The best food in all of Italy.

Trip Start Jan 06, 2011
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Trip End Apr 30, 2011


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Where I stayed

Flag of Italy  , Emilia-Romagna,
Saturday, February 5, 2011

After my field trip to Assisi, I took the train to Bologna to spend a day in Italy's food capital.  However, getting to our hotel proved a bit more difficult than we thought--Bologna's bus system is very hard to navigate, especially at night.  After spending a couple of hours lost, we finally made it to Hotel Fiera.  We thought this hotel would be closer to the center, but it turns out that it's pretty far away from things that tourists want to see (not a problem once we figured out the bus system the next day!).  By the time I got to the hotel, it was pretty late, so I had my first Bolognese meal in the hotel restaurant--chicken and potatoes in a white wine sauce.

The next morning, we took our time getting up and ate a complimentary breakfast in the hotel.  Italians eat a very light, sugary breakfast--usually pastries or a cappuccino.  Then we checked out and took the bus into the center.  First we visited Torre degli Asinelli, Bologna's most famous tower--although there are a bunch of similar ones all over the city.  These towers were probably used for military defense, but now you can climb over 500 steps to the top of Torre degli Asinelli for a great view of the city.  Personally, I didn't like Bolonga's architcture as much as other cities I've visited--Bologna is more modern and larger, so it doesn't have as much of that quaint Italian feel that you can get from other cities.

After our long descent from the tower, we headed for Bologna's famous Fontana di Nettuno, or Neptune fountain to snap a couple of pictures.  Then we headed toward Museo Internazionale e Bibloteca della Musica di Bologna.  This museum contained all kinds of old musical instruments, sheet music, and correspondence from famous musicians, such as Giuseppe Verdi.  By the time we finished with the museum, it was 2:00--time for lunch.  We headed toward the large university area and ate at the delicious yet economical Trattoria del Rosso.  For 10 euros, I got a plate of fried chicken and vegetables (which is probably my favorite thing that I've eaten in Italy), zuppa inglese for desert, and water to drink.  After finishing lunch, we got gelato at Gelateria Peccanti di Gola and explored the center a little more before hopping on our train back to Perugia.

Besides traveling to Assisi and Bologna, I've also had some fun in Perugia.  This past Wednesday I attended Tandem night, which is sponsored by Umbra.  Italians who are studying English and Umbra students meet up at Birrario to practice their conversational skills in their non-native language.  It's always interesting to meet Italian students, since Umbra's format means that we spend a great deal of our time with other Americans.  Two guys from the University of Perugia joined my friends and me after Tandem for pizza.  Afterward we took a walk down past Piazza Italia and hung out for a little while.  I really enjoyed talking to them about the differences between American and Italian cultures and learning more about Perugia.

On Thursday my friend Samantha and I also went shopping.  We took the mini metro to what we had heard was a mall, but we found out that there was a lot more parking lot here and only a few stores.  After a really confusing but hilarious conversation with a local police officer, we took the metro back to the center and did some shopping there instead.

I'm really looking forward to Spring Break in a couple weeks, even though that means that my time in Italy will be halfway gone, because my best friend Rachel is coming to visit me from the United States!  We will be traveling to Rome, Madrid, and Paris.  Of course, there are midterms to get through at the end of this week and next week first though.  Planning is a lot more work than I thought it would be, but it will be worth it to get to see these awesome European cities and to spend time with Rachel.
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