Italian breakfast is not the same grand affair of it’s American cousin. Italians prefer to eat breakfast on the go. Standing at an espresso bar counter enjoying a cappuccino and a cornetto (croissant) or another pastry option. Coffee is inexpensive, it’s an Italian’s birth right. At the train station in Venice Shay and I arrive early to get a cappuccino. We notice that we can get a croissant, cappuccino and a glass of fresh squeezed juice for five euro. Sounds like the perfect way to start the day. In Italy juice doesn’t come in a carton or jug it is squeezed in front of you via a contraption that could be from Willy Wonka’s factory. Today’s selection is blood orange and grapefruit. We slurp down our Cappuccino, and gobble up our flakey cornetto. When we leave the counter it looks like a croissant explosion. We notice other guest are having the same experience, normale. We make our way to Platform 9 to get on the train to our next stop: Bologna.
The trains are nice in Italy and inexpensive when you book in advance. We luckily had a discount code in March so we took advantage and booked our trains then. Venice to Bologna would take us less than two hours. We watch a movie on Shay’s laptop to make the time go by faster.
Once we arrive in Bologna we have business to attend to. The night before Shay had dropped her mobile smart phone. The touch screen unresponsive it had to be fixed. We pop into a place that sells smartphones. Do they know a good repair shop. Si, si they send us off down the street to have the phone fixed in half an hour. Shay explains the problem in her broken Italian. No need to worry, there is a bar we can go to while we wait. Rain is in the forecast for the next few days, and my sneakers did not make it past Florence. I’ve been wearing sandals, but those will not do with rain. We duck into a sporting good store to find some shoes for me. When we emerge it’s time to go get Shay’s phone. When we go to pick it up the technician greets us in English. “You speak English? You let me struggle through my broken Italian?” Shay says. “Well, how else will you learn?” It’s a fair enough point but it seems the rest of Italy does not wish us to learn. Something that irritates me but, is very frustrating to Shay who has spent the last 6 months intensively studying Italian language. We can’t decide if it’s their way of being kind or if they can’t stand how we sound. Happy to be humored we take the phone and decide its time to start thinking about lunch.
We head to the Piazza Maggiore to take in some of the sites of the old historical center. We will be going on a bike tour later of Bologna so we decide not to take too many photos. We walk towards the shops on the other side of the square and find Mercado di Mezzo. It’s on the list! There are lots of food markets in Bologna. But, Mercado di Mezzo is the oldest one.
We order pasta stuffed with spinach and ricotta, a Cannelloni (the child of Manicotti and Lasagna) And two glasses of Sangiovese to wash it all down. We are not disappointed.
We follow up lunch with Gelato from Galleria 49. We are making our way back to the train station to collect our luggage, when I get a call from our AirBNB host. “Why didn’t we meet his mother at 2:30 to get the key?” He had said 3:30, we make arrangements to get the key from his mother’s office.
After checking in and relaxing for a bit it’s time to head on our bike tour. We make our way to meet our guides, they are both from Bologna. They know a bit of the history of the city, but tend to ignore the traffic laws. They take us to the Pizza Maggoire and to the old gates of the city. Bologna is a town of towers. Medieval towers are everywhere. Twenty-two still remain from when wealthy families would try to out tower each other.
After almost being squished by a bus and taken out by a car. I’m happy when the bike tour is over. Plus, we have dinner reservations at Al Pappagallo and it’s definitely time to eat.
To be continued….