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Report 1933: Le Marche & Umbria: Three Women, Truffle Dogs and an Uncooperative GPS

By Pokey from MA, Spring 2011

Trip Description: April 28-May 13, 2011. Another adventure with Colleenk! We visit Le Marche, Ascoli Piceno and a few hill towns in Umbria.

Destinations: Countries - Italy; Regions/Cities - Emilia-Romagna, Marche, Rome, Umbria

Categories: Hotels/B&Bs; Cooking Classes; Day Tours; Foodie Trip; Sightseeing; Independent Travel; Package Tour; 3-4 people

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Page 1 of 14: The Adventure Begins in Bologna

photo by Mindy Smith

Mindy, Michele, and Colleenk begin our adventure at da Nello, Bologna

Not knowing whether I would even be able to go on this trip, I am finally ready to hop in the cab and be on my way to Logan. My first time flying Iberia Airlines. I luck out and have two seats to myself. Flight crew very nice; handsome men with fabulous accents. Arrive in Milan and am impressed with the architecture of the huge airport. Very modern in design with easy to read signs. The ceiling is covered in curvy slats, reminding me of deck chairs on a luxury liner only hanging upside down.

I would allow at least an hour to get through security, get the tram to connecting gates, grab a coffee and use the bathroom. My connection to Bologna is Gate K. Full flight on a small plane to Bologna. My luggage arrives (whew!) and Marcello is there to welcome me with a huge smile and un grande abbraccio! As only Marcello can, he mentions the crazy bureaucracy of the Italian government. He has a new credit card with a chip but it won't work at the airport parking lot! He has to go back inside and pay then get a paper ticket stub to insert at the exit gate. He cracks me up!

The drive to Alloro Suite Hotel in Bologna takes about 25 minutes (although not in historic center of Bologna, a very nice hotel, reasonably priced for our two night stay; Via Ferrarese, 161, Tel 051 37 2960). Marcello and I discuss the upcoming tour in Le Marche. I am looking forward to meeting Colleen’s friend Michele and the two guys from Delaware who would be with us also. Marcello checks me into my room and after dropping off my luggage we go across the street for my first cappuccino of the trip!

It is now about 3:30pm and Colleen calls me from the Rome airport to say her flight from Boston was delayed and she’ll be arriving in Bologna in a few hours (by train).

I say, "Ciao, ciao," to Marcello (we will all meet up with him “domani”) and return to my room for a shower. I relax and watch The Royal Wedding on TV. I want to check out the WiFi situation so go to the front desk. The gentleman is so nice and gets me on board with WiFi. I notice there is a nice bar area so ask for a glass of white wine. I am introduced to Falanghina (Feudi San Gregorio 2010) and I love this wine! I will say now that it was my favorite wine of the trip!

I have a lovely chat with a young gal who is on a solo trip to Italy. She lives in South Africa! Soon, Colleen and Michele arrive and we hug and I quickly order them each a glass of vino. We sit out on the patio and babble on and on about our upcoming adventure. Colleen and Michele check into their rooms.

Our first gastronomic meal in Bologna is at Da Nello (Via Montegrappa 2 Tel. 051 236 6331). I enjoy every bite of my Lasagna Verdi Bolognese while C&M both love the Tagliatelle Bolognese. We inhale the zucchini flowers. The bread served are works of art! I have a glass of Trebbiano.

Afterward, we waddle over to Gelateria Gianni (one of the best) where I savor every lick of my Nutella and pistachio cone!

Taxi back to our hotel and a good night’s sleep!

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