(From our March 2016 trip)
Why visit Bologna I hear you ask? Some of you may think it’s because I have some kind of childhood fantasy of seeing where the weekly Monday night “out of a jar”delight that all Aussie kids were served up over sloppy spaghetti in their formative years by the maternal parental figure came from. I’m sure our life givers thought they were exposing us to the exotic wonders of the world back in the 70’s and 80’s cough cough. I hate to disappoint you folks but I don’t really even eat Spag Bol anymore, those who know me well know I struggle with meat issues that make zero sense to anyone, not even when I am lying on the psychologists couch. I eat Lasagne but I don’t eat spaghetti bolognaise, I refuse to touch raw meat with my bare hands and seeing a big hunk of roast meat prior to cooking, most especially silverside, makes me gag, as does the smell of browning mince and well, essentially I could give up meat tomorrow except sometimes I love meat – let’s just say I am a complex little lady.
No, the only reason we were going to visit Bologna was to do a particular “foodie” tour that dear friends of ours, let’s just call them Kevin and Tanya, said was the best thing since sliced bread/invention of electricity/Kim and Kanye meeting….and they absolutely insisted we do it, and if you’ve ever met the lady-parts section of this duo in person, you would know you don’t argue with Tanya, you just do as you are told and we were told “you need to do this tour”. I always do what I’m told so we ultimately planned the WHOLE MOTHER OF PEARL trip around doing this tour in Bologna, a town I knew nothing about nor cared to visit but who am I to argue (no pressure but this better be the best goddamn tour in the history of the world bitches).
So – leaving Florence for Bologna by train was a breeze (have I mentioned how easy and cheap the train system in Europe is) except of course husband’s continuing hysteria over getting the luggage on and off the train. It is perhaps the most stressful part of the whole trip…EVERY…BLOODY…TIME!!
The train trip was under an hour and I was surprised at how big the Bologna train station was, it must be one of the hubs of the train system in Italy. We had no plans for this day other than a quick wander and some food because we were in “preparation mode” to celebrate the most SPECTACULAR DAY OF MY HUSBAND’S LIFE….the day he landed the most AMAZING WOMAN ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH!!!!
Checked into our very homely but perfectly located and formed hotel, Hotel Touring, and we were glad we chose this place to spend 2 nights to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. The staff were extremely friendly and our room was nice….and of course we were treated to another “bidet” moment. WTF??? I will never ever ever understand this contraption. Didn’t try it, don’t know how to make water squirting up my anus into a good and positive thing, how to handle the pants portion of your outfit and water flying everywhere and the towel that you are supposed to wipe said poo-matter away with….it all just adds up to a big pile of EWWWWW!!!!!
Bologna, well it’s famous for Spag Bol and fancy Porticos (aka verandahs) and look maybe some other stuff but overall I was a little underwhelmed with the place. We did see some pretty arches and walkways and I do remember reading about why these are all over Bologna, something to do with it being a University Town after all the buildings were built, but I’m gonna leave it up to you lazy peeps to google that little morsel.
I was kinda comforted by the tanks and soldiers with semi automatics that were EVERY-BLOODY-WHERE but Husband was a little less enamoured with the whole thing. It didn’t help that the bombings had just happened in Brussels, Belgium that day and thereafter this military craziness was to be the norm every place we went. Did I mention husband was not a fan of young men who were still buying pimple cream in bulk standing there with machine guns. So not feeling it!!!! (please note, I could’ve been shot taking this sneaky capture, I mean young men like that might not like it if a bad selfie got put on social media right lol)
We wandered around some….mainly looking for this food place I had my sights set on in my pre trip “Lisa’s got an OCD trip researching habit” kind of way. You know how I am with FOOD with a capital “get in my belly”. What we discovered was once you got a block or two off the main drag I gotta tell ya, the place went a little downhill. Not sure what was scarier….the graffiti which adorned every.single.building and with every step became more and more dense, unreadable and ultimately less artistic in my photographers eye (I’m being polite). I think husband started to sweat bullets once we were seeing some slim shady characters standing in most doorways with bulges in their pockets that did not indicate that they had large peckers but more like their own little “look at me wrong and I’ll kill you” kinda hardware!!!! Hubster hung in there though, trusting me blindly until even I started to get a few butterflies in the tummy and not from some romantic anticipation but more from fear which was also beginning to trickle up my spine. I eventually called “bullshit” on this expedition, we headed back to closer to our hotel to the safety of the machine guns and got a hearty bite to eat that did not require us to fear for our lives. Bologna isn’t really ticking my boxes in the pretty stakes for the most part but I hold out great hope for good food. That’s ultimately what this town is famous for….right???!!!!!
