It’s Wednesday, 15th of January 2020.
I arrived to Bucharest, which I call home for some time, only ten days ago, but I already feel inevitably need go for a holidays. This is how travelers have it. However, I am quite sick and since i do not have any spare energy, I try to figure out everything in advance, so I do not waste it unnecessarily.
I compose few outfits in my mind while using weather forecast application, just in case. Unfortunately, I have two, lets say, quite serious but not insoluble problems:
- I don’t have any backpack, because I didn‘t like any enough to buy it. Its been second year, when i am using Nikas one.
- I’m on medical leave until the end of the week… In my mind pops up aproximately 15 possible realistic scenarios, where I either lie at work or I am being questioned by a Romanian social workers. I don’t like any of them, so I decide sincerely write to my manager, asking what could be overlooked and how it could be solved.
At the end, the human factor wins over the formalities and I am falling asleep with a clear conscience, three outfits and the decision to go buy the cheapest backpack I could find in Bucharest tomorrow.
Representatively packed, I am arriving to the airport to my little oasis, Mastercard lounge. Here I spend most of my pre-flight minutes. This time I have zero appetite for free booze or snacks, wifi doesn’t work, so I am forced to read the book I received from Santa Claus (I should probably start promoting it because its so good I refer to it in almost every conversation I have since I opened it for the first time.) Time flies due to interesting book… with Nika we used to say that the book will come to your life at the right time when you need it the most. Like the destination. And mine for today is Bologna.
You’ve certainly seen the movie Eat, Pray, Love where the main character doesn’t know what to do with her life, so she decides to leave her husband, work, and head to Naples, where she overeats until she is happy, while learning Italian. With a small hope, I believe Bologna will have the same effect on me.
The plane is always a miraculous teleport in which all problems, fears and worries disappear during the flight. Where with increasing altitude every bad thought leaves my mind and with the descent there comes excitement, happiness and a bit of sickness. I am landing in Bologna as a new person. I suddenly feel the energy I haven’t had before. My appetite is coming back too, and I barely passed the airport gate. I’m on my way to meet Alex, my former roommate. I feel even more excited and can‘t wait to hug him. We lived together in Bucharest for a year. Last three months of Alex stay were pretty intense, in terms of our frendship that is why we got really connected.
He decides to walk to meet me, because he can’t wait as well. Once we meet my energy is multiplied and the disease, at this point, disappears completely. Alex carefully asks what I would like to do because he thinks I don’t feel fit enough to go sightseen Bologna at night. However, I am very optimistic so we are leaving our hotel room, having conversation about what news we have, what is going on in our old apartment. A few minutes later I have the best pizza in my life, for 2 €. Bologna at night is beautiful. I can’t wait to see it tomorrow after waking up.
Biorytmus of me and Nika is related to the Sun when traveling. We call it “chickens” because we get up early with the sunrise and we usually get into the bed shortly after sunset. Just like chickens. (we received this nick name on one of our trips and we kept it). The sun is shining and the sky is marvelous blue. The forecast says it should rain, but everything seems to be perfect today. We’re going to have a breakfast, where Alex leaves and another friend who i met in Bucharest, comes. Alex has to do some school stuff and that’s why Vince becomes my guide.
He is the best I could get. He tells me interesting stories, shows secret streets, takes to the most beautiful places, recommends the best restaurants. We arrive at Piazza Maggiore, the sun is high and all of a sudden i have urge to cry. Tears are coming slowly to my eyes. I feel warmth, gratitude and great love. It happens almost every time I travel. When a huge wave of energy comes to me, nothing else exists, only me and the diversity of the world I discover at that moment. I remember exactly when I experienced it for the very first time and since then I feel it on almost every trip – with Niki we call it „I will explode from happiness“. Vince looks at me and I think he must be surprised why I’m crying in the middle of the square on the noon. But he hugs me and says he understands. Later I find out that Vince is much more conscious than I thought, and I am even more grateful to be able to meet such people in my life.
The lunch time has come, Alex comes back while Vince leaves, and we head to Sfloglie, Bologna’s trattoria, where they make pasta by themselves. Bologna is traditional for its tortelinnis, so the choice is clear. Before I get a tortelinni with sage on my table, I get a lesson about the difference between trattoria and ristorante. We finish the day with a tasting of Montenegro, Bolonge liqueur, to at least enjoy a little night life in the student part of Bologna. We go to bed before midnight, because the alarm clock is set up for 6:30, as we like it with Nika.
Alex has today way more energy than me, and it takes me a while to wake up. We go to the bus stop while its still dark and its raining. But it does not matter, because Bologna has Portici everywhere. The vaults above every street. They protect us from the rain and we hump with our eyes not really open to Flixbus, in the direction of Florence. We both need a nap and so we pause for a moment. With the awakening I get a new dose of excitement. I can’t stop smiling at the gray sky from behind the bus window. I wake Alex up and thank him with the biggest smile, for everything.
Florence is shady and full of tourists. Maybe that’s why it doesn’t leave the most beautiful impression. It is really interesting what makes us like the place / city or not. Florence became a stop I have ticked from the list and that is it. We’re going back to Bologna to meet Alex’s friends. The program for tonight includes the best chocolate cake, poker videos and sleep before the last day.
The morning is beautiful and we are changing our plan to go to Saint Luca, a small church on the outskirts of Bologna, with the longest Poritici in the world. It would take us about an hour to walk and given our “mileage” kilometers from the previous days, we decide that we had enough of walking. We have seen enough churches here as well. Alex cooks lunch for a few people while I drink tea and talk with his friends. In a short while, Alex is leaving us and I am going out to get some of the Sunday atmosphere of the Bologna streets alone. The main road is closed to allow people to walk freely in the center and thus create a large pedestrian zone. I haven’t felt so secure alone in a while. In Bologna you can feel the calmness, tranquility and peace. It is not a typical Italian city where chaos reigns, people shout and cars honk. After a few hours, I return to Vincenzos, to spend my last hours in Bologna with him. Vince is a really great host who gives me more attention than I have received at home in the last period. Even though his room is cold, I fall asleep peacefully, because I know there are some people who truly cares about me. Wherever they are in the world.
At 4am, Vince calls me a cab. I am going back to reality with a whole new energy for 2020.
Bologna did not only gave me appetite for food but also for life.
Dedicated to Alex