chaos. It was actually pretty entertaining.

We were sad to say goodbye to them but we promised that either they would visit us in the states or we would try to see them again. The next morning they brought us to the train station and it was off to our last Italian destination, Rome.
   Look at the rest of the Bologna pictures, visit our Bologna Smugmug Page!
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