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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
So I got on the bus. Bye bye, Bolognan city center.
And I waited by the check-in counter for a pretty long time since it wasn't even open for my flight yet. Oops.
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."
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...
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 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.
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.
When our plane descended to cloud level, I knew the end was near. The end...
...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.