Well, it was a giant 'whoopsidaisy' for Julia and I this morning, because when I rolled over and looked at the clock it said 11:19 am! (Disclaimer: this would be 10:19 London time, and 3:19 Calgary time - we have an excuse!) Julia was still fast asleep which was incredible, so we both got ready quickly and we headed out the door. It was obviously well past breakfast time, but we had noticed a nice juice/smoothie place last night so we went for a quick and healthy drink. We struggled a bit with some of the ingredients, but I had brought along a little Italian translation book and we looked up what we could. I could only figure out 3 of the 6 in my juice, and I watched the girl put in carrots, celery, and apples. There had a be a solid chunk of lemon in there as well as it was very zippy!! Julia's sounded sweet (we understood peaches and oranges), but hers was insanely tart! We took a picture of the menu so we could figure out what we wanted before we go back tomorrow. They were like a vitamin infusion!


We had a very general idea of a destination in mind - Piazza Maggiore. We wandered down the old streets and popped into a few stores along the way. As we'd only had a juice for breakfast, we were quickly ready for lunch and found a great little place on a side street. The waiter was really nice and friendly, and with his little bits of English and our Italian book we managed to get everything we needed. Fully satiated, we hit the streets of Bologna in search of postcards and stamps (Julia wanted to send a few to her friends). We even looked up stamps in our book, and I felt very professional when I ordered them confidently from the lady behind the counter. (I used a full sentence and everything!) Ta-da!

moviePiazza Maggiore was nice, but the best part was the outdoor cinema set up in the middle. How fun is that? Julia said that it's like a drive-in theatre without the car! They had a huge billboard advertising which movie is playing each night - tonight's movie stars Clint Eastwood, but other than that I didn't understand anything else. Sounds like great fun if we could speak Italian.


After walking for half an hour we were in desperate need of gelato (because otherwise why be in Italy?). I got all crazy and ordered a pistachio granita against Julia's warnings. She was right - it was kind of gross so I threw it away. I love pistachio 

granitagelato, but because I wasn't feeling like anything creamy I thought a granita was a good choice. Nope. I won't make that mistake again! It was very sweet and didn't taste anything like pistachio. Sob.

We stumbled upon a really cute cooking store and spent at least 15 minutes looking at the various spice blends, fancy nougat, and other delights. When we last went to Italy I bought a delicious spice mixture for pasta and I was so disappointed when I finished it. Today I bought one that looks similar, and I am excited to amaze people with my kitchen prowess upon my return.  ;)


We spent a few hours back at our apartment doing some laundry and resting - it is a vacation after all! We were able to chat with both Chloe (in London) and Jeff (in Calgary) through WhatsApp (which is so easy and free!), and it's funny to think that Jeff was just starting his day as we were figuring out where to eat dinner! This super old building has limited cell service, but its wifi is fantastic - which makes free internet calling a blessing!

We ended up eating dinner at a Greek restaurant even though this is only our second day in Italy. We had noticed this restaurant was really busy last night when we walked by, and although we had no idea what type of food it was we decided to take our chance on it tonight. We arrived fairly early for dinner (7:15) so had no problem getting a nice table outside. The food was amazing - I think it was the best spanokopita I have ever had; Julia isn't the biggest spinach fan, but even she loved it! We also shared a mixed meat platter with tzatziki and greek salad and it was excellent. Dessert was equally yummy (can't remember what it was called, but it was custard baked in phyllo pastry with cinnamon and powdered sugar on top. Very light and delicious, especially when served with espresso! We ended up sharing an appetizer, main, and dessert between the two of us, and it was more than enough food. Yum, yum, yum.


actorsWhile we were eating dinner there were a bunch of people in crazy costumes hanging out of a window hooting and hollering and having a very good time. It was quite entertaining, but slightly perplexing. Before we had dessert the window mysteriously closed, and it became quiet. Julia figured that they must be from a play, and after dinner we walked by and saw a sign advertising the musical 'Titanic' that is playing there tonight. If the moods of the actors were any indication, the play is probably fantastic! This city is definitely full of fun, young people. Fun fact of the day - did you know Bologna is home to the world's oldest university? 1088! Insane. Supposedly the university library is gorgeous, and with my propensity for old books I may need to check it out.

