The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Bologna: Day 16 and 17 (Gelato and Sadness)

WARNING, THIS IS WHERE I SOUND WHINY: Having to recount my final days in Bologna is pretty depressing. [Cue sad face.]

Right now I'm staring at my photos as I tend to do when having to recall things that happened ages ago (this is why I take so many photos; my memory fails without it) and all I see is the end. Emptiness. Departure. Loneliness. Blah blah other-emo-state etc.

Of course, I'm being overdramatic. I've been at home for over a month (some of you think I'm still in Italy; sorry to confuse you) and life is quite fine. Somewhat. But it was especially nice in Bologna. I'm so eager to go on another vacation that in the past few days I've tossed at least five cities to Kathy as places for us to visit (and eat around until we explode) the next chance we get a vacation. We don't hate NYC—we just want to get out of here for a while.

And yes, I know I was just out of here. I don't know why I have this desire to go somewhere else. Laziness is one of my most defining characteristics, not adventurous...ness. Maybe I'm going crazy and I don't even know it. It happens, right? Right after graduation there's a period where one is allowed to melt down and question the rest of her life...

Well. On that note, here's how I spent my last two days in Bologna.


The "everything in the kitchen" risotto Kåre and I made night before did not truly include everything. Otherwise we wouldn't have had anything to fill our next morning's sandwiches with. The dregs left out of our risotto went into our "everything else in the kitchen" sandwiches filled with melted cheese of some sort, sliced tomatoes, and lettuce. Nothing exciting, but they did a decent job of filling our bellies.

Kåre and I hung out in the apartment before having to go to the train station where he would catch the bus to the airport. I suppose we passed the time by plopping our bums on the couch and watching more bad Italian TV. I felt like I waiting for some kind of predictable death.

The girls' room
Girl's room

And while waiting for death, why not take a few snapshots? Diana and I had shared a room with two smaller-than-twin-sized beds. Maybe they were for kids. Or maybe Italians are tiny.

The boys' room
Boy's room

Morten & Kåre shared a bed that was really two twins pushed together. They were taller than us; it only made sense for them to get the gigantor bed. Their feet probably would've dangled over the edges of our beds in an unsightly manner.

living room
Living room

Much time was spent in the living room napping and watching poorly dubbed American movies. Those couches were damn comfy.


Many sandwiches were born in this kitchen. And at least one espresso pot died.

So that's the grand tour of our apartment, minus the bathrooms and the random storage room.

I went to the train station with Kåre on a bus ride that felt like forever. Hell, I wasn't even leaving yet but it was practically all over anyway. Or not really—I planned on getting gelato that afternoon (and succeeded)—but as far as sharing silliness with other human beings went, it was allll over..

Okay, it wasn't really over until the tight hug goodbye in front of the bus. And it wasn't until later that the importance of Kåre presence really set in. That his good spirits and glowing happiness kept me much more sane than if he hadn't been there. Morten later described him as "a human buffer vs. insanity and sadness," a description that I reworded as, "He's an emotional pillow/sponge!" I don't mean to say that he's the only person I know with such qualities—strangely I think I know a lot of people like this, who I can count on as being much less insane than I am (like Diana and Morten!)—but I don't usually spend days on end with any of these people. Or watch excessive amounts of Italian TV with them.

Oh well.

Well, that's a new one

After parting ways I walked towards MAMbo (Bologna's Museum of Modern Art), a journey that took me past this MAGIC AMERICA SEX SHOP. I didn't go in to find out what was so magical about America. Sorry, guys—I have my limits. Browsing sex shops falls way, way way beyond those limits.

Going museum-ing

If you see a sign embedded in the arcade's column that says MAMbo, then you know you're in the right place.


Since they didn't allow photography in the exhibit, this is the only photo I have. Lockers, whose use is complimentary with ticket purchase. I don't usually put my bag in a locker, preferring to coddle it close to my person, but if I couldn't take photos I had no reason to carry it with me.

MAMbo reminded me of the MoMA, or P.S. 1 more like. By that I mean that the museum could've been anywhere in the world, yet here it was in Bologna. It's probably silly that the only museum I went to in Bologna wasn't at all specific to the city. Is that like going to another country and eating at McDonald's instead of the local fare? ...Dammit.

