July 29, 2014

Bologna: Sunday, July 6

It was a lazy Sunday morning. Shannon and I agreed to meet at noon to finish up some errands (buying wine, prosecco and water for our group). I was up early as usual and read in "my spot", then had breakfast. I checked on all group details with the hotel staff. All of our dinner reservations, bus transportation and room assignments were in place. I filled our goodie bags, then went out for a walk. The Furla store opened at 10, and the sales girl actually remembered me from four years ago when I was in Bologna studying Italian. It was one of my daily stops to practice speaking. I got a gorgeous black and white bag at the sale price, and carried more water bottles home from the Coop. Happy Palma!

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We met at Piazza Santo Stefano, and enjoyed coffee and wine. After discussing group details, and some good people-watching, we had pizza at La Mela for a late lunch-early dinner. Five of our seven group members were coming in a day early tomorrow, to avoid jet lag, and we were ready to greet them at at the hotel in the morning.

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July 28, 2014

Bologna: Saturday, July 5, 2014

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I am so happy at "my spot" at San Mamolo. I have my little terrace. When Paola is setting up breakfast at 6:30, she immediately brings me a coffee on my little table, before the breakfast room opens at 7:00.

I enjoyed my peaceful early morning time in my "happy place", and wrote this little poem:

Italian morning
Birds chirping, soft sunlight, the trickle of a fountain;
Scents of honeysuckle, lavender and geraniums;
Dark, rich coffee and smiling dark eyes;
"Buon giorno"
How could it not be?
I am HOME

I had an early breakfast, unpacked, and went for a long walk down Via Independanzia to the Saturday market. I bought an Italian cotton nightgown and a pair of mint green sandals for a total of 15 euro. I stopped at the TIM store and got my month's plan for my Italian sim card for my i-Phone with unlimited calls, texts, data, and 250 minutes to the U.S. to speak with Brad until he arrives. I wandered into a few shops and stopped for coffee. Then at 11:30, I met Shannon at the market to gather items for our welcome bags. We had coffee at Eataly, then shopped for goodies and treats for our bags. We were done by 2:30 for some down time.

We met at 6:00 at the Bar Celastina for an apertivo. From there we walked to the neighborhood where we would have dinner. A soccer game was on, so we found a funky bar a couple blocks from the restaurant, that turned out to be the weirdest place I have ever been to in Bologna! We called it the "anarchist-gay-hippy-tatoo bar" with great 2 euro wine. It was very hot and humid, but Shannon got to watch soccer, and watching the people there was QUITE an experience. Let's just say we were the oldest, most over-dressed, non-lesbian, untattooed women there!

I chose one of my favorite restaurants, Antica Osteria Romagnola, for our dinner. We were not disappointed.

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We began with their assortment of antipasti: sliced mortadella, fresh ricotta (that tastes like the cow was JUST milked in the kitchen), beans, tomatoes, olives, and cippolini onions in a balsamico glaze, all served with fresh bread and piadini. Our entree was a baby suckling pig (maiolino) for two with roasted potatoes. The wine was delicious, and we had their special dessert of coffee gelato with espresso and coffee liquore. (Shannon was up quite late from the caffine!) Amazing as always!

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After dinner, we headed to Piazza Maggiore, where hundreds of chairs were set up for a film festival. We never thought we'd get a seat, as they were showing a documentary before the main feature, A Hard Day's Night. We lucked into a table at one of the bars on the piazza with a great view of the huge screen, and a table and waiter for wine to boot! Lucky us! It was so fun to watch the Beatles (no subtitles for the Italians), and of course I sang along with every song. There was the cutest young Italian guy, half my age sitting next to me, sharing my ashtray, whose feet were bopping to the music who was also singing along. It seemed like the whole city was in the piazza enjoying the classic music of my youth! Awesome! A perfect Saturday night!

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July 27, 2014

From the Beginning: Arriving in Bologna

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I was very stressed before leaving for Italy. I had been dealing with the "new teeth", issues at work, Brad's new job and commute, and other stressors. I got on the plane (business class, no less), and all the stress went away! A glass of wine got me to Chicago, another at ORD, and I slept the rest of the way to Bologna, (OK a latte macchiato in Munich helped too)!
I landed in Bologna on the 4th of July at 4:30. By 5:00 I was pulling up to the Hotel Porta San Mamolo. I had a royal greeting from all my friends there; the owner, Roberto Condello met my taxi with hugs in the street and brought in my bags. Elisa at the front desk, also greeted me with a warm hug, and she and Monica took care of every detail for our group guests. It is my home away from home.

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Soon Shannon walked over from her apartment to meet me for a drink. I gave her the tour of the hotel, and then we hit two neighborhood bars for a glass of wine. Later we had a great pasta dinner at Al Sangiovese. One last glass of vino at La Mura (next door to the hotel), and I had a wonderful first night's sleep.

July 2, 2014

One More Sleep

Thursday, I'm off to Bella Italia, a few days before our GrapeHops-Palmabella's Italy group in Bologna and Venice. I am looking forward to seeing Shannon, being back in beautiful Italy (even in the heat), and eating and drinking some wine (and COFFEE)!
I am MOST excited about seeing my son, Federico, in Venice, after our group!!
Whoo Hoo!

It's my last day of work, but I'm packed, and the house is ready for my house-dog sitters. Brad will join us in Venice in a few days!

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June 30, 2014

Intern Pot Luck

Friday night I hosted a summer BBQ Pool Party for my interns. It started out as a "Buon Viaggio" Party for Senorina and I. (She and her husband are joining our GrapeHops-Palmabella's Italy group to Bologna and Venice.) Last week, our amazing Clinical Director, Lena, announced she is leaving our agency, so we wanted to honor her and spend some time time hanging out together.

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The menu had an Italian theme! I made some home made pizze, some sausage pasta from Bologna, and served some parmigiano with balsamic honey, and prosciutto. Everyone brought the rest, and we drank wine all evening.

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For dessert, I made a simple, do-ahead, refreshing lemon ice-cream cake.

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Make a lemon cookie crust (3 c. lemon cookie crumbs, 4 oz. melted butter in bottom of a 9x13 pyrex. Bake 10 min. at 350. Cool)

The next layer is 1/2 gallon of vanilla ice cream mixed with 8 oz. lemon curd. Freeze.

Next, 2 pints of lemon gelato, softened and spread over ice cream layer. Freeze.

Top with lemon curd before serving!

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About Me

I am a Licensed Marriage, Family Therapist with a private practice in Palm Desert, California. My passions include travel, especially annual trips to Italy, food, and all things Italian. I drink LOTS of coffee, love to cook, entertain, shop and decorate. Read More
Living Better at 50

July 2014

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