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Report 1104: Perfect Piemonte and Bella Bologna: A Succulent Journey for the Senses and Soul

By Palma from California, Fall 2006

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Page 10 of 18: Tearful Goodbyes, Outlet Shopping, and on to Bologna!

photo by Palma

Fritatta

On this last day in Piemonte, I was up early, finished packing, had lots of coffee, and our last of Diana’s gastronomically delightful breakfasts: Tomatoes and basil, salami, hot pepper goat cheese, cantaloupe and mixed berries, fresh bread, peach torta, and a whole plate of figasms. Brad topped this off with a a fontina, tomato, rosemary omlette, while I stuffed the last of the figasms into my mouth, trying to memorize the taste for the months of dieting that will need to happen when I get home. I then polished off another pot of coffee. I don’t know if it is legal to fast in Bologna, but my next meal should be sometime in October. We said goodbye to Micha early, as he was off to pick up guests who were arriving for a tour. We reluctantly loaded the car and had tearful goodbyes with Diana and my sweet Max. What an amazing week with warm, gracious, wonderful people! We arrived as SlowTravel guests, and left as forever friends.

We stopped briefly in Acqui to mail Slow Travel a postcard, and set out for Emilia-Romagna. In a little over an hour, we were on the A1, and ready to take a shopping break. Too bad I had done my homework on the “Italian Indulgences” thread, so I knew of the Fidenza Outlet Mall, just about half way to Bologna. Thanks, “mcpepe!”

I began with a stop in a kitchen store where I found a small gift. Then came a laser strike at Furla: shoes and a purse for 105 Euro. (Cute rust suede walking shoes with rust patent leather Velcro criss-cross closure straps that match my Furla purse from Lucca, and a great brown handbag with gold embroidery of an Italy scene!) A set of sheets for the guest room completed my three shopping bag morning in less than an hour. We stopped at a caffé for some coffee, and were back on the road.

We arrived in Bologna at 4:00, made our way to the centro, and did the old “Palma jumps into a taxi, and Brad follows to the hotel” trick. A well-spent 6 Euro! The Hotel Porta San Mamolo is a cute three star hotel with adequate, clean rooms, and a decent bathroom with shower and pretty tile. It’s charm lies in its inner courtyard garden and sunny breakfast room. It is an easy walk to Piazza Maggiore, most tourist sights, and shopping areas. We checked in, freshened up, and walked to the piazza for a glass of wine, window shopping along the way. Recharged with vino, taralle, and cappuccino, we strolled Via Farini until we found a nice trattoria for dinner. As it was only 7:45, and too early for dinner, we sat outside under a portico with a glass of wine, chatting with the owner until his first customers arrived to eat at 8:15. He mentioned today being 9/11, and brought me in to the back of the restaurant to show me he had hung an American flag in memory of today’s anniversary.

For dinner, Brad had tortellini Bolognese and Bocconcini di Barolo (turkey cooked in Barolo wine). I had tortelloni Bolognese and Cotoletto Bolognese (a veal cutlet topped with prosciutto and parmesan cheese). Dinner with wine was 66 Euro. On the way back to our hotel, we stopped for cappucini at Zapanini, a trendy caffe with orchids on the outdoor tables. It was a great introductory evening in Bologna.

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