Saturday, April 6, 2013


     Last week was Semana Santa in Spain, and we had a week of break from school. So Katie and I went to Italy! We flew into Bologna, where our friend Alex is living and studying. He was very kind to offer us a room in his apartment to stay for several days. We arrived at lunchtime and ate some pizza, which was awesome. Over the course of our vacation, we came to realize that the meals with Alex (who speaks Italian) were much better than the meals we had to find ourselves in the various cities we visited.
    After lunch we walked around the city center and ate some gelato. It is a compact city center with plenty of nice, old buildings.

     Bologna has been an important Italian city ever since Europe's first university was founded there in the 11th century. With the influx of students, the city center had to build more room for housing, and did so by adding onto existing buildings and forming porticos underneath. These porticos run throughout the city and are really great, because you don't have to use an umbrella when it rains. They look cool too. 

     Bologna is also known as the culinary capital of Italy. This is a good thing. What really made it good though was that Alex knows great places to eat. So we had the best pizza, pasta, and gelato with Alex. 
     It was also in Bologna where we discovered that there was an abnormal number of bikes in Italy, and that almost all of these bikes had bells on them. So, Katie decided to start ringing them, and, as I have a difficult time losing at any sort of game, I started ringing them too. Over the next eight days, we kept track of the number of bike bells rung, and Alex even got in on it too. It became pretty competitive, and we ended up with around 150 each. 

     Bologna was also the least touristy city that we visited. We didn't see any loud groups of Americans walking around, and heard more Italian that English. You would think that would be a given, but in some cities it's really difficult to hear Italian spoken. More on that later. Anyways, we stayed with Alex most nights, and took trips during the day. It was really nice to be able to go home to an apartment with a friend instead of being uncomfortable in various hostels. Overall, it was the most relaxing city and really added a good dimension to our trip. 

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