A Travellerspoint blog

October 2012

Celebrity Blog - Joff & Wendy

Honeymoon II ... Big Game in Africa, Ever Romantic Venice, and then a sample of La Rossa

sunny 28 °C

Walking back with Dan to casa Happell from Bologna train station, first impression? Hot. Quite big, bit dusty. Probably exacerbated coming from all that aqua in Venice. Thankfully a gin and tonica wasn't far away, nor a cooling breeze atop one of the Happell's due terrazzi. A welcome retreat.

First in the schedule of events? A gymnastics display. Naturally. Gabriela and Natalie dazzled us from our mattress-side seats with a series of remarkable feats, including somersaults and eventually a backflip. Bravo! Could this be why their parents moved to Europe? Access to the best coaches and 'technology'? Rio in 4 years should reveal all. Delicioso Italian-style roast chicken topped off a wonderful welcome to Bologna.

Natalia Happellova

Natalia Happellova

"molto buona" chef!

"molto buona" chef!

Day two we slipped on our tourist shoes ... time for a serious sample of the Bolognese lifestyle. And what better way to get our bearings than from Bologna's highest point. 400+ steps later we'd climbed Torre degli Asinella - the tallest of the famed Due Torri (Two Towers). Apparently a tower was the height of fashion (ed : nice one Joffa) a few centuries ago. If you wanted to impress your neighbours, a ridiculously high tower was the go. There used to be nearly 200 watching over the town, but now only a handful remain.

Wendy wouldn't blow out a candle ... not sure about the Happells but ...

Wendy wouldn't blow out a candle ... not sure about the Happells but ...

While Dan and Gabi slipped home for some schooling, Wendy and I enjoyed a stroll around town, including Neptune's spectacular fountain - just off the main piazza in town (Piazza Maggiore). And onto the quieter, atmospheric streets of the old town where the fish, meat, vegetables, and delis made a mouthwatering sight. After meeting Lisa fresh from Italian class it was lunchtime. More tasty, fresh, simple food expertly ordered by our 'local' hosts.

Il Quadrilatero - start point for any delicious home cooked meal

Il Quadrilatero - start point for any delicious home cooked meal

We spent the evening with another Aussie-in-Bologna, Mitch Dowd and family. Great to catch-up and hear them wax lyrical about their Italian adventures so far.

Dan, Jayne, Lisa, and Mitch

Dan, Jayne, Lisa, and Mitch

some good looking boys at the party Nat ... stop playing on the ipad!

some good looking boys at the party Nat ... stop playing on the ipad!

Yours truly, Mitch, and his boys Ewan and Hunter

Yours truly, Mitch, and his boys Ewan and Hunter

Next day, Dan suggested a trip to Parma, home of the famous cheese and prosciutto. Like so many interesting places, just a short train-ride from Bologna. Gabi (Nat was making her daycare debut) led the way to a delicious lunch before we found the sights, including an impressive cathedral, baptistry, attractive piazzas, and impressive gardens.

well satisfied gourmands after a lovely lunch at Ristorante La Forchetta

well satisfied gourmands after a lovely lunch at Ristorante La Forchetta

some mirth alongside Piazza Garibaldi

some mirth alongside Piazza Garibaldi

Giardino Ducale - Wendy and Gabi had a great time here in the open spaces

Giardino Ducale - Wendy and Gabi had a great time here in the open spaces

Our farewell dinner was at a local trattoria Dan and Lisa were keen to try. And what a feast! Spectacular seafood including a dish I 'couldn't possibly finish' but somehow managed to (ed : still got it Jonnie!). No wonder the waiter declared us the 'No.1 table' for the evening. For which the award seemed to be the run of the Meloncello bottle - a delicious canteloupe flavoured liquer. Found room for that too. By the time we left the restaurant, our Italian heatwave had broken. The rain was tumbling down. Not that we noticed ... Bologna's famed porticoed streets came into their own and we navigated a passage home, with barely a drop.

mmm ... still room for tiramisu non?

mmm ... still room for tiramisu non?

any more Meloncello and a map would have been required for the homeward navigation

any more Meloncello and a map would have been required for the homeward navigation

Sadly, the next morning it was time to leave. A final caffe at Dan's local then the challenge of driving to Lucca awaited. Nothing compared to the challenge of selling your house and moving to another country. Our hosts have already seen and done so much, it was a privilege to be part of their adventure. And it's really only begun.

the only way to start the day ...

the only way to start the day ...


