European.Escape – Bologna – December.2011

From Paris, we made our way to Gare de Lyon to board a sleeper train to Milan, Italy.  I was so excited because one of the things on my bucket list is to sleep on a train!  This cabin held 6 people, but there were only four of us.  Good thing, too, because one of the bunks were broken.  Of course, I wanted to sleep on the very top.  Not such a good idea, though.  The top light stayed on, and I was still jet lagged, and I just couldn’t sleep for the entire ride!

at first it was exciting.  at the end i was just tired.

at first it was exciting. at the end i was just tired.

Milano Centrale - very nice!

Milano Centrale – very nice!

When we finally got to Bologna, we literally walked across the street to our hotel, Mercure Bologna Centro.  Viale Pietramellara, 59.  It was very convenient and we could walk to middle of town.

the view of our window pointed right at the train station - literally across the street.

the view of our window pointed right at the train station – literally across the street.

We arrived in Bologna around 8:30am and knew we couldn’t get our hotel room just yet.  We checked in and left our bags there, then caught a taxi to go the Ducati Factory for Jay.  Ducati Motor Holding, via Antonio Cavalieri Ducati 3.  Jay paid for all of us since he was dragging us along (10Euros – 8EUR with a Ducati ownership card, which Jay had left at home, duh!).  Throughout the tour, Jay was that obnoxious know-it-all kid with his hand up in class saying, “Oh, oh, oh!  I know, I know!”  Really, it was just the four of us on this tour and he still had to raise his hand every time our tour guide asked us a question.  As an individual who doesn’t ride any kind of motorcycle, let alone a Ducati, it was somewhat interesting to me.  I could’ve passed on this, but I didn’t find it totally boring… it was bearable.

outside the factory, I could feel Jay getting excited.

outside the factory, I could feel Jay getting excited.

we could only take pictures of the museum, not the factory.

we could only take pictures in the museum, not the factory.

After the Ducati factory tour, we went straight to town.  We were dropped off at Piazza Maggiore where we looked around and took pictures of Neptune’s Fountain, or Fonatana di Nettuno.  We walked around and I just loved the streets of Bologna.  It wasn’t crowded with tourists and there were lots of alleyways you could tuck in to.   We found this place – La Baita Formaggi, 3 Via Pescherie Vecchie, on our walk and decided to stop to have lunch.  We originally just wanted one plate of meat and cheese and the waitress tried to convince us one plate was for one person, not four.  We compromised and bought two plates.  One plate would’ve been enough.  Walking around town we also stopped to see Asinelli’s Tower, but didn’t climb up the 498 wooden stairs.  I’m not even sure if this was it because it looked like it was under construction and I didn’t see any entrance.

Piazza Maggiore, the center of town.

Piazza Maggiore, the center of town.

Neptune's Fountain

Neptune’s Fountain

walking through the streets

walking through the streets

this formaggio

this place

Here's the sign

Here’s the sign

here's the plates

here’s the plates

the tower

the tower

After a day of wandering, we went back to the hotel to get our rooms.  After a quick clean-up we headed back out for dinner.  We had asked the taxi driver who took us to the Ducati Factory earlier in the morning for a restaurant recommendation, so we checked it out (I forgot the name).  It was closed with a sign on the door, which we tried to decipher.  We must’ve looked confused because a lady came over to translate for us – it was closed on Mondays.  She recommended a place called Diana.  But she said one wrong thing, “It’s mentioned in all the tourists books.”  As soon as she said that, I knew Jay wasn’t thinking about going.  We walked to a small hotel and asked the front desk, they pointed us to a nearby restaurant.  They were closed too!  We were beginning to think that all restaurants were closed on Mondays.  When we arrived at yet another closed restaurant, a couple started to unlock the front door.  When we asked if they were closed and they replied with a bit of arrogance that they didn’t open until 7:30.  Ooh.  Now we get it.  Europeans eat late.  Back home in Hawaii, we eat from 5:00pm.  At 7:00pm, it’s a late dinner already.

So we casually walked around and then found a restaurant just opened for the night.  Taverna Dei Lords.  Via Nazario Sauro, 12/b.  We were tired and hungry so we basically asked them to make us whatever.  And whatever they made, it was great.  But it was too much.  By the time we were served main dish, we took one bite just to try it.  Jay’s favorite part, surprisingly, was the dessert.  It was at this restaurant that Jay fell in love with the panna cotta, and hasn’t found one like it since.

Course 1

Course 1

Course 2

Course 2

Course 3

Course 3

Course 4

Course 4

Course 5

Course 5

Dessert!  It was like a dessert bar brought to our table and we could take what we wanted, as much as we wanted.  he probably knew we couldn't eat any more!

Dessert! It was like a dessert bar brought to our table and we could take what we wanted, as much as we wanted. he probably knew we couldn’t eat any more!

Bologna was great and we spent the entire day there and left the next morning.  The town was quaint and I loved the streets, but I think we did everything there’s to do and see in Bologna.  The next morning, we were ready to leave for Greece!

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