Wow, how is it possible that I am heading home (where is home???). For me, this time doesn't seem like a month, don't know about you? Although looking over my posts, it certainly has been full and varied. As I've said before, now it's time to marinate this past month with my new present. I expect it to be quite a delicious merge.
I'm absolutely in love with Bologna! It's got the right balance of everything. Size seems manageable; population is mature, diverse, friendly, and stylish; traffic doesn't seem to really exist????; piazza's galore; colorful architecture at every glimpse....and the food, oh my! I checked out a language school here and already have my vision of returning each year for a 2-3 week course incorporating culture, art and cooking with language.
As enjoyable as this city had been upon arrival and easy to get about, hang out, people watch, etc., the real highlight was when Maria, Shastro and Mark showed up.
Shastro, Maria and I continued to maintain our somewhat telepathic relationship carried over from our fight from Alb to DC. I knew they were arriving yesterday but not sure about the time. Right when I requested that my hotel "turn on my telephone" (around 11am) and was about to call their B&B, my telephone rang with Shastro's voice singing, "we're here!". They knew not where they were and so a major landmark is the stunning an towering bronze statute of Neptune in Piazza Maggiore and so we planned to meet there in 30 minutes.
With only a 5-7 minute walk for me, I headed out and while standing at the traffic light waiting for the little red walking man to turn green, I turn to my right and Shastro is standing right beside me! Of course, we three made a personal scene. It was lovely; got to meet Mark at that time (a friend of theirs from Maui) and we four grew in our friendship and familiarity in Bologna over the next 24 hours.
Fortunately, we were all hungry and what better way to reacquaint ourselves than over the infamous Ragu Bolognese ("Donna, Maria has a recipe of this that actually calls for cooking the meat in milk...isn't' that wild?").
In this great city, with perfect weather and great joy we ate, talked, giggled, hugged, kissed, photographed, gossiped, toured, shopped, and gelatoed (a new word!)for hours.
We had a big night planned with a 10:30pm Milonga Tango Dance out in the suburbs of Bologna, so we headed back for an attempted 1-2 hour nap.
Earlier, we had scouted and scoped out a recommended restaurant and so by 8pm we were sitting down again ready to feast on our dinner.
With our bellies full of good bread, wine, pasta, pork, steak, etc., we walked a bit to digest before getting in Shastro's car (they drove from Venice; only 1 hour) and while Mark and I were chatting away in the back seat, Shastro and Maria did a honorable job in navigating the roads and roundabouts in getting us to this Milonga event. I "dressed" for the event and knew I would not dance but be a contented spectator. Mark offered much dialogue around the styles and ideals of this dance and so I continue to be intrigued and will check it out when I get home to Santa Fe.
It was quite warm in Bologna; however, I thought my slinky tank dress might be too cool by late evening and so I visited a store on my way to meet the gang and purchased a well-used sarong for the night. I would have been miserable as this dance was outdoors and by 11p, midnight, it got cool. Without the dance to warm me, I sat gratefully contented wrapped in my sarong during the evening.
As mentioned, this was an outdoor event in the middle of a park right next to a gelato store with a round, marble dance floor and a DJ with large lights and speakers. Shastro knew the DJ and so that brought good seats to watch the evening's dancers. Soon, Shastro and Maria got up and tried it out and Mark very courageously went to try to find a female who looked available (it did seem to be a couples event and not so much an open dance). Watching my friends Tango under the Bologna sky was a treat.
By 1pm, we decided to return back to town and call it a night.
Back in bed by 2pm, I suspected an early rise with no much sleep which was okay as now I was beginning to emotionally prepare for my return home with thoughts of organizing when to leave Bologna, getting to Rome hotel, leaving Rome hotel, etc. It's all quite easy but one does need to have a little plan.
As suspected, I was awake around 7am and started to get organized as I had to vacate my room by 11am. Went down stairs by 9am for my last breakfast at Hotel Paradise of my "usual" 2 hard boiled eggs; 1 cappuccino and 1 americano.
My phone rang around 10 and Maria and I met for some girl time before Shastro and Mark met us a bit later. After checking the train schedule and reconfirmed that there was a train basically every hour from Bologna to Rome (it's about a 2 hour ride), it was easy to decide to leave whenever I was ready. Spending more time in Bologna with my friends was more appealing than returning to Rome earlier than necessary.