We are back at the apartment and relaxing before bed. Unfortunately, the full day cooking class we had booked weeks ago (for tomorrow) was cancelled because our teacher is really sick. She emailed yesterday and was very apologetic about the fact that she is coughing and has lost her voice! Not ideal, and although we realize that she is human, we are both very disappointed as we were really looking forward to it. Now we must fill our day tomorrow - I'm hoping to hop a train to somewhere interesting. Stay tuned!


PS - Please excuse the strange spacing. I don't know why it has been so wonky lately, but I don't have the mental fortitude to spend the time to figure out what is going on. Pretend it is perfect! :)

We have arrived into the warm, soft air of Bologna - what a change from London! Julia and I didn't fly out of Heathrow until 3 pm, which meant that we could take our time this morning eating breakfast, packing up, and making our long way on the tube to the airport. It was a relatively straightforward and easy trip, but it definitely took a while. It was over an hour on the tube, and it cost us a giant £3.10 which is significantly cheaper than the £100 we paid for the taxi over! (Then again, it depends on how much you care about lugging suitcases up and down flights of stairs in stagnant, underground tunnels. Wear extra deodorant.)

Julia was extremely pleased to discover that we were flying out of Terminal 5 because that meant we could eat at Giraffe - a favourite restaurant of hers. We have eaten there a handful of times when we have had connections in the past, so this caused a bit of squealing and bouncing. I must say though, we were both a tad disappointed with our experience. It was okay, but nothing spectacular. I guess this means that we no longer have to go out of our way to eat at Giraffe when we are in Heathrow! 

The flight was easy-peasy - British Airways is always good with great snacks and free drinks, even on short haul flights. No TV's (the horror!), but we had our iPads to occupy us and before we knew it we were landing in Bologna. After a cursory customs look at our passports, we grabbed our bags, hopped in a taxi, and were delivered to the door of our apartment. We have rented apartments all over the world, and this greeting took the cake. Our two hosts met us on the street outside 

palazzothe door and gave the most thorough walk-through I have ever experienced. Giorgio only spoke Italian, but he had a lady interpreter (whose name is escaping me!) who was super helpful. This woman was born and raised in Buffalo, NY, but now lives in Bologna. She has travelled the world, and believe it or not, her favourite place is Kamloops, BC! She said she still dreams about the colour of the grass in Kamloops. Funny. Apparently she rode a Harley Davidson motorcycle across North America in the 70s. Can you imagine??

Our apartment is gigantic, and way bigger than the two of us need. I have a giant master bedroom to myself, and Julia has the choice of two twin beds in the room next to me. We have two bathrooms, a giant living room, and a fully equipped kitchen with all of the spices and everything! I rented it knowing that it was too big, but the price was amazing (less than half the price of the hotel we just stayed at in London), and the location is perfect. So, here we are!

leaning towerJulia and I tried orienting ourselves before leaving the apartment in search of dinner - she found a place on TripAdvisor and we made that our destination. We found it pretty easily, and we discovered a few cool things along the way - like this 'Leaning Tower of Bologna'. Honestly, we haven't done any reading or research on anything in this area so I have no idea what we were looking at. There are lots of amazingly beautiful arches and walkways around us, and I assume that tomorrow we will discover more and perhaps even learn something about them! In the meantime, for this evening we were content to just eat a nice dinner (super cheap!!), have gelato, and get back to the apartment to relax before bed. 

tubThe Novotel we stayed at in London was great, but it only had a shower, and seeing this gorgeous tub in our apartment made me want a nice, hot soak. As I sat in the tub I looked up at the amazing wood all around me - this building we are in was built in 1551 and was once the family home of a very important family. During the Renaissance this family (the Bentivoglios) were responsible for giving the city its political autonomy. This place is GORGEOUS and is now broken into many apartments. I can only imagine how amazing this place was in its full glory.

There is so much history all around us, and I can't wait to experience it all. Julia may become very bored in the next few days - nothing gelato can't fix.  ;)

 Time for bed - I can already see that there will be much exploring tomorrow!


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