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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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October 08, 2010

Tuesday - And It's a Brief One...

Tuesday was, of course, my travel day from Perugia to Bologna. I caught an 11:45 train, switched in Arezzo, and arrived in Bologna around 3:45 I think it was. Had my huge, heavy suitcase with me and I'm sure glad people are so nice - every time I started struggling to lift it on or off the trains, someone helped me - one man even carried it all the way up a flight of stairs for me and I swear it weighs at least one ton!  My goal in life is now to learn how to travel light.

So once I got here, and got myself settled in a little, I went out in search of food (having had a quite small breakfast and one small bag of M&M peanuts to eat for the day). The hungrier I get the harder time I have finding something to eat, and by the time I decided on something and took my time enjoying it, the day was over.  And I don't even really remember what it was I ate but a little later in the evening, I was walking and saw a little restaurant that looked so attractive inside that I thought "I'll just get a little glass of wine and then maybe a cup of tea".  So I did and it turns out it's a restaurant that is part of a hotel.  It was pretty much empty (I think 3 other tables had a person at them) but I asked if I could see their menu for future reference and the menu looked promising so I will probably have a meal there while I'm here.  I DID get my glass of wine and they brought me a basket of bread with it and, oh my goodness, finally I have had good bread in Italy! A nice crusty roll that tasted like bread - it's amazing what a little salt in the dough does.  And I also decided what the heck and ordered a dessert called, I think, cicolatta temptazione to go with my pot of tea.  When he brought it out, I thought "oh, shoot - that's just one of those lava cakes" but no, it wasn't.  It was sort of the same concept but taken to new and wonderful Italian heights.

And now...the place where I'm staying.  I love it and Maria, the proprietress, is so nice and friendly and, basically, just delightful. I was hopeful it would turn out this way because her website and our e-mails back and forth made me think it would be good and it is. Since I'm providing links to all these places I've been enjoying so much, here is hers: http://www.bolognanelcuore.it/eng.html.

She lives in this apartment herself and lets out two bedroom suites to travelers. And she told me that she has just purchased two small apartments in this same building and hopes to have them ready for occupancy by sometime next spring. I told her I might just decide to make Bologna a base for a future trip, staying here (because it truly is delightful) and taking day trips to various towns, cities, etc.  To illustrate just how much I like it, I'll confess that I discovered I had made a mistake in my reservations.  I reserved both this room and my room in Florence for the night of October 9.  And after discovering that and finding myself so enamored of this room, I decided to stay here on the 9th rather than in Florence!  And all of those people who know how much I love Florence know that makes this room pretty special. :)  So now, Florence is still the city I love, but this room is the room I love.

So for today's post, I'm just going to post these pictures of my room and of the breakfast I came out to my first morning here...

I love the tapestry on the wall over the bed and I love the tile floor.  Maria chose everything herself for the renovations of these rooms and she told me that when she did them, she wanted to "get the best".  She has!  For an example, the bedside light that's attached to the wall is the first time in any of my rooms, that I've had one that actually sheds light over the person in bed for reading.  Two other rooms of mine had attached wall lights down about as low as the top of the headboard, with about a 6 or 8 inch arm that just swiveled, one only swiveled to point straight out, the other swiveled toward the bed but, of course, pretty much lit the edge of the pillow!  And my place in Riomaggiore had no light anywhere near the bed.  If you wanted to read, you had to get up, walk across the room and turn off the overhead light.  So, you can see why this lighting makes me so happy.

As you can see, there's a full wardrobe in this wall unit, both doors with full-length mirrors.

And, oh my goodness, the bathroom!  It may be strange to have several pictures of my bathroom, but it is deserving of a full view.  So, this is the vanity area - note the magnifying mirror (horrible to see one's old face enlarged, but very helpful for old eyes).  And note the dispenser of liquid hand soap, the tray with little perfume sample bottles in it, the box of tissues that are actually full size tissues...but there's more...

