Friday, October 13, 2017

Italia 2017 - Bologna First Full Day - Trial by Guide Communication

Today was a day of wandering the inner city of Bologna. For those who don't know it, Bologna has three nicknames. It is called Bologna the Learned because it has the oldest continuing university in the Western world. It is called Bologna the Fat because of its culinary traditions and the agricultural bounty of the surrounding area. And it is called Bologna the Red because of its red terra cotta roofs and its left-leaning city council. The university continues to be an important part of life here.

We started the day by heading out to the railway station. Bologna has an exceedingly attractive feature as far as Wife and I are's flat! Walking is really easy. The distance to the station is about 30 minutes. We have a day trip planned for Friday to Parma (another gastronomic gem) and we have other rail trips out of this station so we wanted to check it out. Then we headed toward a part of the city that shows some of the old canals. In the Middle Ages, the city had canals just like Venice but in the late Middle Ages they were covered over.

We had lunch at a well reviewed place and after three hours on our feet we went back to our apartment to take a nap. It's only been our first full day since the air voyage. We had arranged a walking tour of the central city for late in the afternoon. Unfortunately this was one of those lower cost, large group tours that makes use of an electronic communication device for the guide to speak to the group. This should have been a red flag but we didn't pick it out when making the reservation. The ear buds they use on these things are always too large for our ears. Plus which my device completely stopped functioning after only about 40 minutes into the 2.5 hour tour. All it would do is give a high pitched feedback noise. I tried to just listen without the device but the guide spoke softly (as she assumed we could all hear her) and their was tons of background noise. I decided to bail and let Wife continue. I listened to some organ music at the church where I had bailed - evidently the oldest pipe organ (15th century) that is still functional. Then I went around and took pictures practicing some of the things I learned from our Asian photo workshops.

Wife and I met up back at the Piazza Maggiore - THE main square of town and enjoyed our first Aperol Spritz of the trip before going back to the apartment and collapsing.

Il Foto

Stuff found on our walk to the train station
The following was not in any of the guidebooks we looked at but which caught our eye

Remnants of the old city wall (we think)

There are certain things that I see during our travels that just bring out the very off color humor in me.
I could have a field day coming up with captions for this one but I think I will just let it speak on its own merits along with the question, "What was the sculptor thinking?"
Just a building...not sure what
Ah but this is a theater!

Did you know that Bologna has canals just like Venice and Brugges? 
They were built in the Middle Ages to provide water power to industry and access for river boat trade. Most are now covered over.

The Piazza Maggiore 
This is THE central spot of's historical core and still the heart of the city.
Just at the entrance to the Piazza (as it is simply called) is the famous Neptune Statue
I was amazed at the starkly simple geometric lines of this work. Not at all what I expected in Italian public art
Oh but wait!
Well what do you know
It's under restoration
Gee that NEVER happens on one of our trips does it.
Does the Magical Unicorn Pony God of Travel have some cousin 
The Sorceress Hedgehog Goddess of Restoration? 

Anyway, back to the Piazza
Another interesting feature of Bolognese architecture is the use of facades. Many buildings are made of one type of material but have more decorative facades. 
The Basilica of San Petronio demonstrates this

Here are a number of shots of the Palazzo D'Accursio which was the historical town hall until 2008

Self-directed photo workshop
After I bailed from the walking tour that was killing my ears, I decided to wander the old town area and see if I could make use of some of the techniques and ideas I'd learned on recent trips.

Spent some time looking for paparazzi shots in front of cool backgrounds

And I found a busy intersection where I could rest my camera against a sign to keep it steady to practice the technique of the a still subject with a moving background

And to finish off...nothing artistic at all
Just our first Aperol Spritz of the trip
And one exhausted Wife


alexis said...

Exhausted but happy! The Sorceress Hedgehog Goddess of Restoration - HAH

Renee Michelle Goertzen said...

I wouldn't be a fan of a headphone audio tour either, although I've never encountered them before. It's good to see the ole Aperol Spritz making an appearance.