Venice to Bologna
9:30am, St. Lucia station, Venice
Ugh, my train to Bologna doesn’t leave til 10:57. Considering I’m wasting time here and buying 2 tickets (Venice to Bologna, Bologna to Rome) is about the same price as a direct (high speed) Eurostar ticket to Rome (which leaves sooner), Bologna better be worth it!! I don’t think there’s much there except amazing food (helloooooooo spaghetti bolognese, aka tagliatelle al ragu) and lots of brick.
I have to say, my mind is set on Rome now. I can’t wait to get there! I just have a feeling I’m going to adore it. I’m excited to see all the gorgeous churches and the Vatican and all the ruins. I hope my hostel isn’t full of crazy partiers. I’ve been so lucky this first week, all my roommates at all 3 hostels have gone to bed before I have and have been really nice and friendly.
And why is it so effing hot?! It’s only May, it shouldn’t be in the 80′s yet!
Last night I had cassata gelato on the Zattere – so amazing. Cassata is a hard flavor to find here – apparently it’s Sicilian? It’s by far my favorite; I just can’t shake it since I had it all.the.time. in Sydney last year.
Also, why do smoking Italians feel the need to sit right next to me? Smoking’s definitely more prevalent here, though thankfully restaurants and trains have now gone smoke-free. But seriously, people walk around Italy just as much as (if not more than) they do with a gelato in hand as they do with a cigarette.
Well, my thoughts on Bologna the city pretty much coincide with bologna the coldcut: ew.
First of all, it was ridiculously hot out. They forecasted a high of 33C (95ish F) and I saw a sign with the date, time, and a ‘+36′, which I presume was the current temp. Um, that’s about 100 degrees – I don’t know if it was THAT hot (it’s quite possible though), but it was definitely at least 90. So gross.
Bologna has lots of faded red brick buildings and streets lined with porticoes that have shops and cafes along them. It seemed very busy – lots of students around, not many tourists. There really wasn’t much to see. The main square, Piazza Maggiore, has the Basilica di San Petronio, which remains unfinished because they didn’t want it to be bigger than St. Peters – so it’s *only* the 5th largest in the world. The bottom half of the front exterior is light pink / white-colored, and the top is all rustic brown. There’s also Neptune’s Fountain which has 4 mermaid statues spurting water out of their chests. Quite a sight. The university area had some interesting buildings but was busy. I went inside the Basilica di Santa Maria dei Servi mainly to sit in the AC for awhile, but it was a pretty nice church too.
I ventured to the other side of town for lunch at Trattoria da Diano, recommended by Lonely Planet as a good cheap place where locals eat. My main objective was to try – duh – spaghetti bolognese. Which I did. And it was delicious! The trattoria was cosy, and the waiter left a slip of paper with my order on the table, which eliminated the need to wait an absurd amount of time before asking for the check. Oh, and they had the Simpsons (dubbed) playing on the tv there. Yeah, I’d say this place was pretty ace.
I also made a point to get gelato at an award-winning, world renowned gelateria called la Sorbetteria Castiglione, where they actually churn the gelato right there behind the counter. Apparently the gelato is very healthy too. I had cassata (didn’t taste like it at all, but still good) and something with caramel and marscapone. It was very thick and creamy and thus, really good
I then decided I’d had enough of Bologna, bought a ticket to Rome, retrieved my left luggage, and waited as the train was delayed 30min from Venice. Ugh, get me out of this craphole!!
The scenery has definitely changed. In the north, it was flat green grass and little else. Now we’re going through Tuscany and it’s hilly and full of green trees with random scattering of small stone houses and even castles. So pretty! Too bad my contact is bothering me in this hot weather… rarrrrrrrrarar.
Oh and I love how everyone cuts me in line at water fountains. And how, when I’m wheeling an enormous suitcase up and down the train car, people coming from the opposite direction won’t budge, forcing me to attempt to lift my luggage into the nearest seat, probably hit a few people in the process, and then get out of the way myself. It would be immensely easier for these pushy people to simply duck into the nearest seat and let me pass. In America, they definitely would have had this sort of courtesy!
The train wasn’t very crowded, at least from Florence to Rome. We arrived in Rome just before 10pm and I grabbed an enormous salad at the Termini station, though it was probably old and therefore not too tasty. My hostel, The Yellow, was a few minutes away from the station. Upon arriving, I was overwhelmed by the traffic and noise! I’d wanted to venture out into the city, but was too tired so I showered and went to bed instead.