Emily in Florence: a Saturday in Bologna

    8:00 a.m. — Found myself eating a muffin at the McCafé of Florence, Italy, (pathetic, I know) then moseyed over to the train station to meet my friends and buy my ticket for a day trip to Bologna!

    Photo by the author.

    8:15 a.m. — Boarded the train and sat down in these cute private compartments.

    9:05 a.m. to 9:10 a.m. — A women followed by six middle-school-aged kids poked her head into our compartment and said something very quickly in Italian. After a few confusing minutes we realized they had reserved this cabin, so we resigned to sitting in the far too narrow aisle.

    9:30 a.m. — Arrived in Bologna!

    9:35 a.m. — Began to wander the streets of Bologna. I immediately noticed the large porticos, which Bologna is apparently famous for. These porticos, or arched sidewalks, cover almost every street in the historic center. This is excellent because the weather is supposed to be rainy today.

    10:20 a.m. — Arrive at the first free museum, the Museuo Civico Medievale. We had the option to buy an English audio tour, but it didn’t feel right spending 4 euro at a free museum.

    10:25 a.m. — Definitely should have gone for the audio tour. All the little signs next to the artifacts are in Italian. What should have been an educational trip ends up being a guessing game.

    11:15 a.m. — Left the museum, feeling less informed than I had hoped. Pressed onwards to the center of the city.

    11:30 a.m. — Arrived at the next free museum, the Museuo Civico Archeologico. I might have gotten the audio tour, but they didn’t even offer it.

    11:36 a.m. — Realize that this museum is incredibly overwhelming. So many things to look at. Arrowhead number 94578 looks nice, maybe a little nicer than 94577. On to the next.

    11:40 a.m. — Head downstairs to the ancient Egyptian exhibit. I find it strange that there is an ancient Egypt exhibit in a museum in Bologna, Italy, but I didn’t ask questions.

    12:43 p.m. to 1:32 p.m. — Ate a delicious panino (sandwich) at Osteria dell’Orsa. Mmm.

    2:00 p.m. — Found our way to the oldest continually operating university in the world, the Universitaria di Bologna.

    2:10 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. — Walked through a stunning library that reminded me of Deering. Ah, Northwestern.

    3:15 p.m. — Arrived at the third FREE museum, MAMbo, the Bologna Museum of Modern Art. I’m not a big modern art gal, but free is free.

    5:27 p.m. — Walked through a part of Bologna not covered by porticos and therefore got rained on quite a bit. I stepped in a massive puddle and thoroughly soaked my socks and sneakers. Yuck.

    6:01 p.m. — Sat down for aperitivo at Café Videor. Aperitivo is an Italian custom of having a pre-dinner drink with small buffet, kind of like eating cheese and crackers with a class of wine before dinner. Schmoozed with friends, ate more than I should have, and drank something fruity and delicious!

    7:24 p.m. — Arrived at the restaurant, a small pizzeria with very little atmosphere. However, what they lacked in atmosphere was made up for in food. Bologna is famous for its stuffed pastas so of course I went for the tortelloni (note: tortelloni is stuffed with meat, while tortellini is stuffed with cheese.)

    8:00 p.m. — Tortelloni in brodo arrives, it is amazing. I am amazed. I decide I need to come back to Bologna to eat this again.

    8:46 p.m. — Ask my friends to double check what time the train leaves, and this leads to the unfortunate discovery that there was no train back to Florence that night. Oh dear.

    Photo by the author.

    9:23 p.m. — Arrived back at the train station to double check the information we found on the internet. The man at the ticket booth didn’t speak any English, so I managed to put together this sentence, Vorrei andare a Firenze stasera (I would like to go to Florence tonight.) No, domani mattina (No, tomorrow morning) Ugh.

    9:24 p.m. — Ugh.

    9:29 p.m. — Began asking hotels if they could help us, as Bologna apparently doesn’t have any cheap hostels in the city center.

    9:45 p.m. — Rain.

    10:42 p.m. — Finally settled on the Hotel Europa, a 4-star hotel that gave us a room for three for 90 euro.

    11:04 p.m. — Collapsed on bed.

    11:05 p.m. to 10:07 a.m. — Sleep.

    10:07 a.m. — Woke up and enjoyed a delicious continental breakfast. Thank you Hotel Europa!

    11:09 a.m. — Departed on a train bound for Prato, a small town near Florence. On the train I took some bad pictures of the beautiful view and got my all time high score in Nokia snake xenzia.

    12:23 p.m. — Arrived in Prato, with just enough time to grab lunch at a pizza place right near the train station.

    2:00 p.m. — Arrived in Florence.

    2:30 p.m. — Entered my apartment building, climbed two flights of stairs, unlocked the front door and fell on the bed. Home at last.

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