We returned from Eastern Europe and spent 5 nights in Bologna, Italy, without a rented car. It was public transportation on the efficient and effective trains of Italy for our next few days of Bologna sightseeing and Italian day-trips.
1. Visiting the city-state of San Marino
2. Pasta-making class in Bologna
3. Walking the pilgrimage trek of San Luca
4. Seeing the mosiacs of Ravenna
5. Airbnb within a 2-minute walk of the train station
1. Free (not worth it) walking tour of Bologna
2. Last-minute change of Evgeny Kissin concert program
(click below-right to read more)
Friday November 4: This was long travel day, driving 3 hours to Skopje, turn in the rental car, to catch a 2-hr flight to Vienna, with a 4 hour layover, and then a 90 minute flight to Bologna, and a train ride into the city central. Luckily our Airbnb was just a 2-minute walk from the train station, and we crashed.
Saturday November 5: We caught a 2 hr train to Rimini, then waited for the 50-minute bus up to the top of the hill of San Marino. It started to rain, and we ducked into a restaurant for lunch (very bad idea, it was an awful microwave your pre-prepared plate place). We continued our walk up to the citadel and spent a wonderful 3 hours meandering in the city and it’s castle and museums. It is a very picturesque place. Then we reversed our travel course with the bus and train. After a quick dinner, we walked to the Teatro Manzoni (which is tucked away at a graffiti filled corner of the city, not a great first impression) and listened to the Bologna Symphony play with Mozart #33 piano concerto with Evgeny Kissin. (Not our selected Rach #3, after a hand strain, but beautiful nonetheless). After 10 curtain calls and 4 encores, we listened to the Dvorak #8. It was a wonderful evening of incredible music.
Sunday November 6: We walked about 30 minutes to church and had a lovely testimony meeting with the local members. We took an Uber taxi to the meeting point of the Free Bologna Walking Tour and joined in. It was totally forgettable experience, with a guide who took no notice for communicating herself clearly. We drifted away after an hour or so, and continued our walk to the primary sights of the city, the two towers, the San Pietro Basilica, the San Petronino Basilica, the Piazza Neptune and Piazza Maggiore and wandered the backstreets to return to the apartment for naps then an early dinner and some computer work.
Monday November 7: We walked back into the city to see the San Francisco cathedral and climb the steps of le Due Torri, the highest remaining tower in the city (of the original 180 towers that existed). It was a 15-minute climb up steep steeps to reach the 320 ft high lookout tower, with a beautiful view of the city and surrounding countryside. We returned to earth to begin our trek of the pilgrimage route of the Porticos of San Luca, a 4-mile roundtrip walk under a covered walkway through the city and up the hill to the Basilica di San Luca. We stopped for lunch and gelato along the way, and continued to the top, and then took the steps to cupola for another stair climb and view. We returned to the city and went to a little apartment for a 3-hr pasta making cooking class, making the pasta dough, three fillings, and tortelloni, ravioli, agnelotti, penne and tagliatelle. We also tasted 5 types of parmeggiano and prosciutto crudo. It was a fun night.
Tuesday November 8: We awoke and hopped on a train to go to Ravenna to visit the world-famous mosaics. We toured the mausoleum of Galla Placida (Theodosian family tombs), basilica of Saint Vitale, battistero Neoniano, capella di Sant Andrea, basilica di Sant’Apollinare Nuovo. We also ordered some Ravenna sandwiches and ate a lot of ice cream. It was a delightful day with some incredible ancient artwork.
1. Visiting the city-state of San Marino - In all my years in Italy, I had never visited the independent city-state of San Marino. It has the population of American Fork, Utah, and it blows my mind that it is an independent state. But it is on my list of countries (according to the Been app) so I needed to make a visit. We took a train-ride to Rimini, then a bus ride up the mountain to the walled city centre. It was a great worthwhile day to the various museums and the tower and wall, and lookout points. 1-day was certainly enough though.
2. Pasta-making class in Bologna - We signed up for a visit to a guy's apartment kitchen to learn how to make pasta the old-fashioned Italian way. He had been doing the class for many years, and he was a bit jaded and automatic in his presentation. But it was still fun to start with egg and flour and finish with ravioli and tortellini and linguini, which we ate for our final meal of the day in his kitchen,.
3. Walking the Pilgrimage trek of San Luca - Bologna is a city of porticos (overhanging building columned walkways) and there is a particular 2-mile walk of porticos that goes all the way from the city center to the Basilicia of San Luca on the hill outside of town. There are some relics that get brought down to the city for a annual festival, and the covered walkway was built to protect the procession from the elements. It was a long-hot walk, but a nice church at the end, and it nailed one of Tera's 50 hikes for the year.
4. Seeing the Mosiacs of Ravenna - We took another train day-trip to the smallish town of Ravenna to see the glorious mosiacs from the 4th century. They decorated various monastary baptistries and cathedrals, and were full of gold and color and light. We sought to identify the bible stories told in the pictures of the glass squares on each wall and ceiling.
5. Airbnb within a 2-minute walk of the train station - Our airbnb (though a small studio) was situated within a 2-minute walk of the train station, and about a 20 minute walk to the downtown area, so it was pretty convenient.
1. Free (not worth it) walking tour of Bologna - We have mostly been impressed until now with the Free Walking Tours we've taken in various cities. But the tour in Bologna was pretty awful, and we left after about an hour. It wasn't really worth the $0 we paid to participate.
2. Last-minute change of Evgeny Kissin concert program - We had planned our entire Europe trip around the date of November 5th to return to Bologna to see Evgeny Kissin perform the Rachmaninoff piano concerto #3. We were excited, and then, on the train ride home from San Marino, I got an email stating the concert had been changed to the Mozart #33 concerto. Seriously!? We flew to Bologna specifically to see the Rach #3! But there was no ticket refunds or changes. So we watched the Mozart. It was still a lovely evening of wonderful music, but a little bitter taste remains of the program change.
Fall Semester 2022
Here we go again! Our 8 Suitcases have been whittled down to 4 suitcases as we take a four month world trip with our two youngest kids, Megan and Jacob. From Canada to Europe to islands in the Indian Ocean and finally to South Africa, from Sep to Dec 2022, here are our travels and experiences.