As my knowledge of art could fit into a teacup, there isn't much I can tell you about the current exhibition, Vertigo. Aside from the sometimes confusing layout of the museum (a guard had to point me in the right direction at least once) and that some parts of the exhibition were missing, I...enjoyed it. I was surprised to find that I actually recognized some of the artists.

Still, teacup.

forgot the name, but...yeah

I left the museum with a clear path in mind. A path that would use up the few euros left in my wallet. A path that would lead me to...gelato.

always a line

Ah, Stefino and its perpetual line. While waiting for my turn I rehearsed in my head how I would place my order.

"Vorrei una coppa piccola...[blah blah blah blah]..."

I felt a teensy bit more confident about flexing my insubstantial, grammatically incorrect Italian speaking skills after having spent more than two weeks in Italy. Also, being alone meant I had no one to turn to for help. In that situation I have no choice but to be confident. Or quietly run away. I've done that too.

But it all went downhill when the flavor I wanted—pistachio granite—wasn't available. The part of my brain that was supposed to come up with another choice on the fly moved more at the speed of an injured, partially squished fly with some of its guts squirting out. A few ineloquent uhhhs and mmms escaped my lumbering mouth before settling on cioccolato fondente (dark chocolate) and mediterraneo (almonds, pistachio and pine nuts).

chocolate fondente and one with a bunch of nuts in it
I have gelato, yes.

You notice that my cup didn't contain a plain pistachio flavor.

...I think that's why it made me sad. No pistachio. And the mediteranneo's little bit of pistachio didn't help. I though the combination of three of my favorite nuts would result in triple the awesomeness, but instead each flavor felt muddled, unable to shine with the other two up in its grill. (You know...that grill. I'm pretty sure this is the first time I ever used the word "grill" in such a manner.) The dark chocolate was good—smooth, just rich enough, not overpoweringly chocolate flavored for better or worse—but I was looking more forward to the mediterraneo.

How could my gelato tragedy be corrected? Hooow?


With more gelato, of course. I returned to Gelatauro where I had gone the day before with Kåre, and ordered a cone of his flavor combination: pistachio and cinnamon pumpkin. Awesome, of course. I mean, I knew what I was in for having just eaten it 24 hours ago. Such pretty, smooth, creamy gelato it was. I thought the pumpkin could've used more cinnamon, but the pistachio was just right. Warmbutteryroastysmoothnutness. Etc.

via San Vitale
Down the street

Bikes and mopeds whizzed by as I ate part of my cone while looking down via San Vitale, softly lit with the late afternoon sun. Gelato-eating settings tended to be ridiculously peaceful and pretty in Italy. "Soak in it while you can; you're not gonna be back for a while," I sadly reminded myself.

For proximity's sake I had actually planned on going to Gelateria Gianni, not Gelatauro, but the Gianni by the towers was closed on Wednesdays. However, whether or not Gianni is closed you should spend the few extra minutes (or ten) to walk to Gelatauro. You can do it...I believe in you! Really, you can't be lazier than I am.

For dinner I ate the leftover risotto from the night before while watching MTV. Would I normally do that at home? Nope—I just wanted a source of noise, even if it was in the form of the incongruous dubbing of Popular, which probably would've been an enjoyable show if it were understandable. But man, when it's in Italian and makes no sense, it can make your eyes and brain and other important organs bleed or initiate self-decomposition in an attempt to shut off the brain.

Instead of sleeping in my toddler-sized bed, I took over the now uninhabited MAN ROOM and its ONE BIG BED. ALL FOR ME. Oh, what power I yielded for that brief moment—"Hey, I think I will roll around this bed since it's meant for two people!" [roll roll roll]

...Ah, the stupid things you can do when you're alone.

...So alone.

The next day

The next day I woke up much earlier than I had to in order to relinquish the keys to the apartment's owner. Thankfully she was kind of late—otherwise I would've been in my PJs when she came through the door. For some reason I had a feeling she wouldn't be on time.

Still, she was there much earlier than when I had to actually leave to catch my flight. Although I was prematurely kicked out of the apartment (okay, not "kicked" but politely shown the door and pointed in the direction of the bus) I really couldn't kill time in any interesting way while lugging a tote bag and a backpack and a rolling luggage and maybe other things, like 10 extra pounds of fat on my body that I accrued over the trip.

on the bus

So I got on the bus. Bye bye, Bolognan city center.

