Today I took a 2 and a half hour train ride to the beautiful and historic city of Bologna. I was meeting up with a friend who is studying abroad at the oldest University in the world, University of Bologna, to have a nice travel day around the city. The beauty of the city is almost indescribable. It is probably not the best city for historic sites other than churches, but the people are friendly and every building is frozen in time. (Even the banks have curved pillars and arches to look historic). The street is all cobble stone, the sidewalk is marble, and the shops are trendy.
Taking a step away from the Milano life, Bologna is definitely a first-stop-in-Italy site. It gives you a beautiful Italian city mixed with English and Italian speakers and young people. Tons of street venders in Bologna aren’t really venders, they are street performers. I actually saw a woman make insect and bird origami out of blades of grass.
Above all of my experiences in Bologna today, meeting people was the most memorable. People look at you, they don’t stare into your soul (It was like American starring). People ask if you need help and speak to you in English (Without laughing and calling you Americano). The people are all around nice and patient with you when you are shopping, eating, or walking around (Completely respectable). Bologna is DEFINITELY a go-see city if you are ever in Italy. Although it is not a tourist city, it is well worth the trip.
- Saw the beautiful city of Bologna and snagged photographs of random things. It’s like I said, even the bank was beautiful.
- Found nearly several shops that were like Rue 21, Forever 21, and Wet Seal. Needless to say, my shopping bug bit me hard.
- I found a fountain of Neptune. But the women on the statue were holding their boobs and water squirted from them. Now, if any Italian would like to explain this artistic, umm, how do I put this nicely, “gesture”, I would more than appreciate an explanation.
- I ate gelato. More than I ever should have, but it was too delicious.
- Sat next to a what I believe to be Greek or Macedonian family on the train. As my roommate told me and I almost didn’t believe him, they would stare at me. The family of four had a young girl and boy. Those little eyes stared at me the entire 2 and a half hours we had to travel. I watched as the parents desperately tried to get them to stop staring at me, but I’m almost sure they’ve never seen a black person speaking English before. (How do you teach your kid brown people exist might be my next book). I wasn’t offended at all, just amused.
What I Learned:
- People in Bologna are fluent in English and Italian. When they determine what you speak, they speak to you that way. Not rudely, just generously.
- Euros are not the same as dollars. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into a shop and thought, “It’s ONLY 25 Euros!” Then had an American friend say, “No, for you it’s 30 dollars, for a pair of glasses!” Then I’m left like…
- Platform shoes, yes, from like the 90’s, are highly back in style.
- Italian’s can hear the distinctions in different Italian accents, and they can tell which places have the best gelato. Meanwhile, I think all Italians sound the same and all gelato tastes the same.
- People in Bologna are just so friendly. I know, I’ve said this several times, but they are!
- Portion sizes are massive in Milan, and normal in Bologna. Milan’s restaurants always leave me like…
- I could only afford 8 Euro sunglasses on this trip to Bologna. #EuroLifeStruggle.
- People dress however they want to, and don’t care what anyone thinks of their fashion choices.
- THERE ARE YOUNG PEOPLE IN BOLOGNA! EVERYWHERE! EVERY CORNER! EVERY SHOP! YOUNG! YOUNG! YOUNG! YAY!!!!!!!!
- Included in this young people massiveness were bambini. They were everywhere too, especially by the bubble making street performers.