Потихоньку уже верю, что иы в все таки в Италии и даже на озере, уже утром поплавала. Кругом горы, внизу винлградники, а на вершинах сидят облака, сказка, на мелком месте большущие карпы, аыпрашивают поесть. С Даги прогуливаюсь по винограднику.
I decided to get some extra rest today & is likely a practice I will generally do on days that I switch bases/hotels and have train travel. When I arrived @ train station, the next train to Bologna was sold out (see what happens w/ no prior planning Doug?) so I had to wait an hour for the next one in the vaguely heated train station. (It is still snowing today, although it alters between snow and rain, basically resulting in a slushy mess). I am attaching a pic of what it looks like outside as seen through the incredibly grimy train window.
I am on a supposedly fast train but it has made several stops already, so I am dubious about an on-time arrival. We shall see.
In the train station I have noticed a fair amount of beggars & there are also lots of guys lurking around the ticket kiosks jumping to "help" people buy tickets. My guess is they try to extort $ after the ticket is successfully bought or use the interaction as a pickpocketing opportunity. I just tell them to takeoff and they have left me alone. Sometimes when I see them coming I give them "the look" and they don't even bother.
The trains here seem to vary pretty widely in terms of quality. It's basically luck of the draw. Some are equipped w/ power plugs and some not. Like elsewhere in Europe youhave option of 1st or 2nd class. There is also the option of fast or regional trains. Fast are 2x to 3x the cost of regional. Example: to Bologna fast train takes 1 hr and is 45 euro. Slow train takes 3 hrs and is 19 euro. Those are prices for 2nd class tickets. I took the fast train. So far it is running 20 minutes late...
So my train trip ended up running in excess of 3 hours behind. The train I was originally on had to be taken out of commission for some reason and they switched us to another train, however we had to drag our luggage down the track and through about 4" of snow to get to the new train. I had no idea how much time we had to accomplish this and everyone was rushing, so it ended up being an opportunity to burn off some Italian meals. The new train was a Regional train, which makes stops about every 15 minutes and so that is the reason it ran behind.
I met a girl on the train who had recently graduated and attended a semester in Italy. She told me that the train company will evidently give you a partial refund if your train is more than 30 minutes late, so I intend to look into that since it was far beyond 30 minutes.
When I arrived in Bologna, I got to wait in the sleet for a taxi. I entered the taxi and as we were pulling away my driver informed me that he could only get within a couple of blocks of my hotel because on the weekends they close the historic area to traffic. Great...! So he took me as close as he could get and then gave me directions on how to get to my hotel. I had trouble finding it and asked some shopkeepers and once again got the run-around in terms of directions. It's a wonder the Romans were ever able to find their way to conquer foreign lands! Anyway I finally arrived and got settled into my hotel. By the time I got to my hotel it was late, so there was no time for sightseeing.
I went out to dinner and had a great new dish- stuffed zucchini flowers. VERY good. They stuff them with cheese.
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Today began my Bologna touring. I took a 2 hour walking tour and had them main sights pointed out with a little background on them. The guide was not as good as my one in Milan and we didn't get to enter any of the sights but it was still worthwhile. Later in the day I toured the 2 main churches, which were also just OK. The main thing of architectural interest are all the covered porticos lining the streets of the city. It's nice because they offer a little refuge from the inclimate weather.
This city also had a lot of towers at one time and still has some remaining. The towers were built by wealthy families as a means of protection from other wealthy families. In ancient Italy, they took keeping up with the Jones's to the extreme.
I wish I had more of interest to share with you about Bologna but other than the fact that it's picturesque and has very good food, there's no much to report. Tomorrow I am taking a day trip to Padua to see the Scrovegni Chapel and that city. I have learned my lesson and will be leaving earlier than I originally planned, in case the train runs late. The Scrovegni Chapel is another one of those must book in advance, for a certain time slot and I think you only get 20 minutes to see it. I am going to time this one to see if it is really 20 minutes or if they are on "Italian time".
By the way, my hotel has a resident dog, a laborador named Chocolatta. It appears she gets lots of treats but hopefully no chocolate.Read more
You might also know this place by the following names:
Tuoro sul Trasimeno