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Bologna - Love notes to my beloved

  • Submitted by: Angie, Singapore
  • Submission Date: 19th Apr 2005

Chilly Spring weather

Dear beloved,

I couldn't sleep after woken up by an sms from some Starhub advertisement at 4.30 am Bologna time ... well, at least I had about 6 hours sleep since I fell into a deep sleep at 10.40 plus last evening. Looks like it is still cold outside and my stomach is growling .... ;-)

I hope you miss me and because of that I am sending you this picture of me taken at the Piazza Maggiore. Bologna is not a good representation of the majestic and historic past of Italy eventhough they claim they have the oldest university in the world. Bologna city is actually very small and the streets are windy and congested and they are left-hand drive which makes road crossing a real hassle. Roads are all made from old rocks which has plenty of cracks and crevasses onthe ground which one wonders if your ankles would be alright after completing a mile of such roads.

It really is not a joke when people say that Europe only has its history and we wonder where is their future. Lots of old folks, few children and not that many young people. Some looked late 20s to 40s to me. Many are above 60 to me.

The bus system here is pretty good and cheapest amongst anything here (€$1). Other things are really too expensive to even worth a purchase. Looks like I have to search the local supermarkets, which ain't a lot to find some authentic Bolognese made stuff.

I was at the central square where Piazza Maggiore and Piazza Netuno meets and there was an alley that lines many grocery shops and delis. I bought your favourite --- wines (Lambrusco and Sangiovese). Seemed good, locally bottled wines from the Emilio Romagna region where Bologna is the epicentre. Lambrusco is supposedly a soft sparkly red wine which is the gem of this wine region. Prices are ok, it works out to S$20 plus for two bottles.

Yesterday's lunch and last evening's dinner were all settled in this little family-run Italian Trattoria on San Felice just 3 bus stops from my hotel on Aurelio Saffi. Food is good though a little saltish, seemed like the Italians are very fond of salty foods. Sausages are good but too salty too, hence I really wonder what is the condition of the kidneys of most Italians. Do they have organisations like NKF to help kidney patients?

Although the staff spoke English, it is still badly broken. I am very surprised that as a service-oriented country, so many of them could not speak proper English nor understand it. Menus were in Italian so you can guess how I ordered food by looking at names that resemble words that I am familiar with such as Spaghetti Bolognese, thank god when we were in school, we learnt that mushroom is a form of funghi hence I dared to order. Minestrone means vegetable soup etc.

Aside from the proper meals, there were the snack bars and bakeries and truly they are mouth-watering .... slurp ... ;-P Panes (Bread), pastries, cakes, pies, foccacia breads with parma ham, different types of pizzas (soft crust, hard crust, thick crust), I ordered a pizza from the Bologna Fiere (fairgrounds) yesterday afternoon thinking of having just a quick bite before running off to meet more potential business partners and you cannot imagine that they actually served a quarter of a full-size pizza (actual pizza size is bigger than my steering wheel) so you can imagine how big it was but it was a simple tomato paste and cheese thin crust pizza. Food is indeed ok here ... no wonder they call this place "La Grassia" or the "fat one".

This place really does not seem like a place to house the world's largest childrens' book fair 'cos this place is really slow-paced and people are not those high-flying and stylish looking Italians that we would associate in Rome and Milan. Italians are a small lot compared with their other Eurpean compatriots in Northern Europe. Although they are quite spritzy and some could be classified as "beautiful" in the conventional sense of the word with lush dark brown hair, deep-set eyes, high nose, sharp face and long eyelashes, I did not find that the general population are attractve to look at. They look like one lazy lot. The University area looks more like a squatter area than anything. I still cannot imagine that it is a place where the revered university is supposed to be.

Oh yes, I forgot to mention that Nutella here is a big thing and when I mean big it is big, they sell really huge bottles of nutella, and they pack in small packs like how we would use to buy when we were young at 30 cents each, they are packed in little round packs like jam packs at breakfast and of course being a nutella craze fan, you can imagine how much I have "snitched" from the breakfast table hee hee ;-P

Chocolates looks good but have yet to venture into one, saw some good chocolates Lindor ones past a shop when walking back to hotel last night. The street adjacent to my hotel has some shops that are definitely of interest to me, supermarkets, post office, shoe shops, delis, bakeries, little Tabacchi or we know as mums-&-pops. However, everything counted in € just kills all the fun in buying ... ;-(

I found a few shops retailing chinaware that I told u I had wanted to buy especially a tea set but never had the time. Hopefully, I would have some time today to have a look. Hopefully, my knee does not give way too as I feel that it has been locking up my joints in the last two days. Oh yes, talking about walking, shoes here ain't my style plus the price tag just kills the fun out of it even in looking at it. They have Bata here and when I walked in, it is not the Bata we know (= cheap and may not be good kind of shoes), it is a high-end Rodeo-drive kind of shop with latest style in fashion included as part of their merchandise.

Hmm .... I think I will start dragging myself to dress up and have breakfast downstairs at 7 am and "snitch" some more nutella packs hahahahaha ...

Signing off ...who else ... your one and only .... ME!