FROM VENICE TO BOLOGNA
Last Days in Venice
(not an Agatha Christie mystery)
Our last couple of days in Venice gave us clear weather as though spring had finally sprung. This helped with the photography but we also continued our cultural tourism with church, museum and other such visits. A real highlight was the tour through the 15th century clock tower overlooking St Mark's square.
Our friend Jonathon gave us several "local" recommendations for typical Venetian trattoria that worked a treat, and Barb is still raving about her bouillabaisse at Taverna del Campieto Remer - a small, out of the way tavern near Rialto, almost on the Grand Canal. Stunning location and meal - thanks Jonathon.
Barb has also continued her 'pursuit' of the pattable cats and dogs with photogenic potential.
Our seafood soirée through Venice was concluded with some lovely black ink squid and polenta at another of Jonathon's recommendations (allo vedova) -at least I (Keith) liked it.
We still retain an active taste for Aperol Spritz but perhaps the taste sensations of Venice were the liquorice, dark chocolate and coconut gelati. For Aussies, the liquorice gelati was like converting Darrel Lea soft liquorice into an ice cream.
Our stay in Venice concluded with a boat ride through the canals of Cannaregio where we were staying - not a gondola but a traditional rowing boat that - was conducted by two energetic, friendly and informative young men keen to maintain traditional skills. Jonathon - we suggested they get onto Trip Cubes.
Bologna - Grimy Grungy & Friendly
Bologna is the home of Mortadella, tortellini and tagliatelle alla ragu (which we have bastardised to spag bog). For a foodie town what we experienced was functional but not outstanding - although the coffee, Spritz and gelati did keep their end up. A university town (80,000 students at the university) means it is a young person's town and the graffiti problem perhaps reflects this. However, once we got past the railway station the locals were extremely friendly.
Architecturally the main feature of the city are the endless porticos and archways that dominate throughout the old city - although the four km and 666 arches to a basilica housing a portrait of the Madonna and child attributed to St Luke pushed our energy levels as it also entailed a rise of at least 300m in that 4 km, on top of about 6km to get to the start of the basilica porticos. It is hard not to note the irony of the claimed 666 arches on the way to such a holy place.
We left Bologna feeling that there was more to see and do, however we were very busy in our two and a half days and happy with our time there.
The highlights - an exhibition of 17th century Dutch masters including Vermeer's Girl with the Pearl Earring and four Rembrandts.
However, we found out before getting to Bologna that Tommy Emmanuel was due to play in Bologna on our last evening - and we got the third and fourth last tickets to a sell out concert that just blew us away. As Aussies it was nice to see how one of our musical finest was received by a crowd even more enthusiastic than those at home, as was the very strong appreciation for Aussie support act Anthony Snape. It was a rave performance received rapturously by a very appreciative and vocal crowd.
Leaving Bologna we travel to Orvieto where we will stay for 8 days including a photography workshop, which will form the basis of our next report.