Monday 14th March to Sunday 17th April 2011.

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April 24th 2011
Published: April 24th 2011EDIT THIS ENTRY

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March / April 2011 - Bologna - CampingMarch / April 2011 - Bologna - CampingMarch / April 2011 - Bologna - Camping

Camping at Citta di Bologna campsite
Monday 14th March to Sunday 17th April 2011.

Monday 14th March 2011
It was raining, so housework day and recuperation for Tom.

Tuesday 15th March 2011
Up and into Bologna – with sort of an itinerary – but we both feel great as there is no rush to things. So we wandered to the bike touring club – closed until 6.30pm – so no worries – then went to Ferramenta where went on Saturday looking for some stronger tent pegs, but they didn’t have any, and again they were very helpful to point us in the right direction. The owner recognized us and came up and said hello and shook our hands as if we were old friends.
So out we go. At the main centre of town, the Piazza Maggiore, we come across the communal library. Part of the floor is glassed in where you can look down through to the excavations.
Then off to Post Office. Took our ticket - #96, and waited 15 minutes, and then told we were in the wrong section. Had to go around to the other side of the building. OK. Off we go, and I get a ticket to wait in line again. Ticket #96. That is unbelievable, so hard to comprehend the odds of getting the same number – must ask our Rebecca to work that one out !! Posted off birthday cards to Sharmayne and Penny. Can’t work out how they are cheaper to post than the postcards.
Next to the Davia Bargellina Palace – which is now a museum. The Palace was built in 1658 and is believed to be one of the most important monuments of the 17th century. We went there to specifically to see the preserved 18th century puppet theatre.
Out to wander down a street near the University and spot a café with lots of students eating in there, so in we go.
We head home.
Tom cooks dinner. Sits down and he has a mask on as I said I didn’t want to look at him across the table as he had upset the apple cart earlier in the afternoon. Well I laughed at him – one for being nutty and the other as he had the mask on upside down – he wondered why his nose was hurting so much – NTB !!!
and so ends the night.

Wednesday 16th March 2011
Raining today and as the weather is forecast to be fine tomorrow, we stayed in the campsite.

Thursday 17th March 2011.
Walked to the local shops to go to butchers, bakery, fruit/veggie shop, Ferramenta. It’s a national holiday !! - so they are closed except as the fruit/veggie shop – not Italian owners, so get what we need and head back home.
As weather not too bad we decide to bicycle ride.

Friday 18th March 2011
Well, all shops open so into town on bus and into tourist information office. There are no big supermarkets in town, only small ones, so into co-op at the bus stop. We went to the restaurant in the campsite for dinner. Very nice staff, food good.

Saturday 19th March 2011.
Gaye on computer and finishes catching up with the diary and travel blog. Does a workout in the gym at campsite.
Tom goes for a ride and ends up at Medicina and found a really good bike shop, so bought plastic pedal clips for SPD’s for Gaye and bottle for him. On way Tom spotted a building supplier, so on return he stops and buys 6x4m of
6.4.2011 - Modena6.4.2011 - Modena6.4.2011 - Modena

Tom smelling the Balsamic - the barrels are at different stages of aging. Traditional procedure
heavy duty plastic for inside annex – it was fun fitting it onto bike. He had to stop and re-arrange twice but made it home – all up 55kms.

Sunday 20th March 2011.
Tom up and fiddles around, and is looking at maps for rides. It is 11am, and Tom says it feels strange heading out so late, as he is usually getting back from a ride at this time.
I stay in the van today getting ready for tomorrow to start school – going over my Italian books and refreshing what little memory I have !!!
Tom goes on a ride. Got lost in Bologna, but asked a MTB rider and he says in English to follow him, so off they go until they get to an intersection and he points Tom in the right direction and says he will see the signs to Futa Pass. Luck is with him as he climbs 330 metres with a strong tail wind. He has a very strong café latte after 36kms and heads home into head wind but downhill so not too bad. Back after 3hrs 10 mins and done 70 kms and felt OK. So happy with himself
8.4.2011 - Bologna - lunch with students 8.4.2011 - Bologna - lunch with students 8.4.2011 - Bologna - lunch with students

On terrace of Hotel Bologna with teachers and students

Monday 21st March 2011.
From this point on for 4 weeks - Gaye - every day Monday to Friday up at 6.30am with alarm to get ready for school. It is a 20 minute walk to the bus stop and a 25-30 minute ride on the bus into the centre of Bologna.
School is from 9am to 1pm – but they have a break (pausa) at 11am and we go around the corner to the coffee bar for about 50 minutes and then back to classes.

