Ahhh I feel so behind in posts! I've been through Venice, then Verona, and now Bologna and I haven't really updated much. Basically, after Rome, everything got better. Don't get me wrong, Rome was pretty awesome but there were just a lot of factors playing against us. I understand why everyone loves Rome and I can definitely see its potential as a city to visit while traveling, but for me, going when I did was somewhat of a bummer. I'm reserving my opinion of Rome until I get to travel it again hopefully in the spring or early summer, before ALL the tourists go.
But on a positive note, I enjoyed excellent gelato, pasta, and pizza and I saw and toured the colosseum and also toured the Vatican with an EXCELLENT tour guide, David Kellogg from California. He has been living in Rome for the last 14 years and was shocked to see it snowing. On the day of our tour, the group was not allowed in to St peter's basilica due to the unexpected snowfall ( I guess Romans close indoor events when freak weather happens). David told the group that if we wanted to come back the next day, he would continue the tour for us on his free time. Ashleigh and I, the hardcore tourists we are, were the only ones to show up the next day. He informed us that the basilica was still closed for 'tours' but that she and I could go in on our own. But before we went on our way, he felt the urge to fill us in on the history so that we would know what we were looking at. He took us to a cafe, bought us both hot chocolate, and taught us all about the basilica. We then talked about Ashleigh's dance, my cooking, and the daily life of an Italian. David brought a lot of useful insight to historical and present day Italy and I will always be grateful for his hospitality (and hot chocolate since it was the best I have ever had)!
Spent a few more days in Rome, having an excellent last day, and then went to Venice and fell in love. Instantly. My favorite part of Venice was getting lost. I made sure to remember the name of the train station near my hostel and what the signs looked like so no matter where I went, I could find my way back. I walked and walked and walked and turned every corner I could, going down every narrow alley, every brightly or dimly lit alley, and every alley that sparked my interest. On my first full day there, I ventured around with a guy from the hostel, Rossi (from brazil), visiting Piazza San Marco and walking all the way down to the very tip of Castello and walking around a beautiful park. We then went in the other direction and walked down to the very tip of Dorsoduro, having an unbelievable view! It over looked where the canale di San Marco and Canale Della giudecca connected and off into the coast of a few other islands. Absolutely gorgeous. And FREEZING(that is where I took my fb profile picture)!! The next day in Venice, I walked around with my Australian friend Estelle and we ate prosciutto sandwiches on the steps of a canale. How awesome is that?!? I thought even if I lived in Venice someday, there is no way I could ever take its beauty for granted. Even sitting on the steps of a canale, overlooking a gondola and a few bridges, eating a ham sandwich, Venice could not be more perfect. We then had dinner at a restaurant our hostel owner recommended because he found out I was a cook and his female friend owned a restaurant right around the corner. Osteria alba nova. Perfetto!! First best meal of my life and all I ordered was pappardelle with porcini. Ahhh!!
The next day, yesterday, I spent the day in Verona, the city of love. I briefly blogged about that yesterday but basically, who goes to the city of love by themselves?? Me. This girl, right here. And I still managed to have a great time! I went to the balcony and courtyard where Romeo and Juliet originated, I hiked a huge hill to that overlooked all of Verona at sunset, and I ate the second best meals of my life at Osteria "Le Decete". My tortellini in sage and butter sauce was I credible. So simple and done so perfectly. Verona was a perfect little day trip and I am glad I ventured out to the city of love BY MYSELF right before valentines day. Just shows that I've come to love myself and be just fine and better in my own company.
Today I arrived in Bologna. It's snowing and freeeeeeezing but that didn't stop me. I walked around and went to my new favorite market, Mercato Della Erne, where I bought stracciatella, prosciutto do Parma, finocchio salami, sopressa picante and a few heads of lettuce to make one hell of a salad. Woah boy. Now I'm off to pasta fresca, where they specialize in their fresh pasta dishes. I also ate a bright pink meringue that was in the shape of a pig. Now that I'm plump and happy, is time to think about my work in less than 2 days!!! Ahhhh!!! I'm meeting chef at the bologna centrale day after tomorrow....
Nervous is an understatement