Waiting to check in

And I waited by the check-in counter for a pretty long time since it wasn't even open for my flight yet. Oops.

snacks for the road

I had some chocolate bars to entertain me. Cereali was surprisingly tasty, bursting with the toasty grainy flavors of CEREAL. If it were a little less sweet I would've liked it more. I forget what Tronky was besides "disappointing."

window 2

It seemed funny that on the day I was leaving the weather happened to turn to poop. I don't think it rained at all during our trip, aside from that uniquely hellish day in Venice. Maybe Bologna was crying for me. Maybe...

Probably not.

It's food

The first in-flight meal wasn't so bad. I tend to be fairly pleased with whatever I get on an airplane, as I expect the meals to be about on par with frozen dinners, a food group that I'm sadly too familiar with having partially subsisted on them as a wee laddie. Anyhoo, this was some kind of beef thing with potato chunks and carrots. The salad is what most surprised me—it had mozzarella! Sweet baby mozzies! And lettuce that wasn't of the iceberg variety! The roll of bread was even decent.


This photo isn't important; I just like the way it looks. And it serves as a reminder that I had a stopover in Lisbon. Maybe someday I'll actually, like, stay in Lisbon.

Another reminder..

Another reminder that I was in Lisbon is this long-ass bridge, aka the Vasco da Gama Bridge, aka the longest bridge in Europe, aka the longest bridge I had ever seen in my life. The end faded in the distance. It was kind of scary.

tortellini something
Another meal

The second in-flight meal ranked much lower on the scale of awesomeness than the first one. That it featured some form of tortellini thrice removed from the original foodstuff probably had something to do with my displeased tongue. Sure, it looked okay, but it tasted like...not okay. Not that it tasted bad. Just. You know. Soft mushy balls of pasta that aren't supposed to be soft mushy balls aren't pleasant. Thankfully the dessert was some kind of chocolate and vanilla mousse-y thing. Can't go wrong with sweet whipped dairy substances.

racing the clouds
Oh shit, clouds

When our plane descended to cloud level, I knew the end was near. The end...

where the sky meets the rest of the universe
Rather peaceful

...It was rather peaceful. Kinda made you think about how crazy it was to be hurling through the upper reaches of the atmosphere in a winged metal bullet at a gazillion miles per hour. "If I died now, at least I'll have this pretty view," I thought.


But I didn't die. Instead, I landed in NJ.

...I guess that's better. [shrugs]

AND THAT IS THE END OF MY ITALIAN ADVENTURE, aka the most awesome adventure ever with some of the most awesome people ever. I hope you enjoyed reading it. I had fun writing it...well, more fun living it, but the writing was pretty fun too, even while I write this at 2:50 AM. It only took me six weeks to recount a two and half week trip. That's some kind of new record for me.

Thanks for sticking through my entries, even when the food content accounted to being less than 50% of the entry. It's back to NYC blogging for me—I have six weeks of catching up to do.


MAMbo: Museo d'Arte Moderna di Bologna
Via Don Giovanni Minzoni, 14
40122 Bologna, Italy

Address: Via Galliera, 49
40121 Bologna, Italy

Il Gelatauro
Via S. Vitale, 98/B, 40125
Bologna, Italy


Graeme / November 9, 2007 7:33 AM

Incredible. You're so lucky to be able to visit places like that, and I've really enjoyed reading all about it.

But don't stop there! Where's next?

Mort / November 9, 2007 7:38 AM

Life is quite nice, when you think about it, and just when you start to feel "poop" you'll have another adventure to spike your happiness once more :)

Kathy / November 9, 2007 9:09 AM

Another 3am night?! How you do it is beyond me, hehe! ;) BUT. As for vacation...we really must go somewhere! Even if it's only for a long weekend...or a week, San Francisco, Chicago! It'd be a rather delicious trip! ;)...and maybe we can find some OKI food whereever we go...

KnittyOtter / November 9, 2007 12:30 PM

That was super awesome... even the sadness. Dead on how I feel at the end of an amazing vacation or when a visit with someone I adore comes to a too fast end.


Tina / November 9, 2007 1:50 PM

At least you had an awesome vacay!

I know what you mean about wanting to go out of New York. It's kind of feeling like having cabin fever and you just want to get out. Somewhere. Anywhere. Just for the sake of changing the scene.

