As happens in every trip, there’s always at least one day when absolutely everything goes wrong….yesterday, it was our turn for that day, actually two days.
I can’t wait to get the hell out of Bologna. Note to self – never, ever come back to Bologna by car. I’m over it.
We had driven hours and hours and hours from Biella in the far north of Italy – after stopping in Martigny to visit the Monet Art Exhibition, and then in the St. Bernard Pass , Switzerland, to see the St. Bernard Museum, to arrive in Bologna about 6pm. It then took us one and a half hours to get from the outskirts of the citta vecchia (old city) into the centre (about the same distance from Braddon into Civic…..because of all the forbidden streets; one of which we drove through three times, so 3 nice big, fat fines coming our way, plus all the one-way streets.
We could see our hotel in the spaces between the old buildings, but we couldn’t get to it because of all the one-way streets and the forbidden streets.
After the third time of going past the hotel, we tried to find a different, hotel: any hotel that had a room free. We were tired and confused and by that stage – of course – the charge of our phones and laptop and iPad were getting so low that they kept flashing warnings to us to recharge immediately.
Michael could’ve walked into the citta to our hotel, but it was getting dark and if he got confused he wouldn’t be able to find me and our car again in the streets of Bologna….and of course my italian SIM had run out of credit, so he wouldn’t have been able to phone me. We couldn’t leave our stuff in the car in a side street, because if we couldn’t get back to the car, our stuff would be gone by morning.
Of course, at that stage, no hotel had a spare room. So, Team Del Gigante, sucked it up, found ourselves an unauthorised parking space in a dark alleyway (because of course, all the parking spots are for those authorised). Got our luggage and walked, and walked, and walked over cobble stone streets (I was thanking god that I bought a new suitcase with four wheels – its was a saviour) to the hotel, where the receptionist gave us directions to get our car from via Garibaldi to via Novembre, emphasising to us never, never, ever drive through the forbidden streets. (by that stage, I was way past caring about their shitty forbidden streets, and the fine seemed like a good investment in regaining my sanity).
Jezzus, can you believe it, but the receptionist’s directions to get to our car and back to the hotel were wrong. So now it was around 8pm, and we’re lost again, but now with no luggage !!@! We stopped to ask people in a restaurant for new directions and got ourselves back on track. (The GPS wouldn’t work either – it was charged, but couldn’t cope with the short, sharp turns and all the brick buildings….so no signal). Some of the streets we had to go through, we had to stop to fold the car side mirrors in, they were that narrow.
Finally, we found the hotel and their car park (which isn’t at the hotel, but one block from the hotel).
At that stage, I really didn’t care if someone stole the car.
The next morning, Michael gets up to go for a walk, while I get myself organised. He’s back in 5 mins, telling me that he has to move our car because they need that car park for local handicapped drivers because there is a huge festival on in town today and the city centre is car free for 2 days. (Later in the day, we walked past that 50 car space, open-air car park and it was filled – filled – with 5 cars….jezzzus).
So Michael gets the car keys and follows their instructions to their sister hotel, which has a garage nearby that we can park in.
Of course, he can’t find the garage, can he……. because the directions were wrong again. The garage was actually underneath the sister hotel.
So he gets back in our illegally parked car, and drives into their garage which was apparently as big as a bathroom and had 20 cars squished inside it.
On is way back to our hotel, Michael realises that he’s left his phone in the car and goes back where he finds the garage guy still trying to park our car.
Hotel Orologio, centre of Bologna:
Me happier with a gelato and after finding La Feltrinelli (the italian bookstore – kinda like Borders) and with the next book in the series that I’ve been reading:
And so, tomorrow, we’ll be checking out 2 days early, skipping the visit to the rest of the region Emilia-Romagno, and heading to the beach at Sperlonga, south of Rome, where Michael’s family live. I just want to sit on the beach, read my book and eat Spagetti Marinara every night.