Bologna

Wednesday :

Today my lovely school friends left! 
We had a slow start as they had to pack and Anne is a meticulous packer! 
Then Anne confessed to a very sore foot and stayed at home while we went up to Arqua Petraca our nearby hill town. It’s a lovely little place and we met a few locals , which isn’t hard with Geoff Shaw around as he talks to everyone! 
After lunch we drove them to Padova and tearfully hugged them goodbye. 
Thank you my lovely friends for coming all this way to spend time together.
Thursday:
Another early start – which for me is hard! 
We got the train from Monselice to Bologna, a trip of about and hour. 
This time we started with coffee and then headed for the main piazza. I was here a few years ago, on my own and probably walked most of it so I became the unofficial guide. The others took the tour bus which is a good one as it gives a great overview of this lovely city. It is a city of towers and porticos. 
While they were touring I walked and re-oriented myself and selected somewhere nice for lunch. I asked a lovely young women in a shop and she said to avoid the few near her shop- too touristico! And she guided me to an alley nearby and Tratorria Guido. 
When the others arrived back we walked the few streets to the markets. They are great little markets with the most colourful vegetables. Vivid purple melanzana, stripy beans, flowering zucchini , tomatoes of all sizes and the most vibrant of colours from red to green. The fish was shiney , the squid  ink black, prawns  all shades of orange. Geoff bought his usual sausage to keep him going and the girls bought some aged balsamico to take back as gifts. 
We made our way to the restaurant and, yes, it was a winner. Geoff and the daily special something he’s been wanting- corniglia or rabbit ! Lindy and Chris and the baked lamb and Jill had pappardelle ragu. All super delicious. 
After lunch the boys left us to our wandering and we explored  the streets and piazzas including the lovely Santo Stefano where I had a lovely drink several years ago. This time we had  delicious gelati. It was gorgeous especially my new flavour – Italian opera! As everything in Italy is something of an opera (drama) it is an appropriate new flavour. It is creamy, a little sweet, explosions of flavour from the praline crips planted inside the gelato. Yum! 
We discovered some more portico and a huge church where we rested our tired feet. We got the train back but not with out our own Italian Opera drama. We hadn’t validated the ticket and Geoff hopped off the train to do so and disappeared. We were thinking he wouldn’t make it back when all of a sudden there he was. 
We arrived home hot, tired and very happy we had left some food from last night for our snack dinner. We had leftover cheese, pesto, olives, tomatoes, bread, and even some warm pork salad.  Oh did I mention I’m enjoying the Prosecco! 
We all had a huge sleep last night and our last day here will be spent pottering in the area around our house. It edges onto the National Park and has some interesting towns nearby. There  are spas, so we might indulge in a mud bath or a ” treatment”. Perhaps a lovely lunch at an agriturismo as this area has lots to offer in the food area. It is different to Umbria and Tuscany but is so interesting and not overrun by tourists. It’s quieter and costs half as much.
The other night we had dinner at Da Mario a nearby little place tucked away in a country lane. It was fantastic and cost us all of $18 Australian dollars. We shared starters, had gorgeous mains and shared desert and vino della casa. Superb ! 

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