Heck, I'll join you since it's been a long while since I've been on a vacation!

Anna / November 9, 2007 3:03 PM

Oh well, all good things come to an end. And then you start planning for the next trip to look forward to. But isn't it nice that you had to relive each and every moment a month later, through the photos n all?
You wouldn't have done that this exact way if it wasn't for this amazing blog.

You should plan a trip to greece, preferably sometime in late spring or early summer (before the hoards of tourists arrive).just dropping ideas...

Lisbon is a great place too. I've been there once and plan to go there (hopefully) in early january, with a friend of mine. :)

Anna / November 9, 2007 3:05 PM

Oh well, all good things come to an end. And then you start planning for the next trip to look forward to. But isn't it nice that you had to relive each and every moment a month later, through the photos n all?
You wouldn't have done that this exact way if it wasn't for this amazing blog.

You should plan a trip to greece, preferably sometime in late spring or early summer (before the hoards of tourists arrive).just dropping ideas...

Lisbon is a great place too. I've been there once and plan to go there (hopefully) in early january, with a friend of mine. :)

roboppy / November 9, 2007 6:26 PM

Graeme: What's next? I dunno...depends on how much money is left in my bank account!


Morten: Yess, life is good. I have to remind myself of that every so often.

You living so far away doesn't help!

Kathy: My brain is underdeveloped; that's how I do it!

I REALLY WANT TO GO TO SF, especially after you mentioned all the awesome things to eat there!

Carl: It was a rather nice apartment. And to think it just ..sits there most of the time! Unless tourists like me want to stay in it. -__-


damog: Yeah! Now I have to unlazify myself and actually write

Tina: When do you get vacation time? YAY SCHOOL!!!

Anna: Ahhh, Greece...I've heard good thing about it! :) Aside from being confused by the Greek alphabet.

It would totally suck to go on trips and not document them (even if I'm frustrated by how long it takes me to do so). In a year I can look back at these entries and RELIVE THE MAGIC!!

Michelle / November 9, 2007 9:04 PM

Your posts make me so hungry...I just finished half a dozen of cookies reading ONE post. Either I eat too fast or I read too slow. =\
If you're opting for good food...GO TO HONG KONG. I feel like I live in deliciousness whenever I am there haha.

Mickjagger / November 9, 2007 11:15 PM

Your adventurous stories were pleasant to follow (I loved the Venice story, yes I'm a bit sadistic ;), I enjoyed the food reviews (gelato woohoo!) and much loved the architecture photos. I think you may definitely have been catched by Italy's beauty and art, much more than during your first trip there. And I couldn't agree 100% more even if you know much more about Italy than me now!

I must say you made my smile, as always ("Magic America" was great ;) but you can really be touching at the same time and that's why I so much liked your blog at first...
Thanks for your writings!
If I come to New York in the coming months or years, sure I will come to play the "I heart NY" tourist, but I'll always think that the first thing to do is to meet one really nice person again.
Hugs :)

tom / November 10, 2007 1:28 AM

As always, luv your stories, Robyn!

I forgot to tell you that the next time you get to Bologna, you should take a very short train trip to Ravenna...the gorgeous mosaics in the churches there are well worth was the capital of the empire under Justinian, and those priceless works of art testify to it. Plus, you are pretty close to some nice Adriatic beaches at Rimini, if that is your thing.

I can't believe you actually got TWO real (albeit not so satisfying for you) meals on an international did that happen? This summer, going to Europe, I actually was fairly pleased with the one main meal...but the other meal (breakfast going over, a snack coming bar) pretty much amounted to a cold breakfast bar or a sandwich, which actually weren't too bad either, but were definitely not hot meals.
What airline did you fly?

roboppy / November 10, 2007 6:28 PM

Michelle: Maybe you just REALLY like cookies. ;)

Dude, I'd so wanna go to Hong Kong! I wish I had gone when I lived in Taiwan since it, close by. Now Asia feels so far away. Not that it's impossibly far, but still. SIGH!

I'll add Hong Kong to my list.

Dana: Thanks! It's surprising to hear that since I wrote the entry at the hour of the day when my brain is at super low makes fizzling noises.

Yann: Oh yeah, this trip to Italy was muchmuchmuch better than the time I went to Rome. Not that that trip wasn't cool...but yeah.


