Will the rain ever stop....

Bologna Travel Blog

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The edge of the church which was never completed
Wow.  There are two mistakes I've made and they are both related to the same thing, a failure to plan.  Since I didn't plan I wasn't sure where I was going or when I was going there, because of this I went from Rome to Pisa which is a long and costly trip.  I could have done Pisa as a day trip from Cinque Terre, or vice versa....had I planned.  Additionally, Lucca is an out of the way place, that means that to get to/from it you have to do several connections on regional trains.  This means that I have spent 2 long days on trains, riding them or waiting for connections.

Oh well, live and learn.
  I don't regret my path, but I'll do it differently next time I travel.  I'll put just a little more into the planning.  I feel better though because I put no thought in to plans for this trip and if this is the worst that's happened I'm doing pretty well.

Today was a full travel day.  I got out of the hostel fairly early, but ended up having to wait an hour for my first train.  An hour later I was at my connection with a choice.  I bought a regional train ticket for 8€ which would get me to Bologna...on regional trains.  When I got to my mid point in Prato I found there was an InterCity direct train to Bologna.
  My ticket probably doesn't cover that, but since the train schedule said that reservations were optional I gave it a try.

The conductor came around and made a short speech in italian, which seemed to frustrate a bunch of people...I couldn't understand him, so as he came around to inspect fares, which was weird because he only looked at a few peoples, I told him I didn't understand him and showed him my ticket.  He paused, gave me a bad look, shook his head, and said "It's okay," and moved on.  I'm pretty sure he could have fined me 50€ or more....but lucky me.

The train ride was good otherwise, but the sights were not.  The weather has been really cloudy and rainy.  That light rain where you can tolorate it, but eventually you're cold and wet.  Yuck.

When I got to the train station I quickly found my bus line, but the stop I was at was headed the wrong way.
...where was the right way?  I looked, and looked, and left the train station to cross the street.  I went left, but should have went right.  Eventually I found it.  That actually worked out well because since I had missed the bus, not knowing where it was, I found a Kebab place one the way to the correct stop.  The kebab was the best I've had in a long time...and cheap.  Only 3.5€, with a coke I spent 5€.  Less then McDonalds at the train station where I almost stopped. 

The bus was pretty quick too and it turns out that the bus I need to get to my hotel is actually the same bus that will take me into the main downtown area.  Very handy. 

I had to stay at a real hotel this time because there aren't really any hostels in Bologna, the closest is a way out and doesn't look very good so I skipped it.
  Turns out another person on my bus was a traveller from New Zealand and she was doing the same thing.  Small world.  The hotel is great.  It has a ton of television channels including Al Jazeer news, which I've never seen before but have heard about.  I watched that for a bit and then tried to connect to the free Wi-Fi

Internet in Italy is a little scary because all of the free cafe's have to track your name etc.  They often photo copy my passport.  The hotel, even thought the wi-fi is free, had to give me a username and password because they had to log my info in their internet book.  Another weird thing, not bad mind you, is that I'm finding a lot of the internet cafe's are using Linux instead of Windows as their operating system, and almost all of them, even if they are using Windows, are using Firefox as a browser instead of Internet Explorer.  I'm sure this has something to do with the Microsoft anti-trust lawsuits that have been going on in the EU for some time.  It's frustrating thought because my realtor needs me to electronically a document, but I have to use IE to do it. 

I took the bus back to the major area and wandered around in the rain a bit.  Beautiful city, with lots to see.  The only 'tour' I did was the Basilica di San Petronio.  it's a hugh church, 5th largest in Europe, which was set to be the largest, larger then St. Peter's at the Vatican, but Pope Pius IV stopped constructions to build a university right where they were expanding the basilica, thus halting it's growth.  hummm.  You can actually see an incomplete section on the side of the church. 

It was beautiful inside, as is to be expected.  This church also has a huge sundial inside which was "instrumental in discovering the anomalies of the Julian calendar and lead to the creation of leap year."  Inside they also have a large pendulum with an explanitaion of how it works. 

A little more wandering and now it's time to go back to my hotel.  I'm actually excited about that with it being so nice.  Also I need to get up a little early to make it to the cooking class.  Fortunatly I had a chance at the train station to figure out the connection I need to make to get there by 1000.
dkcotter says:
Sounds like it all worked out for the best. Love all the info. and pictures..The weather does look a little cool and wet,hopefully that will change soon. Will con't to look forward to the next entries.
Posted on: Mar 29, 2009
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The edge of the church which was n…
The edge of the church which was …
Bologna Hotels & Accommodations review
Incredible Hotel
This hotel is quite possibly the best I've stayed at in a long time. While I frequently travel alone, and thus spend a lot of time in hostels, the … read entire review
photo by: travelfan1963