Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Report 1104: Perfect Piemonte and Bella Bologna: A Succulent Journey for the Senses and Soul
By Palma from California, Fall 2006
Page 15 of 18: Rainy-day Shopping, and an Anniversary Dinner
After a leisurely breakfast and lots of coffee, we set out on a walk. The morning was cloudy and cooler. We began on Via D’Azelio, browsing a large bookstore. While Brad was still looking at CDs in the music section, I went outside for a smoke. I discovered a small alleyway leading to a tiny courtyard I had never seen before. There in front of me, was the Italian equivalent of a bead store where they made semiprecious jewelry. EUREKA!
I told Brad where he could find me, and he entertained himself for the next hour at other nearby bookstores. I had a ball with Graziella and Maria, buying several necklaces, earrings they made on the spot to match, and the greatest find… beautiful jeweled clasps. At home, I usually spend $30 a piece for these, and here there were boxes full, for 5 Euro each! What a find! Everything happens for a reason, I always say!
Brad returned, and the women told us of their favorite local restaurant. Today was our anniversary, and the hotel had made us a reservation at a recommended spot. We called the hotel to cancel, and immediately called for a table for our anniversary dinner at Trattoria Della Santa.
By now it was raining gatti e cani, and we had left umbrellas in our room. A wonderful thing about Bologna, is that rain can’t get you with so many covered porticos. We sat in a sidewalk caffe, under a portico, and journaled through a couple cups of cappuccino. I bought cell phone minutes for a friend, and we continued window-shopping to keep dry. We visited the large tourist office, bought some postcards, and ended up in our favorite caffe on Piazza Maggiore, sharing a panino and cold drinks. We enjoyed quite a lightening and thunder show, possibly the loudest thunder I have ever heard! We had books with us, and remained in our spot for a couple of hours.
The rain calmed down, and finally stopped by 3:30. We went into the Duomo, and lit some candles. At 4:00, I hit my last Bologna store, and bought two more wonderful Christmas gifts, then splurged on a large, luscious velvet shawl and a top for myself. We returned to the hotel for a nap and some packing.
Later, we showered and dressed for our anniversary dinner. Though it was raining, it was a short walk to the restaurant. All the streetlights had gone out, so it was very dark, and a little creepy. Occasional car headlights helped us see where we were walking. We found the restaurant filled with Italians, without a “tourist type” in sight, or an English word being spoken.
I began with tortellini in a pink sauce with ragu and cream. Brad had a white version, followed by saltimbocca. I had a great veal chop cooked in butter and lots of sage. Between each course, we opened anniversary cards. Brad took a photo of me with the new, huge, “fun” ring I was wearing. The family at the next table commented that it must be my “regalo”. I laughed and told them it was my regalo to myself. They were surprised to hear us speak Italian. Brad followed by saying, “Il viaggio e il regalo!” Panna cotta followed with grappa for Brad and coffee. Our bill with wine, acqua and coperto was 60 Euro!
By the time we left, the rain had stopped, and the streetlights were back on. When we got back to our room, we found a lovely bouquet of flowers and a chilled bottle of good Prosecco with an anniversary note from the hotel manager. It was a lovely evening, and a great last night in Bologna.
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