Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Learned, The Fat, and The Red



Bologna: La Dotta, La Grassa, La Rossa. 
The Learned, The Fat, and The Red. 

The famed university, oldest in Europe (and many bookstores). 
The food! (more on that later) 
and (depending on who you ask) 
its red rooftops or its far-left/Socialist/Communist political leanings.

A vital, thriving, non-touristy city. 
Exceptionally walkable with 40 km of porticos,
and severe limits on center city traffic. 
Beautiful, medieval, small, complex.



La Passeggiata,
that occurs every evening in villages, town, and cities throughout Italy.
Families and friend stroll, gossip, chat, flirt, pause 
for a gelato, espresso or aperitif, to admire a baby or a small dog.

I adore this ritual, observed it, happy and envious.




I got sick right after I returned. A cold, a virus, but also 
my reluctance to return here from there, 
my way of stretching out the space between,
 savoring it, imprinting it deeper, 
so when I fully return I will be a little different than when I left.



And the food. Oh, the food. The freshest, most flavorful pastas, 
deeply savory cured meats and cheeses. 
The challenge of ordering from salumerias and formaggerias
with my thirty words of Italian.



Fruit and vegetables from hot wild places to the south.  
Every day I bought clementines from Calibria, 
the leaves still fresh, the fruit so sweet.



The scent of political engagement everywhere, especially in the university quarter.


Memorial to the victims of the 1980 Bologna train station bombing that killed 87, 
and the victims of two train bombings. 
The horror in France occurs while I am in Italy, 
and I am reminded how small and strong and vulnerable and unique these countries are.


A room with a view.

(If you missed it, my previous post was about New Years Eve in Bologna.)

40 comments:

  1. Hello Jen, I know what you mean about needing a little buffer when transitioning to or from such remarkably different places. The rituals of each place are so different, but sometimes being at home and with family we don't get out as much and partake of what every place has to offer.

    I love that arcaded street with the yellow walls. I have seen something similar in Taipei, but usually in places that look like that there is sadly no more life--they seem out of the way and waiting to be replaced.
    --Jim

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    1. Jim, the center city of Bologna is literally filled with those arcades--30 miles of them! It's a remarkably beautiful city.

      This is the first time I've really let myself give in to that transition, instead of forcing myself to "get with it" and I'm glad I'm doing it.

      Jen

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  2. Oh I was sooooo waiting for this! I finally went on Instagram and looked once I remembered what name you were under so the pictures are already familiar but I can look all day. Bologna is supposed to be the BEST food, so glad you were able to savor it. I find a lot of Europe to be "Socialist" which is two steps from Communist but it's not the same as say China or the Soviert Union, in my opinion. That ritual of the evening or Sunday walk is so European, I love it too, we did it in Cuba and did it for a while when we came to the US, walk to church on Sunday and then find a place to sit, eat and just while away the hours. Listen to me such ramblings! Sorry to hear you got sick on the return, must've been melancholia :) Welcome home and keep them coming!

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    1. Hi Amelia,
      The Italian Communist party has a stronghold in Bologna--local government has been controlled by them for many years. (It would probably surprise a lot of people to know that the same is true for much of Tuscany and Umbria.) Weird, Huh? I have no idea what that means in practice. I certainly saw no signs of what I think of as Communism. The bombings I mentioned were committed by Neo-fascists. And the Socialist party is strong throughout Italy.

      I'm glad you took a peek at Instagram. Let me know if you start posting there, or if Max gets his own account.

      Love imagining little you and the passeggieta in Cuba. Much of Italy reminded me of pictures of Cuba I've seen.

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    2. I meant much of Venice made me think of Cuba.

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  3. Hello Jen
    Can I be selfish and say please give us more stories and images of Bologna. It is beautiful seeing life being lived and traditions followed.

    Hope your health is restored.
    Helen xx

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    1. Wow, Helen, what a nice request. I'd be happy to post more on Bologna. I fell in love with it there. Will be posting on Venice and a few other places first, but will return to Bologna.

      I'm feeling much better today.

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  4. not usually around on sundays but spotted your italy post and had to come and peek :)
    i do miss the european late night strolls, one of my favourite aspects of living in southern europe.

    wonderful. enjoy the virus' stretching out of your travels lol

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    1. Hi Autumn,
      Where did you live in southern Europe? Thanks for checking in.

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  5. My body doesn't like to travel at all, but I get such pleasure from the traveling experiences of others!

