In both England and Italy, when we arrived in the evening, it was quite sunny, but we woke up to clouds in both places. It rained a fair amount on our first day out in Bologna as well. A nice thing in Bologna was that it has many covered walk ways that are part of the buildings, so we didn’t get especially wet even though we didn’t bring umbrellas.
We went out walking with Chris’s parents in the morning and did the sort of things one typically does when visiting a Southern European city. We checked out the interior of one of the local churches and went to the big plaza in the center of town and had some espresso:
After having a look around, we had lunch at one of the many places that sells panini. I know panini is an Italian word, the plural of sandwich, so I should not have been surprised, but somehow, I had never imagined Italians eating quite as many ham and cheese toasties as they appear to. Most shops were stacked with mainly ham and cheese in the form of crudo (literally raw, but cured in this case) or cotto (cooked) ham with some nice Italian cheese on ciabatta and other kinds of Italian bread. Mozzarella with tomato also seemed like a popular option.
We had an interlude for the main event of the trip after this, which will be discussed in an entirely different blog post on Commonwealth war graves.
It briefly got sunny in the evening on our way to our restaurant choice for the evening:
As I was in Italy with a bunch of people who live in Britain, there was some interest in finding the original version of something known as spaghetti bolognese in Britain. In the US, there is a similar dish often referred to as spaghetti with meat sauce or even just spaghetti. In Bologna, it’s most typically called tagliatelle al ragù and, therefore, not made with spaghetti at all, but of course, tagliatelle. In addition to the pasta being different, having now experienced all three versions, I reckon the US and UK versions have a lot more tomato sauce, whereas the Italian original was much drier, though still very nice:
We went elsewhere for desert as they had a fairly limited gelato menu at the restaurant. We happened upon a very good one with both excellent lemon gelato and equally excellent chocolate and strawberry gelato.
I was pleased to discover I could still speak Italian. I have studied Italian on and off for years, but have never lived in Italy, so it never quite gelled to the same degree as Spanish or Portuguese as I have lived in Spain and Brazil. I did some review on Duolingo through their Italian for Spanish speakers course, which got it up to a less rusty level, though watching the video, I clearly rarely knew the gender of some of the things that came up, but I managed to get by. I can still read and translate a fair amount of Italian without issue, but I had not actually spoken to anyone in Italian for several years. It’s not quite like riding a bike (which I didn’t do for about a decade and was able to do extremely easily in in 2014), but with some light review, I was able to get around, which is great.
A small note about the video. Please turn on the subtitles and choose English, not English (automatic). I have subtitled as much of the Italian as I can. One of the people I spoke to was Bangladeshi and his Italian proved the most difficult for me. Even the rest though, I have never lived in Italy and only studied Italian on and off over the years. Any help or suggestions anyone has for the subtitles is greatly appreciated as they are definitely unfinished, though they are complete enough to give you at least as much idea of what was going on as I had.
Here’s the video: