Tag Archives: Travel

Cinque Terre is a beautiful place

We spent a couple of days in peaceful Riomaggiore, one of the 5 little towns that make up Cinque Terre. After around 9pm, all you can hear is the sound of the ocean and top 40 pop songs emanating from Bar Centrale.

It really is a beautiful place.

Riomaggiore

Riomaggiore

Riomaggiore

Riomaggiore

Riomaggiore

Riomaggiore

Airbnb & Gatto

We used Airbnb.com for our whole trip and highly recommend it. You can get great accommodation for cheap prices. Some are people’s own homes while they’re away and some are specifically for travellers. All the places were clean and reviews on the website show which places are ideal.

In Genoa, we stayed in a Baroque violinist’s house and became very fond of his cat, Gatto. I was quite sad when we had to say goodbye to him.

Airbnb and Gatto

Airbnb and Gatto

Airbnb and Gatto

Airbnb and Gatto

Airbnb and Gatto

Airbnb and Gatto

Airbnb and Gatto

Airbnb and Gatto

Airbnb and Gatto

Verona

While still based in Bologna, we spent half a day in Verona. Now surrounded by tourists, I was no longer the outlier with my DSLR around my neck.

Famed for the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, Casa di Giulietta is now home to annoying girls posing on Juliet’s balcony while their mum/dad/girlfriend/boyfriend/grandma takes 10 shots of the same thing. The other mainstay of the city, the ancient Roman arena, looked promising but required the full entrance fee despite half of it being closed for renovations.

By this point, the different cities of Italy started to just become a blur to me. Architecture and buildings became repetitive. Once awed by one incredible cathedral, the smaller, not-so-well maintained churches aren’t as impressive. And food becomes a consistent dose of pasta, cheese and protein.

Verona was nice, but nothing special. More sentimental than monumental.

Verona

Verona

Verona

Verona

Bologna: La dotta, la grassa e la rossa

The learned one, the fat one and the red one.

Bologna is home to the world’s oldest university founded in 1088, Università di Bologna. The learned one refers to the importance of the institution. The city is filled with students, making the streets lively and everything cheap.

Commonly referred to as the food capital of Italy and the fat one, we were not let down by its renown. The food was splendid and very affordable. Housed in the middle of the Emilia-Romagna region, Bologna has direct access to prosciutto, salame and parmigiano from its neighbour, Parma.

The food was simple, but well seasoned and made with quality produce. Funnily enough, spaghetti bolognese isn’t actually a thing. Tagliatelle al ragu was the dish appearing on all menus, directly translated to tagliatelle with sauce. Tagliatelle is a flat pasta made with egg as opposed to the more common spaghetti made with semolina/wheat. Sauce was minimal and just enough to coat the pasta. My favourite dish was tortellini in brodo – simply homemade meat tortellini served in a broth of chicken, veal and beef bones.

We came across Enoteca Italiana, an enoteca being a local specialist wine shop. This one in particular served cheese and meat if you chose to have a drink inside.

(in Italian)
Deb: Can you recommend a cheese to go with some meat in a panini?
Meat and cheese man: No.
Deb: No?
Meat and cheese man: No.
Deb: Why no?

He then proceeded to educate us on the correct way to eat. Apparently you can have cheese and meat on a plate, but only meat in a panini.

A first for us was aperitivo. Held in bars and popular with the uni kids, you get food served in a buffet style for free or for a couple of € once you order a drink. The quality and range of food differed at each place and usually consisted of antipasti, cold pastas, cheese and meat. Free food? Always a win.

Lastly, la rossa or the red one. A reference to the orangey-red coat over many of the buildings gives that Bologna a warmth and a bright backdrop for city life. The hue of the city convinced Deb to buy some Bolognese red shoes!

Bologna was very comfortable. Without the mass of travellers, it was a nice breather in between the tourism hotspots.

Also, I just wanna go back for the food.

Bologna

Bologna

Bologna

Bologna

Bologna

Bologna

Bologna

Bologna

Bologna

Bologna

Bologna

We loved:
Trattoria Mariposa for home made pasta
Enoteca Italiana for cheese, meat and wine
Le Stanze for aperitvo
Terzi for coffee