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Posted by happellfamily12 15:53 Archived in Italy Tagged bologna friends sites tourist guests parma Comments (2)

One of the world's great (slow) runs?

SANTUARIO DELLA BEATA VERGINE DI SAN LUCA

all seasons in one day 18 °C

Leave your sunscreen, gumboots, and snow shoes behind; they are redundant on this amazing run that can be almost entirely completed under Bologna's historic porticoes.

yep, that spec in the distance is our target

yep, that spec in the distance is our target

Since arriving in Bologna in late August, Lisa has devoted herself to improving her parli Italiano, whilst my two passions have been following the Bologna FC - aka the RossoBlu - and trying to see as much of the town as possible on foot (and now also on bike following a recent purchase). The Santuario can be seen from our rooftop garden, so it became an obvious early target for a regular fun run.

looks pretty simple on paper - just follow the arrows! centro storico is marked by the (sort of) square shape; porticoe starts when you leave the centro

looks pretty simple on paper - just follow the arrows! centro storico is marked by the (sort of) square shape; porticoe starts when you leave the centro

Via Guglielmo Marconi - start point just near our apartment; pedestrian dodging commences here

Via Guglielmo Marconi - start point just near our apartment; pedestrian dodging commences here

Constructed in 1723, the Sanctuary can be reached by walking or running along and up the world's longest covered walkway, the Portico di San Luca, which is 3.5 kms long and consists of 666 arches. The portico was built to protect a miraculous icon of the virgin as it was paraded up the hill. Nowadays it is used by fitness conscious locals and dog walkers during the day, and couples for their fare una passeggiata (pre-dinner stroll) in the evening. There is an annual procession from the Cathedral of San Pietro in the centre of town up to the Sanctuary along this path.

Via Nosadella - 10 mins in and surrounds become quieter; covered walkway runs down the right hand side

Via Nosadella - 10 mins in and surrounds become quieter; covered walkway runs down the right hand side

Porta Saragozza - you reach this landmark after 15 mins - the world's longest arcade starts on the other side

Porta Saragozza - you reach this landmark after 15 mins - the world's longest arcade starts on the other side

Via Saragozza - don't worry about counting sheep, count the arches! this is the last of the flat stretch

Via Saragozza - don't worry about counting sheep, count the arches! this is the last of the flat stretch

From our apartment the first part of the run is flat, and requires nimble footwork to dodge cars, bikes, and pedestrians. After about 15 mins you reach the start of the Portico, and 10 minutes after that you begin the climb! A resilient shuffle will then get you to the top in another 20 minutes, where you can catch your breath, seek 1st aid (divine?) assistance, and take in the splendid views.

starting the climb; funny how it doesn't look as steep on film ...

starting the climb; funny how it doesn't look as steep on film ...

half way up the hill (Monte Della Guardia)

half way up the hill (Monte Della Guardia)

finally there ... always a great feeling!

finally there ... always a great feeling!

Returning back down is twice as quick, but can take a toll on various joints with the hard jarring encountered. A steady plod home from the bottom of the Monte will see you stop the clock at just over an hour, and aperitivi will then beckon on the rooftop as you contemplate another assault in the coming days!

looking south west ... tranquility

looking south west ... tranquility

not too many high-rises in downtown Bologna

not too many high-rises in downtown Bologna

the irony is hard to ignore - you pass Via Pietro Coubertin on the way back - considered to be the father of the modern Olympics - inspiration anyone?

the irony is hard to ignore - you pass Via Pietro Coubertin on the way back - considered to be the father of the modern Olympics - inspiration anyone?

Posted by happellfamily12 15:15 Archived in Italy Tagged church bologna running Comments (0)

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