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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)

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