Since tomorrow was to be such a big day, starting at 6am and ending at dinner time with mounds of food scoffing in between, we decided to do the romantic 20th Wedding Anniversary celebration tonight on the eve of our wedded bliss. So we thought we’d get all gussied up for each other which kind of makes me laugh because he’s seen me give birth and I’ve seen him vomiting into a toilet (too many times) and well everything that goes inbetween when you are together so long so some of the romance is dead but hey, let’s squash down all those horrific flashbacks and put on the glad rags and basically EAT AND DRINK until we find each other attractive again!!!!
Here we are….so cute!!! (excuse the grainy photos, zero light and an old iphone are not conducive to photography greatness but hey, who gives a crap right)
This is in the lift on the way to the rooftop to have a few pre dinner drinkies, clearly in hindsight elevator lighting is not for the faint hearted (or the 40th somethings)
One of the main reasons I chose this hotel was the rooftop area and views. We ordered some drinks from the bar to be delivered up to us so we could sit and enjoy looking out over Bologna and relaxing before heading off to dinner. Funny story about this, there was one other little trio up there who kept a people watching whore like myself totally entertained for the short while we were there. One of the people was like an Italian Jayz, he had the cap, the bling necklace (men should not wear necklaces btw), the baggy jeans with his butt hanging out aka Beiber without the cuteness and he was loud and hand waving and totally all Italian passion and goodness wrapped up into one. I couldn’t stop watching or eavesdropping hehehehe. I could hear he was talking about food and websites and articles and tv shows but couldn’t quite work it out other than to surmise he was being interviewed by his American sidekicks. This will become relevant tomorrow….for now lock that shite away in your minds for later.
Husband had chosen a restaurant for the evening. It was within walking distance and we had booked for 6.30pm for 2 reasons – husband is old and already living like a retiree and needs to be in bed very early and we also needed to be up at the crack of dawn tomorrow. Now either husband had reserved the whole restaurant for us in a sweeping romantic gesture because there was not another soul in the place….or perhaps noone eats out in Bologna before 9pm. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt that he was being romantic hahahaha.
I truly cannot rave enough about this place. It was everything and more….and a bag of chips (and you know how I love chips). It was called Osteria Poeti, an old wine cellar built into a 14th century Palace and the restaurant dates back to the 16th century….as ya do!!!!
We went in with a goal of “pigging the hell out”, the waitress did not consider English to be essential so some things on the order may or may not have been lost in translation but who cares bitches….we’ve been married for 20 years….it’s a big deal ok!!!! So let’s stuff our faces!!!!
Some of the things we gobbled down were:-
Cold cuts of “Culatello” wth parmesan pie and balsamic vinaigrette
Little pumpkin dumplings with bacon and leeks
Large ravioli pasta filled by ricotta and spinach with butter and sage
Egg noodles (tagliatelle) pasta with original “bolognese” sauce
Some type of carbonara somethin somethin
But the best part and we nearly didn’t order it because well it sounded very Meaty for the crazy meat phobic lady that I am and well we had already eaten our body weight in pasta but we went for it and the photo 198% does not do the awesomeness of this dish justice – Greay Poeti’s speciality (meat wrapped in spek filled with mozzarella and mushroom – it was freaking AMAZEBALLS!!!! (Not gonna lie, I wanted to lick the plate, husbands face and everyone else in the restaurant who may have ordered this dish)
One of the evenings highlights, in the strangest of ways, was about halfway through our meal finally we caught sight of some other humans in the shape of a young couple who were seated only a small table away from us. Imagine our delight to hear Australian accents when they were chatting. Up to this point I think we had only heard one other aussie on our travels and so for us this was excitement pro level. We almost pounced on these poor younguns, I truly wish I was overstating that but I feel sure we both leapt over tables and borderline hugged and kissed them – wanting to chat and basically inhale their aussieness. Who knew we would be missing and craving our own so much. We chatted for a while and I started to think, yikes these two are probably trying to have a romantic dinner alone, after all they haven’t been together for 25 yrs like us old folk but to our delight they kept engaging us in conversation throughout the night and it’s fair to say husband and I were smitten with the little people. I mean we weren’t throwing keys in fruit bowls smitten but just enjoying talking about food, wine and mutual aussie bogan-ness. They live in Hobart and he was a chef and she was a wine rep person type so essentially a match made in heaven, journeying around Italy soaking in new taste sensations. Writing this blog many months on and husband and I still follow this guys restaurant on Instagram and definitely plan to visit when next we are in Hobart. If you get there before I do go check out this place:- Templo Hobart. Ask for Matt the chef and remind him of the old, annoying Aussies that he met in a 14th century wine cellar in Bologna hehehehe. Actually don’t do that, he probably doesn’t remember us lol.
Overall for a day that held nothing but a train trip, 2 meals, a little wander and taking our lives into our hands in the slums of Bologna, I managed to write an awful lot. It’s clear I can bullshit on about anything for a long time. Tomorrow’s update will be so much better I promise, well I think…..bugger, we can only hope!!!!
Weather – High 14, Low 8
Highlights – Amazing food at Osterio Poeti, rooftop views
Lowlights – yukky parts of Bologna