When you come out of class at 1pm all the shops are closing down for their very long lunch break, so you can’t get any personal shopping done until they re-open at 3.30pm or 4pm. They stay open then until 7.30pm. Still getting used to it. There are a few touristy shops open, but of course they charge like a wounded bull, so they are to be avoided.

Tom - becomes the house husband doing all the domestics as needed (not much to do) and riding his bicycle – such a hard life !! So happy - like a pig in mud.

Quite cold, so rugged up for the walk to the bus stop and anxious about starting school and everything I have forgotten. All good. Teacher is Andrea (male). Get home with a total brain overload. I do a workout in the gym at the campsite to clear the head. (Avere bisnogo di qualche vino).

Tom lays out the plastic and tarp for a flooring under the tent.

Wednesday 23rd March 2011.
Tom on bus with me and gets off at the co-op to do shopping. We had had trouble with the italian ‘E’ book so he took it back to Euronics and swapped it for a Sony E Book.

After school, we do an excursion to Palma on the train. Takes about 1hr to get there. Have a look into Chiesa San Giovanna – a lovely church, and into the Duoma Cathedral – wish I could understand more Italian as a lot went over my head but it is a nice town. Didn’t get home until 7.30pm. Exhausted. Tom picked me up at the bus stop on motor scooter. Late dinner.

Thursday 24th March 2011.
Tom does a long ride of 80kms in 3hr 6mins.

Today Andrea takes us to an apartment
10.4.2011 - Dozza - paintings10.4.2011 - Dozza - paintings10.4.2011 - Dozza - paintings

Paintings on many buildings around the town
block that he used to live in. These are very very old buildings and like the majority of the apartments are key entry only - you can’t get in unless you know someone living there, which he did. The staircase up to the apartments was grand - statues on the landing, indoor courtyard – just magnificent – glad we were fortunate to get to see this.

Friday 25th March 2011.
The weather is improving and the walk to the bus stop more pleasant.
The trees and bushes are starting to get leaves and flowers – so different to home. You can really see Spring come out in force – only a few days ago everything looked dead.

We have dinner in the restaurant in the campsite. Really good.

Saturday 26th March 2011.
After days of research, Tom heads off to Crevalcore to see the end of the 4 day ride. He gets there and they had been through yesterday so he heads home, has lunch and some time on the trainer. It has been so sunny and warm that he is now in shorts or nix and top and getting a tan on legs and arms. The
10.4.2011 - Dozza - Private exhibition10.4.2011 - Dozza - Private exhibition10.4.2011 - Dozza - Private exhibition

Collection of coffee machines, grinders, posters from many countries.
locals are still rugged up as this is unusual weather and they have not realized it is hot.

I do revision of school work and relaxed in the sun.

Sunday 27th March 2011.
We get up and do a 1.5hr walk then back for breakfast.

Tom heads off on bicycle to Futa Pass – determined to do 100km. Pushed along and got home with 99.06km, so rode around campsite until 100kms came up on bike. :-) All up 4.5hrs and that’s it for him for the day.

I did revision of school work and relaxed for the day in the sun.

Wednesday 30th March 2011.
Sharmayne’s birthday.
Tom did the same ride as Sunday but rather than turn, he came home via Loiano, Monterenzio, Castenaso – what a descent. Must be a decent climb as he saw quite a few heading up and as he came down, more were heading towards it along the flat – will attempt it next week after trip to Florence and back over the 2 days.

Thursday 31st March 2011.
Tom had a rest day. He came into town with me in the morning and then wandered around until 11am and came with me and the class to the bar for coffee. After our break we did a wandering lesson with Andrea. Andrea took the class around the local markets showing us the different types of fresh food and how we would cook them. Then we went into a self serve restaurant for lunch.
After we had finished, Tom and I went to The Archiginnasio Palace. This was once the seat of the University. There is an impressive courtyard featuring more than 7,000 coat of arms used as emblems by noble families, scholars, chancellors and other well known persons. On the first floor of the Palace, there is a Theatre of Anatomy where anatomy classes were held. Today the Palace is renowned for its famous municipal library.
Then we walked to the Co-op to buy some groceries and into Euronics to buy a 7” DVD player and some DVD’s. Tom cooked dinner and I did some study.

