So this past weekend I went to Bologna and Florence with six other students from the Umbra program. We had to wake up at 5:00 am to catch a taxi to take us to the train station. It was rather neat calling for the cab because I was able to use the Italian that I have been learning in class and actually perform a useful task. It felt very rewarding and reassured me that I am learning and getting better at absorbing the Italian language and culture. We arrive in Bologna and I was surprised to see that it was more modern than I anticipated. There were a lot of businesses and stores which housed everything that one could imagine. We walked through this huge market that had food, clothes, handbags, shoes, and a variety of trinkets. We walked around the city to just get a feel for how different it was from Perugia. We were able to see the two towers of Bologna, one of which, is leaning. We went to the Tempio San Giacomo Maggiore, which is a huge church with beautiful artwork and just everything that represents Roman Catholic religion. Some other sites that we saw include a memorial for a bombing that occurred in Bologna, a huge fountain portraying the god Neptune, and the ruins of Bologna. All of these were very cool and worth seeing. For lunch we decided and eat at this restaurant called Bluca Manzoni. The waiter was extremely generous and he encouraged to use only Italian, which we did. I had tortellini ostello, which is based on a famous Bolognese chef. It was out of this world!!! So delicious! The owner of the restaurant even came up to us and conversed with us and gave us two pamphlets on Bologna so we wouldn’t have any trouble getting around the city. The rest of the time in Bologna was spent shopping (you must understand that our group consisted of two guys and five girls, so of course we shopped).
Our train ride from Bologna to Florence was very nice and rather short. We arrived in Florence in the dark, which is always tougher to navigate around the city. Having a vast background in orientation and maps, I was designated the guide/leader of the group. We find the hostel and check in, but unfortunately it was full for the second night so we did some research for another hostel within walking distance. We booked another hostel and decided to go out for a little and found a nice place called The Fish Pub, with great music and a good drink menu. Saturday we get up and start heading across the city to the next hostel, me leading everyone through the maze called Florence. Unfortunately, this hostel does not exist and we are forced to just come home Saturday night after seeing everything. The first thing we went to was the Uffizi, which is a huge collection of marble busts and religious paintings. It was a rather big hassle to get inside because it was so crowded with tourists. Nevertheless, it was definitely worth the wait. Then we walked to see the Duomo of Firenze, which is the dome that is an icon of Florence. The rest of our day was spent walking around the city and just trying to see as much as we could. We walked through the leather markets while the girls shopped and the two guys followed in awe. After we had had our fair share of sightseeing, we decided to catch the train home to Perugia.
The trip was a blast and I wouldn’t have changed anything, except maybe being able to stay another night (we had an amazing dinner reservation at THE best steak restaurant in Florence, but had to cancel). I know I wrote a novel for such a short trip but I just want to explain everything that happened and how much we were able to see during our expedition.
Till next time,
ps. My photos are too big to upload on my blog so if you would like to see pictures, they will be on my facebook page asap.