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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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September 09, 2009

My Sad Story About Bologna

To all my long-suffering friends and family who have listened patiently through all my months of planning and stewing over this trip, you all know this story so you don't really need to read it.   But I find posting a new chapter now and then helps me keep my sanity while I wait for this trip to finally happen!

My original plan for my trip to Italy was to stay in Florence for a week (with side trips to various villages) and then at a working farm in Tuscany for a week.  But the more I read about the food in the different areas of Italy, the more I began to think Florence and Tuscany might not hit my Italian food spot quite as well as Emilia Romagna - the region where Bologna is located -.  I mean, Tuscans don't put salt in their bread dough!   So I started searching for a budget (read "cheap") apartment in Bologna and was getting a little discouraged - beginning to think maybe the Bolognese didn't know about "budget".  But then one day I stumbled across...

 IL COVO (The Den)

From the description given on whatever site I found the link, I was intrigued and after visiting the owner's website, I was in love!  Here are the most interesting photos:

Here we have the living area looking into the dining area.  Wait...could that be a pinball machine in the corner???   And, my goodness, look at all the artwork on the walls, the various bits of "stuff" here and there...  is this the apartment or someone's home?
Oh, my gosh! It is a pinball machine!!  And check out the light fixture and the what, binoculars?, hanging on the wall.  And then came the crowning glory of this little home away from home...

THE KITCHEN!!  If any of you have looked at actual apartments for rent in Italy, you've probably found some nice ones, but I doubt if they went very far beyond the basic needs.  But look at this... I'm not sure, but I think that may even be a meat slicer over on the left (for all the salames, prosciutto, etc., etc.) And who knows what other treasures await? It's obvious this kitchen was put together by a man who loves to cook.  And he mentioned on his website that he would be happy to guide his "renters" to the best places to buy food, etc. 

I started what became a delightful correspondence with the owner and his daughter who told me that she and her husband stay here when they come to Italy for a visit; and that when her dad has out-of-town friends visiting, he puts them up here and comes over and cooks for them.

Well, based on all of this wonderfulness and the extremely reasonable price listed I was hooked; and ended up reserving it for 6 nights. I couldn't wait to get there and investigate everything. I told my daughter I could probably spend a half day just going through everything. And, on the practical side, it had what looked like a brand new bathroom with a washing machine in it. Needless to say, of the three places I reserved, I was most excited about this one.

However, it was not to be.  Around mid- to late July I received an e-mail explaining that the owner was ill, had had surgery and would have to cancel the reservation.  Needless to say, I tried to persuade him that I would do everything I could to make my stay as little problem for him as possible, but to no avail.  I was so very disappointed and saddened too that the owner and his family are now facing a lengthy recuperation period.  But, one thing I'm sure of, if I go back to Italy, I will surely contact him to see if he is once again renting his delightful "den".


Diane Adams said...

Bummer! It looks like it would have been a really nice place to stay for a few days. Hope you are able to find something else.
Di Adams(AZ)

Mary Lynne said...

I did find another place (finally!) but just for 3 nights and I'm a little uneasy about it...I get the feeling it might be basically next door to the train station and I'm not real sure if I'll have my own bathroom! Oh, well, I'm taking earplugs (for possible train noise - not as a solution to the bathroom issue! LOL!)

Anonymous said...

That is truly a heartbreaking story.Where did you find the apartment in the first place? It is difficult to find rentals in Bologna. My husband and I visited the city for 10 days several years ago. We wound up staying in a hotel which is unusual for us. No matter where you stay, you will love the city. It is not referred to as "Bologna the Fat" for no reason!

Mary Lynne said...

Yep, my little heart was broken for a while, that's for sure! And I really can't remember how I came across it - I've tried to think back but that never works too well for me. :) P.S. - Hi to a friend of my sister!

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