    Hope you are recovered from "the bug" you caught.

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    1. Hi Terri, I spent many years as an armchair traveler. There's so much good reading out there to take us to new lands. Thanks for visiting.

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  6. Italy through your eyes is so different from others who wax romantic about it - walking among communists and students must make one feel young again! xox

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    1. Bologna is such a vibrant city, Shelley. And part of my love grew from the fact that, unlike say Venice or Florence, it's not dependent on tourists. It would be a great place to rent an apartment for a week or a month. And it's a short train ride from many cool places. And it did make me feel young!

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  7. Wait, we're not young? This heresy is almost destroying the pleasure I've experienced traveling with you. Almost. And yes, new adventures do stir a sense of youthfulness and I think self confidence. That you did this by yourself? Priceless.

    Xo J

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    1. Oh, Jane we all know that you are still a kitten! As for by myself--the first week I traveled with one of my sons. The second week he started a class, and though we were not together, we weren't far apart either. Having said that, the trip gave me the confidence that with enough preparation I could travel most anywhere by myself. And as I am essentially a loner, but a fearful one, that is progress, and a revelation.

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  8. Why did you choose Bologna? Now it sounds ideal, so I take back my alarmist warning. But how was the weather. Love that last photo - well, all the ones that are showing. The clementines and the university quarter aren't showing. Might just be my computer. So did you take the last one from your hotel room. Or did you rent an apartment?

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    1. Bologna, because my son was taking a class there. We got lucky with the weather. It was cold, teens and twenties, the first few days, with a dusting of snow (but I was prepared with boots and a long wool coat, and coming from New England, that's normal). The rest of the trip was 30's and 40's and most importantly, no rain. The weather I was worried about was days of cold rain. The last picture was from my hotel room, 4th (top floor) right in the center city, a block from the Piazza Maggiore where the New Years burning took place.

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  9. Hello Jen,

    Your photographs of Bologna are wonderful and really do encapsulate the sights and scents of this fascinating place. We have so enjoyed wandering the streets with you. Indeed, it is extraordinary how one finds oneself eating ice cream at most peculiar hours of the night......this always happens when we are with our Italian friends.

    The food in Italy is simply delicious. We always feel we eat so well there. As you say, the quality of the ingredients is remarkable and we miss it very much wherever else in the world we may be.

    We trust that you are now feeling better. Please, do let us share more....

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    1. Jane and Lance--it seems you can't walk a block in Italy without stopping for a coffee, a cicchetti, or a spritz. They are masters of the art of strolling/eating/socializing.

      I am, finally, feeling better, and also full back in this country, as evidenced by the fact that yesterday I watched (American) football.

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  10. beautiful. I love Italy. there is something magical about it. can't wait to see more of your pictures xo

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  11. Oh would love to go there right now..... I can imagine you miss it! Hope you are feeling better now!

    Take care,

    Madelief x

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    1. Feeling better--thanks, Madelief!

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  12. Jen,it must have been so hard to leave! Was that room with a view yours? The colors of the buildings in Italy, those faded golds and russets, are so darn gorgeous!! Hope you're feeling better now.

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    1. Those faded Italian colors make such an impression, Anne. That was from m hotel room.

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  13. hi jen, restarted my blog, if you just click on my name it will get you there! i hope...

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  14. Jen,
    (Sorry I haven't been by for a while)! What an amazing tip, I'm sure you had a hard coming home! The city looks gorgeous, the colors are beautiful!
    Come by for a visit, in my last 2 posts, I posted photos of my 2 favorite girls, 2yr old Kailyn and 1month old Sarah Kate.
    Rebecca

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    1. Hi--it's been ages. Can't wait to see the little ones, Rebecca.

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  15. Dear Jen,
    Beautiful photos! I've not been to Bologna, but have traveled quite a bit throughout Italy. I miss Italy: the beauty, warmth, people and food!! Thanks for sharing.
    Cheers from DC,
    Loi

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  16. I have never been in Italia, maybe some day :)

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    1. And I want to visit Spain!

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    2. let me know when it will hapen! ;)

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  17. I would love to spend even just at least a weekend in that place. Every corner looks interesting and appealing in its own way.

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    1. Beautifully said. I hope you get to go there one day.

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  18. It's a beautiful city, I haven't been there lately though. I feel I need to go back.

    /Avy

    http://mymotherfuckedmickjagger.blogspot.com

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    1. I miss it! Will definitely return.

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