Friday, 4 January 2013

Beautiful One Day Better The Next

It was rather remiss of me not to have mentioned the coffee situation earlier. Oh the joy to have seen those wonderful machines everywhere that is capable of making real coffee! Malcolm has been in heaven. They say "si" to macchiato and not "what?". This applied to our hotel as well. As part of the 65 euros per night, breakfast was included. The lady helping asked Malcolm in her thick Italian accent "caffe Americano"? No!!! Un macchiato e un caffe latte per favore. A smile and she disappeared pointing to her espresso machine. What she came back with were wonderful coffees. Ah...

The breakfast that was provided was simple but adequate. There were hard boiled eggs and a selection of bread, pastries, cereals, yoghurt, ham, cheese and fruit. We ate our fill and began our self guided walking tour of Bologna. The wet weather of yesterday had been replaced with sunny blue skies which accentuated the beautiful red hues of the buildings in Bologna. Once again, we enjoyed Bologna's wide, covered pavements lined with wonderful shops along the way.

Real coffee 

Jonah's new shoes. He wanted me to take photos of it

"This side too Mum"

The tiny but well stocked breakfast corner

Bread, fruit, cake and very good prociutto

Blue skies!

Red brick towers and buildings of Bologna

Piazza Maggiore

Neptune's statue. Apparently the sculptor designed the statue so that from a particular angle the thumb of the outstretched left hand lines up with the groin area, making it look like an erect penis. I couldn't make see it no matter which angle I tried...

Palazzo del Podesta. You can whisper at one corner and be heard clearly at the other. A little hard to verify when the whole family is one of fog horn leg horns...

One corner

The other corner

Porticoes and shops everywhere

So wide!
After visiting the attractions around Piazza Maggiore, we continued on to the Archiginnasio. It was first built in the 16th century so that all the different university disciplines can be taught at one place. It is a beautifully decorated building and half of the building is a functioning library. What we medics went to see specifically was the Anatomy theatre, a panelled amphitheatre built specifcally for teaching anatomy. If only the setting for our anatomy lectures were so inspiring...


Gorgeous details

Still working on a "normal" photo of all three children in Italy

Stairs decorated as well

Sculptures, reliefs and murals lining the walls

The anatomical theatre


The human body with skin off and muscle detail

Pretty everywhere
We crossed the Piazza Santo Stefano to the Basilica di Santo Stefano, a complex of seven interconnecting churches. Parts of the complex date back to the 5th Century which just made the mind boggle. The children loved exploring what seemed like secret passageways and doorways. You never quite knew which way to go! Our next stop were the two towers of Bologna, Asinelli Tower and the Grisenda Tower. Both lean but in opposite directions, with only Grisenda showing an obvious lean. Apparently, the lean was worsening such that the top of the tower had to be taken off in the 14th century for safety reasons. The Asinelli Tower was built in the 11th Century and is the tallest in Italy. The original plan was climb the 498 steps to the top but despite protests from the children, we decided to give it a miss.

Real cobblestones

Approaching Santo Stefano

A model of the complex of seven churches

The clay figures were all hand made

The original mosaic floor before it was bricked over

Lots to discover

Beautiful brickwork

Support for the arches

Bologna's red brick 

Beautiful buildings

Bologna's two towers, one of which is leaning...

Trying hard to capture the lean on camera which was surprisingly difficult!

By this stage, stomaches were growling and if being in Italy wasn't a good excuse to have pizza then nothing was! As with all our meal experiences in Bologna to date, the food was good and cheap. I love how their dishes were simple but tasty. The taste of the fresh ingredients were allowed to shine.

We had one last thing to see before hopping on a bus for our afternoon adventure. What was not obvious was that Bologna has a series of canals virtually under it. A little window on a quiet street gave a glimpse of this ancient system...

Good excuse to have pizza for lunch. We are in Italy!

The Italian post mobile!

The last sightseeing stop for the morning...

The river Reno!
The hotel staff have been excellent. Not only have they helped us book our Uffizi tickets for Florence, they have also been printing off bus timetables, and giving us recommendations and directions. This included instructions on how to get to Basilica di San Luca, a church located just outside the city. The plan was to catch public transport up and walk leisurely down. Unfortunately, the bus that was to take us up did not appear. So we made the decision to walk along the Portico di San Luca, a covered walkway consisting of 666 arches which led from the city to the Basilica. Nana who had a bad back made the smart choice of taking a taxi with Grandpa. We, the not so smart ones, continued on the "easy" walk. It was not so easy, it was bloody tiring! What I want to know was which idiot decided to grade it as easy?!?! It was either that or I misread the description...but the family didn't have to know that. Lara was wilting but the two boys must have covered the distance at least 1.5 times. They would run forward and then come back to ask why we were so slow...When we stopped to rest our legs, Jonah declared that he had to rest his arms. ?!?!? We met up at the Basilica and enjoyed the breathtaking scenery below us. After our exploration of the Basilica , we decided to take a taxi back to the hotel. Fortunately for us, nana had the foresight to take a card from the taxi which had a number on it for booking taxis as there were none in sight anywhere at all around the Basilica! Two came very quickly to return us to our hotel for a rest. Malcolm's rest came in the form of watching football with the locals...

Meloncello Arch

On the way up to Basilica di San Luca


Unbelievably still full of energy

The view from the top

We made it! Basilica di San Luca
The evening's entertainment came in the form of dinner. Malcolm had looked up a list of "to eats" in Bologna, and one of them was Ristorante Danio, the "Soup Nazi" of Bologna. Well Danio lived up to his reputation as did his food. The pasta was hearty, tasty, and the servings generous. The total bill for all seven of us including drinks and dessert was 74 euros. Bargain! Unfortunately, no photos were taken. I was too scared! We trudged back to the hotel exhausted but sated, and looking forward to what tomorrow would bring.

1 comment:

  1. I always love to follow your travel adventures! It looks like you're having an amazing time. Great photos.