So relaxed, sitting here in a slightly sticky black plastic chairs outside the gelateria, carved into one of Bologna’s long orange and red colored porticoes.
If the city had a color, it would be red. If it had a scent, it would be pancetta. Long, hot days, orange sunsets and students throwing parties with red wine, crowded into terra cotta corridors or pink-brick squares.
The best part of this vacation is the relaxation. Walking slowly, waking up late, no cooking or cleaning or working or hurrying – just walking and enjoying.
The other good part is the food and the shopping. I love watching what people buy at the grocery store. I think if my career as a journalist doesn’t work out, I might get a job as one of those check-out ladies at the supermarket. Shopping carts in America aren’t very interesting – it’s all giant cereal boxes and bags of chips. Russia is more intriguing – little old ladies with serious expressions and purses full of receipts buying caviar, white baton loaves, shrink-wrapped dill, cans of liver spread and green onions.
Italy is by far the best place to spy on fellow grocery buyers – men in green pants and pink, collar-popped shirts stocking up on gorgeous crumbly cheeses, cured ham on styrofoam platters and bright red tomatoes, or tan, white-haired women with gold bracelets buying mozzarella cubes and bristly artichoke heads.
Bologna is full of specialty shops – noodle shops, sweet shops, wine shops, cheese shops, and meat shops with long legs of pink, cured, vacuum-sealed meat.
But the best part of our time in Bologna is just being together. Long quiet walks, without having to say anything, hunting down the perfect restaurant for dinner, morning Psalms at breakfast, rambling talks on park benches as all the stress exhales out, and waking up in an air conditioned hotel room with gorgeous views out the window.