Some thoughts after Bologna…

As usual, when I go on holiday, I walk a lot. It IS a big deal for me considering my conditions. Be that as it may, we usually go to places where the land is typically flat, quite unlike our country.
It is thus quite usual for me to walk ten to fifteen kilometres daily without any hassle. Of course, locally, normally, one would do this in a car…
Let’s face it, who would dare to go to Scan by walk? Of course, it is only 2km away, but one only needs to look at that great big hill to realise that it is akin to torture.
So it is one of the reasons we use a car. With the erratic timetables of buses, it is difficult to plan ahead properly. And if the Italians can do it, why can’t we??? We make jokes about Italian organisation. But I can honestly say something. We are DECADES behind. Not a simple amount of years. But DECADES.
Somebody needs to explain to me how the hell do they manage to get a bus to the city centre every fifteen minutes in the countryside where houses are few and far in between? How is it even possible to EXACTLY plan where you are going by bus and be ASSURED that at that time, the bus WILL be there?
Bus tickets for the entire Emilia-Romagna region cost a miserly €1.30, less if purchased in bulk. Each ticket would have a 105minute time stamp on them. AND you can stamp the ticket at the END of your first journey.
A train ticket to Piacenza costs €3.80… Every train was clearly marked with what station it would stop through and at what time it would leave. This is ITALY for fuck’s sake… they CAN’T be that organized… or can they?
Cars in general were in a smaller number than what I envisaged. Buses galore, scooters abundant, and of course, many many bicycles. In a flat city, what could be better than a bicycle?
Of course, good luck with leaving a bicycle outside here!
The food is incomparable. We THINK we know food. We don’t. The pasta, the milk, butter, and the local produce such as beef, pepperoni, mortadella, vegetables… simply unreachable. With all that greenery I had no doubts. And as for ice-cream… suck me sideways!
The distribution of prices in living is also skewed. Supermarkets (especially CO-OP) are laughably cheap. But a simple hair-cut is not less than €15. Buying shoes or clothes requires taking a loan.
Naturally there are problems everywhere, and if there is something which really made me sad, were the number of homeless. And the beggars. Typically the same number as in London. Not so much in the suburbs and outskirts, but in Bologna city centre, I was astounded to see a good number… Catholics were buying €2 candles to light for their deity, but turning their head away at the plaintive cry of a woman in help… It was heartbreaking.
I also think that the centre of the city requires more respect and graffiti was on practically every wall that had more than a metre of space available. Rush hour is chaotic, but between ten in the morning and four, the city is practically empty of people and traffic. There was nobody there!
Around 4.30pm, the hordes start to emerge, and it is total panic until eight at night, when, once again, the city is deserted anew…
It was, in all, a beautiful experience, and one which I want to repeat.

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