Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Parma, Modena, and Bologna

This was a nice little weekend. We left early Saturday morning in the new Ford C-Max. This car will make for much nicer weekend trips! Wider back seat, more leg room, bigger trunk area, better mileage, and cheaper diesel fuel. This time Cynthia was in town for work so she came along on the trip.

We drove up to Parma first to walk around and have lunch. We walked the main street and there were many little food shops and a market in full swing (looked mostly like clothes and shoes). We walked far enough and found the grassy area. We figured we would eat a picnic style lunch with some food from some of the bars across the street. We had pizza, pastries, and a few other random things. It was pretty good. After lunch we started our walking tour of the town. Unfortunately, most churches and sites had closed for siesta (usually doesn't happen) so we have only outside pictures of most places. We ventured over to the large park across the river before stopping in at a couple stores for gelato and cheese. It is Parma!

Pictures from Parma

We then drove about half an hour to Modena, hoping that Nolan would get a quick nap. Of course he didn't fall asleep until we were almost there, but he is a trooper and the quick nap was good enough. We didn't want to spend too much time here as we still had to drive to Bologna to get checked in for the night. We walked down the main street and checked out some little shops and were once again disappointed by a closed tower. We walked around the square, took some photos and then realized we could go in the church! This was a nice, big one made of brick. We walked around for quite a while then figured we should get a move on. Of course on our way to the car we stopped in and bought some balsamic vinegar!

Pictures from Modena

We drove our 40 minutes to Bologna so we could get checked in, sit for a few minutes, then find some dinner. The Zanhotel Europa is a pretty good deal! Deeply discounted on the web, a decent breakfast, and pretty nice rooms! We were recommended to eat at Ristorante Bolognese. While we got a pretty good taste of local food here, their desserts were not good. At this point we realized the US v Ghana game had just started, so we got back to the hotel to relax and watch some soccer.

The next morning we walked to the city center and checked out the sites. We wanted to get them in before lunch/siesta. This town is known for it's two towers, both of which are leaning. We climbed the large tower (Asinelli) as the smaller one is under construction. This was quite a hike with a little guy on my back! But the view was great and I attempted some panoramic shots. From there we went back to the piazza to check out the church and were delighted to see such a wonderful fountain outside! (Check out the pictures) The church was in service but we were allowed to stand in the back. It was pretty nice to witness part of the service, although it seemed pretty much like a catholic service in the states. We walked the streets for a while until lunch. I saw a sign for Trattoria Pizzeria La Mela, which means pizza but we can sit down inside. The pizzas were decent and there was a wide selection. After this the heat picked up outside, and everything closed, so we got on the road back home (with a stop at Ikea in Florence, of course)!

Pictures from Bologna

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