View from the hotel rooftop terrace
Well, the morning of the 25th was pretty uneventful. We got up had breakfast and then separated so we could finish up souvenir shopping and Angela could buy a bag to carry her souvenirs in. We ate lunch outside the train station amid all the pigeons, and then made our way in to the train station. The train ride to Bologna is fairly short...about an hour or so, but I managed to sleep during the train ride anyway. My first impressions of Bologna were that the area outside of the train station felt a bit like a big city. Second impression, is man...no one speaks English for real. Bologna was the only city where I could not find good directions to the hotel in advance.
Our hotel in Bologna
I knew the hotel was in walking distance, but I also knew it wasn't near as close as in the other cities. We waited for a bus for awhile and then finally gave up and caught a cab, paying careful directions to the turns so we could find our way back on foot. The Sav_hotel is very different from every other hotel we have stayed in, for many reasons. One, it is located in a slightly industrial looking neighborhood; Two, it is large; Three, it is very, very modern; Four, the staff really doesn't speak English. As we check in, I have them see if Samantha ( a co-worker) has checked in yet. I'm a little surprised to find out that she hasn't. She should have landed in Rome
pretty early in the morning and taken a train to Bologna.
Hotel Room at the Sav Hotel
It's already after 3pm. Hmmm, I hope she made the flight from Chicago. I'm pretty excited about being in Bologna, as this is the reason for the entire trip. Later this evening there will be a meet and greet for the wedding and I'm excited to see Amber.
My sister and I love the sparse and modern decor of this hotel, but what we love even more is free internet! Yay! This is actually a double edged sword. It's good because we can check flights to go home, and it is bad for the same reason. It's a little bit of a reality check that this trip will not last much longer, and the flights to get back to the states don't look so great. Oh well, that's part of the adventure of non-reving. At this point I am starving and can't wait until Sam gets here to eat.
Angela, Amber and me at the meet and greet
Angela and I head out to a mall we passed on the way to the hotel. We discover an Illy there and it is Happy Hour. Now, in Italy during happy hour you pay for a drink and basically get snacks for free. The man working was super nice, but spoke no English, so with the help of our Italian translation book we ordered two white wines and picked out little sandwiches. They were perfect and hit the spot and he was kind enough to make fresh ones and bring them to the table. We camped out here with our wine and sandwiches and left a message for Samantha to call when she got to the hotel. I was on my second glass of wine when she called and said she was lost and had been walking for an hour. Uh oh! I tried to help her the best I could, but decided it might be best if I just go and look for her.
Vincenzo, Amber and families of both
Before I go though, Angela asks where we can get these cute espresso cups and saucers and the man just bags some up and gives them to us. At first I didn't think he understood then we tried to pay him for them, but no. So for 10 Euro we had 3 glasses of wine, an espresso (Angela) and got espresso cups, saucers, and he even threw in the spoons. What a deal!...now off to find Samantha. I'm outside for about 3 minutes when I see her coming, face red, and suitcase dragging. Apparently, she decided to walk from the bus station, but couldn't find the hotel because the directions were bad. That seems to be a common theme in Italy. We walk her back to the hotel so she can shower and change and find out that she is so late because her train was cancelled due to a strike.
Vincenzo and Amber at the "Meet and Greet" the night before the wedding.
Whoops! Then, because she couldn't communicate, she ended up buying an entire new ticket. Poor Girl!
We head out to the meet and greet a little late and find it without too much of a problem. The walk is about 35 to 40 minutes and we see basically all we will see of Bologna. It seems cute enough, it definitely not a tourist destinations, so that was kind of fun to just be surrounded by Italians. The streets from the hotel to the bar are still lined with shops and such, but they appear to be just regular shops (like H&M). We did pass some street vendors, but they were closing up shop. The meet and greet was in the basement of a bar called Bar Mercanzia. We met Amber's family and Vincenzo and his family, and it was so funny, because we could all just say very basic things to each other, like "Hi!" It was a very festive and comfortable atmosphere.
Midwest Airlines Representatives
I was extremely excited to be there. We met some of Amber's friends that made the long trip, too. You could tell she is really loved by her friends and family, because there was a pretty good turnout considering she was getting married in another country. The idea of the meet and greet was great because it gave us all a certain comfort level that would carry over to the reception. The meet and greet was over before we even realized it and we had to leave. We talked to Amber a bit outside, but she still had to go and take care of some details for the reception. We offered help, but she refused, so we started the journey back to the hotel. We came to the decision that we would probably take a cab to the wedding tomorrow, because none of us could imagine walking all the way to the wedding in heels! We didn't have any problems getting back to the hotel, but the journey didn't feel as safe as other places we had been in Italy.
No Sam isn't the only one here.
I don't know if it was just the deserted nature of where our hotel was, or if the streets just weren't as crowded because there aren't many tourists. Whatever, the reason we were glad to get back to the hotel. We got back to our room and discovered it was freezing and there weren't blankets on the beds or anywhere to be found. We called the front desk and tried to ask for blankets, but they had no idea what we were talking about! After about 5 minutes, with the help of the Italian translation book, we found out that no, there are no blankets in this hotel. Weird! Instead he says he can turn the air conditioning off. Whatever works (we would pay for this tomorrow!) End of day 6.