Bologna: What? Spaghetti bolognese doesn't exist?

Trip Start Feb 06, 2011
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Trip End Sep 15, 2011


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Where I stayed
L's friend's apt

Flag of Italy  , Emilia-Romagna,
Wednesday, July 20, 2011

After a week of temperatures in the low teens, I was ready for some sun in Italy!  Again, this country was never part of my itinerary but L, whom I met in Australia, managed to convince me to visit her hometown.  My train took me from Brig to Milano Centrale where I had a short stopover before switching to another train to get to Bologna.  With my 40 minutes of free time,  I managed to spend 1 euro on a toilet stop (I'm not a big fan of toilets on the train) and 1.50 euros on delicious gelato.  I was ready for gluttony, Italian style!  My friend lives about 70km from Bologna and she offered to pick me up from the train station since it was next to impossible to get to her place via public transportation.  The 1 hour trip from Milan to Bologna was probably the fastest train I've ever been on.  With a top speed of 300 km per hour, I quickly realized why my train ticket was so expensive!  L and her friend, S, picked me up from the platform and we made our way to their friend's apartment.  I thought we would be eating out for dinner, but they bought groceries and proceeded to cook an amazing meal for me.  Fresh buffalo mozzarella and proscuitto as a starter and a garlic ditalini tomato penne for the main.  I was in heaven!  The ingredients were so simple yet so delicious.  The tomatoes were hands down the best tomatoes I've ever had in my life.  After polishing off a bottle of Sangiovese wine, I couldn't say no to authentic Italian coffee made in a moka pot!  This would officially mark the start of my 4-5 cups of coffee everyday for the next 10 days.  We finished the evening by watched an Italian classic  I Soliti Ignoti (Big Deal on Madonna Street) with no English subtitles.  It was supposed to be a comedy about criminals attempting to steal from a pawn shop but of course the jokes were completely lost on me.  

The next morning, we did a quick tour of Bologna.  It is home to the oldest university in Europe and some of the best food in all of Italy.  We had focaccino (Italian version of the breakfast sandwich) and coffee for breakfast and then roamed around the city.  As we were walking, I noticed quite a few non-Italians.  My friend explained that illegal immigration is a huge problem for Italy since Tunisia is only 200km away from the country.  I was also in complete shock when L told me that there was no such thing as spaghetti bolognese in Italy.  Back in the day, all pasta was made, rolled and cut only by hand.  The only possible combination would have been tagliatelle with bolognese sauce, not spaghetti!  So people who visit Bologna looking to eat some authentic spaghetti bolognese... you ain't going to find any!  There honestly wasn't too much to see around town but the characteristic red tiled roofs on each building gave the city a nice look. After a late panini lunch, we set off for Porto Venere, a summer destination on the Ligurian coast of Italy. 
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