Our landlord has a small dog who looks like a dirty white version of Dougal from magic roundabout. I expected to hear him barking but no. As we went into the breakfast room he was imitating a heap of dirty washing in his master’s bedroom. When Giacomo went out yesterday we could recognize ‘aron’s’ barking in the street below.
Breakfast was a sumptuous spread. I had said I like fruit to start the day and was greeted with a plate of strawberries and grapes, a platter of two types of melon and a large bowl with apricots, plums, apples…..! I counted eight assorted yoghourts plus two Panna cottas and two creme caramels. On each of our plates was a bilberry tart. An embarrassment of riches.
Resisting the urge to just sit stuffing our faces all day we walked back down to piazza Maggiore to explore the building we thought yesterday was for students, the Sala Boursa, which has a large open space inside under an ornate ceiling. Under our feet we could see archeological remains and asked how to get down to them. It is possible to walk on suspended gantries over remains of early Bologna dating from the early centuries BC. There was evidence of subsidence and I remembered reading that Bologna once had a network of canals.
From there we located the tourist office and asked for a leaflet about the former Jewish ghetto. As it was now eleven o’clock it was time for the Beatles photo exhibition.
Not far to walk and held in a beautiful building full of frescoes and decorated ceilings.
The photos weren’t too bad either. :). Beatles music accompanied you round and my foot was tapping and some quiet singing took place! Very interesting and some good photos of 60s Liverpool as well. I wrote on the comments wall and we each posed on the chair provided for our own Beatles shot.
Back out in the by now hot sunshine we went in search of the Jewish quarter, not as easy as it seemed. Bologna has its share of confusing alleys and side streets too.
A pause for coffee and more fresh orange juice and we pressed on. Ultimately I noticed signs on the wall to help ‘direct your feet’ but it took Lou to work out which direction to walk! The alleys here were narrow but cheerful, decorated in burnt orange and some buildings were only two stories high.
Very different from Genoa’s six and seven storey apartment buildings. We found half of the landmarks on our leaflet and decided lunch was in order but a light one! Back towards via clavature with its many eateries. Settled at a table amongst other couples of a certain age, I chose mozzarella and tomato salad while Lou had cold cod salad.
Plus a beer and a glass of dry white which is becoming the lunch time norm. Afterwards it wasn’t far to the ticket office of the three centuries of Bologna in photographs exhibition that I had found online.
This was in a subterranean gallery under the square. I was really pushing my claustrophobia button! The displays were very informative and set out chronologically including old film footage plus four British royal air force photos of dropping bombs on Bologna. You feel vicariously guilty for smashing up medieval monuments! By the time we got to the end we were exhausted. Time to go back for a cuppa and a little zzz. About an hour into the zzz Giacomo tapped gently on the door and, apologizing for maybe waking anyone up, presented us with Danish pastries. So kind but we weren’t sure we could find room. Late supper we decided! We did persuade him that we were happy not to have fresh towels everyday, six between us is perfectly adequate. I mentioned I drink decaffeinated tea and kicked myself as I knew he’d go out and buy some (he did!).
So a lazy couple of hours waiting for the pastries to go down and checking out nearby restaurants online plus the plan of campaign for Thursday’s gawping.
After going the long way round to a trattoria only six minutes walk away we carefully chose our menu for the evening. Fat chance, my veal was finished as was Lou’s choice of pud and our preferred wine, the only white on the menu. Rose doesn’t seem to exist in Bologna. We ended up sharing a plate of ham and melon (fabulous) and I tried capaccio beef for the first time while Lou had tagliatelle ragu. The owner(?) said he had opened a good white ‘for a glass’ earlier and we could have 50cl or two glasses. We plumped for the 50! We were entertained by the performance he went through decanting red wine for one party and the food that arrived at every other table in a big wooden ‘wheel’. What were we missing? Cold risotto and grated truffle it turned out. No great loss we decided. An interesting evening but we won’t be going back.
PS At the end of the Bologna photo exhibition they had a photo booth and asked if you would pose for a photo to add to the Bologna photo archive. We did but decided on a Victorian style ‘we are not amused’ pose. They emailed the result to us… 🙂