This is the beautiful, beautiful shower!  The rainfall showerhead is adjustable up and down, the shampoo and shower gel on the shelves is provided by Maria, and I think I could live in here!

And this cabinet filled with every conceivable need - toothpaste, more lotions, gels and shampoos, first aid items, over-the-counter pain killers, and on the very top shelf  three Ace bandages!!  Fortunately, no sprained ankles like last year, but I was tickled when I saw those and thought "now, this is where I should have sprained my ankle."

And, last, but certainly not least, the breakfast.  I think it pretty much speaks for itself but I will point out that the jams are all homemade, the apple torte on the cake stand is homemade, the cart behind the table holds a mountain of fresh fruit and three kinds of cereal, and it's just so pretty, it makes me happy. :)

I realize that a lot of people probably stay in quite nice hotels when they travel, but I am a budget traveler and to come across a place this fantastic that was just a very small amount over my normal room rates has been a wonderful surprise and treat.

So, ciao, Maria e molto, molto grazie for bella camere!


rosanna said...

Hi dear, you have discovered unsalted bread in Umbria and Florence ;o)) Tuscan breda is famous for its being ....unsalty ! this helps wth their tasty disches where salt would be truly too much. Nonetheless I do not like it either. Bologna is famous for its cooking, its red bricks buildings, the covered walks and the friendliness of its inhabitants. I'm sure you'll lve it as much as I do. Rosanna

Christopher said...

WHAT a terrific travel bargain find, to get such a comfy, clean, new room (with a truly thought-of-everything design). I'm so glad it turned out so well, and wasn't false advertising from the website---I remember that website you sent me, with the black-and-white living room!
I'm curious about the built-in shelving in your bedroom (to the left of the wardrobe)---you'll have to get info on that---would make great display shelves for my glass!

Stephanie said...

Wow... the room is gorgeous! I wouldn't want to come back. It would be a nice cozy little residence.

Karen said...

Hi Mary Lynne~I'm a new follower of your blog, having been introduced to it (and you) by your sister, whom we are presently visiting. Your travelogue of Italy (and your blog itself) is absolutely wonderful! I look forward to reading/seeing more! Karen

January said...

That little place does look super charming! Wallow in the luxury of your shower while you can :)

Hi! said...

Hi Karen, Thanks for joining my incredibly patient group of followers. You must have a lot of stamina! :) I don't know that you'll see this but when folks send a comment to be published their e-mail address isn't included. Maybe Virginia will see it and tell you I said "welcome". :)

Thanks for your very nice remarks also...

Christopher said...

...teehee... just noticed I can just barely spot your reflection (red sweater!) in the tea kettle on the breakfast table :)

jfalls said...

Wow! This place is amazing! The bathroom is incredible - a far cry from the shower curtain debacle of last year! And that breakfast looks fantastic! I told you those magnifying mirrors are awesome/troublesome at the same time. :) Look forward to the next post!

Love ya,

Paolo and Maria Elena said...

Hi Mary
We are right behind you - headed to Bologna in Apr! Would like to stay at the same place you did. Sounds nice but no idea of cost. Can you give us a hint of cost per night? Am I right, she only has 2 rooms to let? Also, any tips on were to eat? Your photos are great! We enjoy Italy immensely and also write of our adventures. Visit us at ....

Mary Lynne said...

Hi Paolo and Maria Elena! Don't know how you came across my blog but am real happy you contacted me. I just hope you check back here for a response to your questions cause I have no e-mail address for you. If you will send me an e-mail to marylynsim@gmail.com, I'll be happy to give you the info on where I stayed in Bologna.

Mary Lynne

mac21224 said...

Mary Lynne - thanks for the info and photos of Balonga nel Cuore B&B. I am in the process of reserving a room there, after reading all of the great Trip Advisor reviews...and the piece on your blog just helped to confirm that this is a great choice! thanks!

Mary Lynne said...

Thanks so much for visiting, Mac 21224 and I know you'll enjoy your stay at Maria's delightful B&B!

Mary Lynne

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