And so Maria and I have a lovely morning, shopping, talking and finding more enjoyable places for future visits. Shastro and Mark eventually met us and we continued to enjoy the company and city having lunch at a favorite spot "Eataly" which is a modern idea in a four story old space. It is a book store and restaurant within a fabulous space of light with Italian products galore! This place would be a major hangout over time.
With our bellies full and our shopping complete, our walk continues to expose new shops and a sweet gelatoria with a colorful display of ice cream popsicles. Of course, the pistacchio spoke to me and it was glorious. I ate this with gusto as I knew it would be my last really good gelato for a long time!
We naturally strolled toward my hotel so I could pick up my luggage and make my way to the train station. Our parting was loving with hugs and kisses and promises of future rendezvous whether in Italy, New Mexico or Maui -- I so trust this will happen.
I was now ready.
The hotel staff was lovely and so even leaving them was bitter sweet; decided on a taxi as it was quite warm and although my luggage is smaller, it's still cumbersome and so I hoped into a air conditioned taxi, bought my ticket to Rome for 58 euros and waited only about 30 minutes for the train. It was now about 3:45pm and so arrived after a comfortable, cool train ride around 5:45p and now know the Rome train station so well, I just zipped through the crowds to find the exit that makes my trek to Hotel Katty the smoothest and easiest.
Mama Katty welcomed me back and already had my "gorilla" in my room waiting for me. Paid my last hotel bill, ordered my taxi and after a much needed shower and a review of of my remaining euros, decided to go to my favorite restaurant for dinner (although I really didn't need to eat again! but I believe food is the best way for me to spend my remaining euros!
After a gratifying meal of proscuitto, salad, good wine and bread, I returned to my hotel room and proceeded to get ready for my early morning departure.
I slept best in Sicily and Bologna as my rooms were really nice. As nice and clean as my room was in Rome, the trick is to not have a room on the registration floor (didn't have a choice this time) as it's a bit noisy and Rome, in general, seems noisier. So sleep was restless but no matter, woke early, got bags together and had at least 30 minutes at my morning cafe for my usual chocolate croissant, capuccino and cafe americano.
My taxi driver, Dino, was already at the hotel and so I got my bags and with his help, me and my bags got stuffed into his tiny car while we drove to the Rome airport.
This part of travel is never really that much fun. Airports are confusing and Rome in particular seems to have a lot of ups and downs and around corners and back around and going here and going there. Hardly sensible but, one goes with the flow. I just wanted to get to the point where I could check in my two bags.
You may recall upon leaving ALB, I had to pay $200.00 because of my overweight luggage and so my return was with the expectation that I would only pay $35 for my 2nd baggage. Sure enough, I did accompish this with a little bit of transfer (5 pounds) of stuff from the gorilla to my other smaller suitcase, but it all worked out!
Got to the Rome airport early, had another coffee and began to figure out how many hours it will take me to arrive in Albuquerque.
My Rome to DC flight was 9.5 hours, had a scheduled 4 hour layover in DC to then fly to ALB for another 4 hours, so right there we've got 17.5 hours of travel.
With my early rise at 6am added to my awake hours and my DC layover extended to 6 hours total (fight delay), I arrived in ALB last night having been awake (if one can call it that) for a total of 25 hours!
I was out of it.
But, hung in there, arrived in ALB around 11pm last night, caught my shuttle to hotel, checked in, went to room and stopped down at the bar for a big glass of milk!
Watched a bit of TV and slept fairly well until 5am this morning. Suspect this jet lag will take about a week with me creeping closer and closer to my Santa Fe time reality.
This morning, after a traditional american breakfast of bacon and eggs, I'll catch the Sandia shuttle up to Santa Fe where my buddy Kathrynn will pick me up.
Heard over the weekend that my casita won't be ready until around 4pm, which is not fun, but oh well and am exciting about "landing" there early evening.
Today, is day one is another new adventure. My being single, living on my own again with Michael and I gracefully finding our new relationship while we live in the same community.
Wish me luck everyone!
Don't know where I'm headed but loving the journey so far.
P.S. I don't think this is the end of this blog.....