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Pit Stop in Bologna

Tourists in a tourist-free city!

sunny 88 °F
View Post-College Eurotrip on atbrady's travel map.

Well, I may have found the reason why this place is so cheap. I woke up this morning with a bunch of mosquito-like bites all over my skin that were super itchy. I'm not sure, but I fear that they may be bed bugs. I suppose that its possible that they are mosquito bites since we slept with the window open, but we have been doing that just about every night since it is so hot. If it was mosquitoes, they were the worst ones I've ever come across. I slept in boxers while Kristine slept in a shirt and shorts, so I have it a lot worse than she does. The only reason I have to hold out hope that they were in fact mosquitoes was that I heard that if you have bed bugs, your sheets have red dots all over them from when you roll over and squish the bed bugs and I couldn't find any such dots. I guess time will tell...

We woke up this morning with the intention of going to Bologna and then continuing on to Venice, similar to our Pisa itinerary. The reason that I wanted to go to Bologna was that it has a history that is intertwined with that of my fraternity and I am thus very familiar with its centuries-old towers and streets. Since we were passing by on the way to Venice, I couldn't help but stop by. However, when we looked around to book a hotel in Venice for tonight, they were all absurdly expensive. It seemed silly to book such a hotel for a night when we would be arriving in the wee hours of the morning. Instead, we called an audible and booked a hotel for Bologna for the night and will arrive in Venice early tomorrow morning, that way we only have to pay for one night in Venice but can spend the better part of two days there. Our train tickets will still be good since they aren't for a specific day/time but are instead good for any time in the next few months.

Anyways, when we got to the train station to discover that the only trains we could see for Bologna were “express” trains and that we had bought “local” train tickets because they are about ¼ of the cost. Kristine was getting close to biting the bullet to make the upgrade because the woman at the ticket counter made it seem like there was no other way to get there. I figured that it wouldn’t make sense that you could buy local tickets if there were no local trains, so I wandered around looking for information booths for a while until I found someone that spoke a reasonable amount of English and told me the route we would have to take (with a transfer). So now, we are just waiting for our train to arrive, killing time playing 500 Rummy.

Florence has been simply fantastic. Though it was overrun with tourists, we managed to find several restaurants off the beaten path, mostly thanks to Frommer's, and got a great feel for what the city is truly like. Not only is it beautiful, but it has so much charm as a city that is smaller and has more personality to it than the larger cities I have been to. While we were waiting at the train station, I went across the street to the grocery store for some snacks. I noticed that people are expected to bag their own groceries here, as the cashier only scans them and then puts them on the platform behind him. This was also the third time in the last few days that I saw someone in the service industry blatantly on their cell phone and holding up customers. While checking out the person in front of me, he stopped for a while to read and respond to a text message. It was then that I saw the same beggar waiting behind the cashier for spare change. It was the fourth time I had seen her in just over two days, all in separate parts of the city. On a random side note, I don’t think I have mentioned it yet, but Florence has a bunch of short buses as their public transportation buses. At least half of their buses are these funny little short buses.

I'm now sitting on the train admiring the Italian countryside. Next stop, Bologna!

Posted by atbrady 18:51 Archived in Italy Tagged train_travel

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