Friday 1st April 2011.
Tom meets me at 1pm after school. We have lunch in a nice little bar and then head off towards San Luca. It was a lovely day and we walked to Porta Saragozza. This is the entrance to the city for the annual procession of the Byzantine Madonna and Child painting during Ascension week from San Luca to the city. The portico (covered walkway) runs all along the street (about 2kms) to the Meloncello Arch. The Arch is the only outdoor example of baroque architecture in Bologna. This is also where we started the climb up to the Church of San Luca.
The climb is under ‘The Portico’ all the way. Construction of this portico commenced in 1674 to provide shelter for the annual procession and links the Sanctuary to the town, It is the longest portico in the world. It has 666 arches.
Well, we did the walk up hill all the way – a 3.5km walk – bloody exhausting – thought it was never going to end as there are different perspectives and vanishing points up to the final view. It was a great view when we finally got there. Needed a good rest in the sun. San Luca was built in accordance with Bolognese tradition – devoid of any emphatic or vigorous decorations.
We headed down for a long walk back to the city. Of course we took a different route back and wandered along the streets.
We then met Giulia (teacher) and some other students at about 6pm and went for aperitifs and drinks to see how it works here. Great night – long day – totally exhausted.

Saturday 2nd April 2011
Lazy day all round.

Sunday 3rd April 2011
As rain was expected for Wednesday Tom decided to go early today towards Florence. Heads of along the route to Monghidoro, then over the Pass de Raticose at 968 metres and then along at 800+ for 15kms till over the Futa Pass at 905 metres. He then thought that he would descend into Florence. WRONG. There is one more climb at 13% in parts which is up to 600 metres. He’s done – so rolls along until he sees a sign for hotel with food – at Valdi. He is the only guest as it is really a boarding house. It will do. He learns that ‘C’ on the tap means hot (caldo) and ‘F’ means cold (freddo) – this is of course after he has a cold wash. At dinner he is asked if he wants some food hot or cold (caldo or freddo) – ahah – a light
16.4.2011 - Bologna - view16.4.2011 - Bologna - view16.4.2011 - Bologna - view

View of Piazza Maggiore from top of 'Asinelli Tower'.
bulb moment !! So after dinner he went back and had a hot bath.
He studies the map and decides to head home via Firenzuola and Imola.

I have a very peaceful day in the sun and doing some study. Utter bliss. :-)

Monday 4th April 2011.
Tom up early and heads out – plenty of mountain mist and climbs to 900 metres via 600 climb, then turns towards Firenzuola. Descends under brakes as still misty and cold, then follows the river to Imola through some a scenic gorge. From Imola onto Medicina and Castenaso and then home – 141+ kms. He felt good so all up two good days or riding – but a waste of money to go and stop at a hotel.

Tuesday 5th April 2011
Tom meets me after school to come with the other students and Giulia (teacher) to see ‘The Oratory of Saint Cecilia’ in Via Zamboni. This is in the Saint Cecilia Church which was reconstructed in 1359. The paintings in the church represent the life of Cecilia, with her being one of the most significant figures of early Christianity. Very good as Giulia described the stories behind each painting.

Wednesday 6th April 2011.
Tom meets me at the railway station after school with other students and teacher Mauro and we head off to Modena. We have a private tour of a house where the family has been producing Balsamic Vinegar for over 400 years. It is a registered product under the EU – authentically made as per hundreds of years ago and under the D.O.P. registered number. Very interesting.
We then had a wander around Modena and a break for a coffee before heading back on the train. Got home about 9pm.

Friday 8th April 2011.
Tom into town to meet me and other students and a few teachers for a lunch on roof top terrace of boutique hotel. A great experience and interesting place in that the view was of the rooftops and other terraces of Bologna.

