As you know from my last post, Venice (mostly its hoards of tourists) was kind of overwhelming. I was not excited to leave the hotel for day three, so I threw out this option: “Let’s go somewhere else. We’re near the train station!” My mom is awesome, so she agreed to the impromptu change of plans. Our mission was to simply find a train headed to a city we had heard of that was leaving relatively soon. Those low standards led us to getting €12 tickets to Bologna!!
The two hour ride there was amazing, because I love reading and falling asleep on trains. It is…my normal preferred life activities, but on a train, so it has the aura of forward movement and purpose attached. There was one downside, though, which we discovered when we got to Bologna. Because we hadn’t planned anything or even known where we would go, we hadn’t downloaded Google Maps for the area, and therefore had no idea where we were.
We found some fancy stairs, and assumed that going up was a good idea. This led us to a park, and when we tried to leave the park, we wound up in a dead end with a sleeping homeless man. We went in the opposite direction, and this led us to a lot of long streets with closed stores. It was Sunday, so we resigned ourselves to an afternoon of walking nowhere. Well, and stalking, because we found a couple rolling suitcases and we assumed they would lead us to tourist destinations.
After AN HOUR AND A HALF of walking nowhere, the tourist couple walked one way, and the other way I spotted…Tiger!! My favorite cheap home goods store in Athens, which was open in Bologna. And just a tiny bit further down that street was…all of the tourist things! We still didn’t have wifi (we ducked into a bookstore to get the essentials, but we didn’t want to waste time reading up on things) so we mostly said, “Oh! Towers! I bet that’s a thing!”
It turns out there was a thriving city center full of restaurants, shops, and street bands. Our last two hours in Bologna were far more enjoyable than our first, but I wouldn’t change anything. It was super fun to get lost in a totally new city, unplanned and unknown.
And it was super great to have the tables turned:
Whereas in Venice we fled from tourists, in Bologna they were our saving grace. Thanks, tourists!
[NOTE: Although we spent one more half day in Venice, we didn’t do much worth mentioning, so this is the end of my Traveling With Mom series! Back to regularly scheduled content…until I go to Crete next weekend!]