Thanks for all the kind words. :) You are my evidence that FRENCH PEOPLE MIGHT LIKE ME!!!

And you should totally visit NYC! It may not be as fun as Paris and it'll probably smell funnier at times, but..uh..I guess it's still good.

ACCOLADE! (Is that "hug" in French? I think I prefer the English...)

Tom: Moten mentioned Rimini...but I'll admit I'm not much of a beach person. Ravenna sounds nice though. And I guess there's good food everywhere? ;) I think if I went back to Italy I'd wanna go back to Bologna, haha!

As for the two meals, maybe it was because I had to change planes? The flight was kinda long after all. I flew on TAP Portugal, hence the stopover in Lisbon. I remember getting a weird breakfast thing on the way to Bologna, some funky sandwich...eeuh.. yeah, best to forget that. -__-

Mickjagger / November 11, 2007 2:43 AM

Robyn: yeah I'm sure I would totally love NY. Not afraid of smells, I've seen so many guys pissing in front of the tracks in Montparnasse before taking the last train at 1PM!! (Toilets already closed... but hey is that a valid reason?! hum no).

The word "accolade" in french is only used for official ceremonies, between 2 presidents for example.
In fact we don't say the equivalent of hugs but more "kisses" (in a friendly way)
--> "Bises" (more formal, may be used for older people)
--> "Bisous" (friendly and common).
--> There also an even more familiar version like "Poutous" (more child-oriented but also used sometimes by very close friends or lovers).
"Cuddles" are "câlins" ("câlinous" -> diminutive for children).
"Hugging someone" would be "étreindre quelqu'un".
(The noun is "une étreinte" but it's never used alone and you'll find this term in literature works and naturally associated with couples).
More widely you would say "prendre quelqu'un dans ses bras" (taking someone in the arms)...
One thing is different here: if you are a child in the US and are leaving your grandfather, your parents may say to you "Come on, say bye bye and give your Granpa a hug!".
In France it would be "Allez, dis au-revoir et fais la bise à ton Papy"! (give him a kiss).

Ahem, end of french lesson :)

Marsha Calhoun / November 11, 2007 12:41 PM

You make me homesick for somewhere I've never been - quite a feat! And I certainly enjoyed Mickjagger's French lesson.

On a similar note, you were probably a wee lassie when you were subsisting on frozen dinners. And you certainly had better luck with airline food than I did, since mine arrived cold in the middle and I spent the next eight hours visiting the teensy-weensy airplane bathroom with annoying regularity.

Looking forward to more of your adventures!

eatyourheartout / November 12, 2007 10:59 AM

(ah.. stefino... my favorite gellateria with my favorite unique Mediterranean-o flavor!)

even though this happened nearly a month and a half ago it still rings sadness, and happiness, to my heart. It was certainly an epic reading all of your entries up to the very last day.

good company makes up for the thrill/adventure that a new country has to offer, including food! You can't eat without sharing the sheer exclaiming joys, with some possible hands flailing, with another fellow awesome human being.

it was great to have been on another awesome travel/adventure/fooding with you all.

roboppy / November 12, 2007 5:03 PM

Yann: Thanks for the French lesson! When I looked up hug I kept getting the verb...which isn't what I wanted. I guess in the US people don't kiss much as a greeting, like how French people don't hug much as a greeting? How often do people say, "Somebody needs a hug!" in French? ;D (I say that quite often.)

Marsha: Aahh, I try to not use the airplane bathroom if I can help it. "Just hold it in..we'll land soon." ;P Of course, that doesn't always work, but ye know, if a flight is short enough...

tastespace: It was quite satisfying, but sad as it was THE FINAL SAMMICH.


Ah well, we have the Internet to keep in touch with those we miss! Thank god. Unfortunately, tortelloni and gelato don't travel through the Internet.

I want to go back to Bologna someday. I hope you do too! :D

Mickjagger / November 13, 2007 6:16 PM

Robyn: exactly, a lot more kisses given than hugs. (and sometimes 1 kiss, 2 kisses, 4 kisses on the cheeks haha you never know depending on the person and the region of France).
Heu I don't think many people would say "Somebody needs a hug" but I think you can happily keep all you Robyn-habits without being called weird, don't worry ;)

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