Sunday 10th April 2011.
We head out on the motor scooter to Dozza where Tom had ridden with local cycle group on 13 March. Beautiful day, sun is out, not too many people on the road and we had a good ride there. We visited the Fortress of Dozza (Rocca di Dozza). There was a very interesting
4.2011 - Bologna -Bianchi Palace4.2011 - Bologna -Bianchi Palace4.2011 - Bologna -Bianchi Palace

Looking across to Palace from the Piazza Miaggore
temporary private exhibition on owned by Gian Domenica Mazzocato. It was of coffee machines, grinders and some café shop posters from a variety of countries. He also displayed the history of coffee and the recipes for making different coffees.
Dozza has been identified as a fortified fortress since 1126. The fortress has been enlarged over the years in three main phases.
As the fortress closed at 1pm for lunch – we also headed to the Osteria –these are locally owned eateries and cheaper than a restaurant. Very good food. Back to the fortress to have a look around more and take some photos and then into the dungeon where they now have a sales of wines and local products .
We wandered back down into the town to a shop where we had earlier spied a lovely coffee set for 2 people, Italian style of course, but the shop had been closed. It was now open, so in we go and buy it.
Now back onto the motor scooter to home. A good trip and Tom feels he is getting better at reading the roads and the traffic speed – all up 70kph max. I had a numb bottom
4.2011 - Bologna - Neptune Fountain4.2011 - Bologna - Neptune Fountain4.2011 - Bologna - Neptune Fountain

In the Neptune Square - Piazza Maggiore
by the time we got home – after 50kms on bike – not used to it.

Monday 11th April 2011.
Tom heads off on and has a great ride to the Monghirdoro turnoff and then decides to go straight ahead to Castel di Alpi then on up to 860m and down another valley to Bologna – all 114kms at 23kph average speed. – Yep he is knackered.

Thursday 14th April 2011.
I go straight home after school for a nonna nap. We head back into town at 5pm to meet up with the teacher Giulia and any other students who were going to come out. Only Jurgen turns up – so off we head to the Osterio – 500 years old and the only one in Bologna who is allowed to sell only drinks and you can bring your own food in with you – Giulia had bought some bread sticks, cheese and salami. We try a couple of wines, both good. Giulia then says she is going out to try to get a last minute ticket to see the opera, so of course Tom and I say we will go as well. She rings a friend, Sandro, who happens to be musician who plays the bassoon and says there are tickets still available.
So off we go – tickets are €25 each. The first opera is about Verdi and is set in Milan. The 2nd opera is very contemporary about a man and his tormentors. Very good, especially the main singer with his face and body language of the man in torment. The building is magnificent. The hall is divided into five different type of boxes and can hold 1,200 spectators.
Taxi home as it raining and we didn’t feel like walking home from the bus in the rain and it was too late as it was as we didn’t get home until 11pm in the taxi.

Friday 15th April 2011.
Last day of school for me in Bologna. The secretary of the school very kindly has chased up the names of some good schools in the south of Italy to go to, and also commented on some towns to visit on the way. I say goodbye to the other students and head off home.

Saturday 16th April 2011
Sleep in. Go into town and get out at the railway station to have a look at the Piazza xxSettembre and at the Port Galliera. Port Galliera is one of the 12 entrance doors to the city of the 3rd and final medieval wall that encircled Bologna, and was built in 1226. Then wandered up the grand staircase to the public park called ‘Parco della Montagnola’. Huge open air markets are held there every Friday and Saturday. Bought a few things and wandered on. We came across an organic café and shop so had some lunch in there.
After that we walked to the two towers to climb up one of them – Asinelli tower – 98 metres – built in the 12th century. Spectacular view of the city from the top. On the way down there were some very elderly people trying to do the climb. I looked at Tom and said ‘that is why we are doing this now – we might not be able to do it in 10 years time, who knows what is around the corner for any of us’.
Then we walked to Piazza Maggiore and went into the Communal Palace to the Arts Collection Hall. There is the Great Staircase leading to the Collection Halls. We were told that they used to stable the horses here and the staircase was built to accommodate the horses. The stairs are deep but shallow rise - not easy to get your stride when going up or down these stairs. The halls have many works of art; the ceilings have frescos painted on them, many sculptures.
Finished there about 5pm and headed home on the bus.

Sunday 17th April 2011.
On the motor scooter and headed off to Ferrara. What a lovely town. It used to be one of the important trade centres and one of the richest courts of Renaissance. We wandered around the Castle Estense – huge. Had lunch and walked through the markets in Piazza Trento Trieste, through the public garden and back on the motor scooter to home. Another numb bottom from the ride. We both felt we could spend 3 days here having a good look around. Might call in on the way back up north later.
I am back on the computer getting the diary up to date and Tom starts packing up things outside in preparation of moving out on Wednesday this week.

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