Bologna to Firenze

6 June 2013 Blog-na

FirenzeOn a high-speed train to Firenze from Bologna for the day. Aaah, Florence, the city of romance . . . or was that Rome. Never mind. Looking forward to it.
Ah yes, the tiredness I spoke of before: it first manifested itself on our going for a coffee at CDG airport. I was paying for the coffees and swept my elbow around in that typical Latin manner – a flourish – just trying to blend in you see, practising my French hahaha. But in doing so I swept a big container of sugar sachets onto the floor drawing immediate and undue attention to myself and Rachel. Hardly blending in hmmm? Rachel, of course, wanted to pick them all up, but I managed to stop her from completing that chore with some practised nonchalance tinged with arrogance – that was more like it – more French. The coffee was crap anyway, and I don’t think anybody I know was watching, just a few suave business types, so Frrrench . . .
The second act of clumsiness occurred in Bologna that same day in a trattoria where we found an equivalent of the Spanish ‘Menu Del Dia’. Taking my plate of verduras to the table from the buffet I dropped the plate – managed to catch it before it hit the floor (surprising considering the state I was in), cleverly squishing the remaining food between my hand and the plate. Same embarrassment. The lady was very good about it, sweeping it off the floor by my feet while I sat, tiredly humble. Rachel found this quite funny, but was beginning to take a more wary interest in my tiredness, and the next incident (only just) didn’t happen because of her watchfulness. I was fine the next day after a good rest. For those of you with an interest in food, my principal dish was a scaloppini of veal in a sublime cheese sauce of extraordinary quality. Rachel’s was beef strips in a balsamic dressing. Both dishes were excellent – and this is how the workers eat. While enjoying the rustic bread and a refreshed platter of assorted vegetables (verduras) we opted out of further dishes as we were full, but I did order a second carafe of the light, spritzy white wine. I must note that while you are all used to celebrity chefs interviewing compliant chefs about recipes for their food it just is not ever going to happen without a television crew, credentials and an interpreter, so my rough descriptions will have to do.
Photos: Ah yes, well, you see, the area we first encountered was really unmemorable and unworthy of capturing and, to be quite honest, I was quite unimpressed by Bologna and couldn’t be bothered carrying the camera. However, the next day, following advice from some recent Italian friends in Perth – Fiorella and Luca – we went in search of a little Osteria in the depths of the old town. This was more like it. Narrow arcade cobble-stoned streets and ancient frescoe buildings whichever way we looked. We got thoroughly lost several times in search of the establishment while navigating the maze of old streets, but that was part of the fun of the plan. It became crystal clear to us that we should have brought the camera the moment we entered an ancient, multi-tiered government complex that was part museum. Fortunately we had our trusty old Nokia phone and managed to get quite a collection of stunning (you may yet get to judge this) pics typical of old Bologna. Unfortunately, we forgot to bring the usb cord for the phone to download onto our computer . . . The Osteria itself was a very rustic bar similar to a spanish bodega, with a very bohemian atmosphere – only partly due to its clients. It seemed like an artists hangout. We crossed the lane, bought a couple of small loaves, took these into the delicatessen next door, had them filled with a superb goats cheese and prosciutto and returned to the Osteria to consume them with a few glasses of local white wine. Wasn’t half bad eh!
The bicycle is very much used here (though not the flash racing and mountain types found in Oz) and the city provides free bikes for the public to use. It would appear helmet wearing is voluntary – barely anyone does.
Not related, I’m sure, there is an inordinate daily amount of ambulances hooting their way about this city.