Monday, June 7, 2010
Parma, Proscuitto and Parmegiano!
So, today I woke early and caught the train to Parma.
What is so outstanding about Italy (maybe all of Europe) is the proximity of the train stations to the great parts of town. It's not like you have to figure out "how" to get to the train station. They are always walking distance away.
And so, walked to the train station, purchased my ticket for 5.8 euros to Parma and I would be there in 1 hour. I had only 2 goals: 1) to have lunch there (famous for prosciutto and parmigiana reggiano; and 2) ideally to take a tour of one of the dairies that makes the cheese. By the way, this cheese has been made here for 700 years and it's made with the skimmed "evening" milk and the full cream for the "morning", then cultured, heated and then aged for 2 years Now that is a process.
Upon arriving, with my handy 3 pages about Parma, ripped from my 2004 Lonely Planet guide, I set out for the Tourist Information to 1st organize my tour of how one makes the cheese.
Well, this is the 1st time my 2004 guide failed me. The farmers (?) are no longer offering the tours as they were hugely interrupting the work and so no tour today. Slightly disappointed. Oh well, I'll just have to eat the stuff.
Did my usual walk everywhere without knowing where I was going, took a few photos as it was a bit cloudy today (but still warm) and found my way to the Piazza Garibaldi to dine for lunch.
My needs were simple and sure enough I found a cafe with a salad of rustica prosciutto, mozzarella, pomedoro, parmigiana. This of course came with bread. What more can a girl want.
It's true that this prosciutto really does melt in one's mouth. I love this stuff. I'll be on a mission when I return to Santa Fe to try to find some of this imported.
It was a full day in Parma; I liked the town. Smaller than Bologna and everyone is on a bicycle. Pretty cool. But, I have to say, thus far Bologna is my favorite. It's just so beautiful and busy and full of live and character. Tomorrow I will check out some language schools and hope they meet my expectation.
All and all it was a simple day. Returned to Bologna around 4pm and hung out in my room for a bit...showered, organized, etc.
Went back out around 6:30p and decided on having a "couple" (yes, a couple) of beers. This is unheard of in my world! But, the moment seized me and there I was sitting in an outdoor cafe, feeling pretty hot in my summer skirt and top (I think I'm tanned too??) and wanting some attention but really didn't get any except from the pigeons. Oh well! Two beers later and a bowl full of salty potato chips (I've really been craving salt), I headed home (I'm actually in an apartment).
My long time friend, Suzanne, who is British living in London, she and I have a date on Skype tonight and so I wanted to get back to my place to make that call.
On the the way, I stopped at reception and ordered a pot of tea for my room. I like this place. If you ever come to Bologna, I highly recommend Hotel Paradise. Bologna books up quite fast and so I've had to change rooms a few times but the people are really friendly and incredibly accommodating and don't forget, they serve hard-boiled eggs for breakfast!
Today was also a shopping day. i felt a sense of freedom since I saved some money in Sicily that I could spend some in Bologna! The real craze here are sandles that are actually boots; they're wild. Not for me but I think I may go "half-way" and purchase a modest (for Italy that is) pair of Gladiator sandles....there's so many to choose from and I'd like to get something that clearly is not from the U.S. Also picked up a cute dress and some short sexy skirts....I need a new wardrobe now that I'm "single"!
Mostly, haven't really spent much beyond hotel, trains and food....tomorrow may be different though with my new buddies coming to Bologna for Tango!
That's all for now, will chat domani!