Bozen / Bologna July 2009

Day One — Regensburg to Bozen

We took an early, early train to Munich: 7:30 a.m. departure from Munich to Bozen, arrival in Bozen four hours later. At least we had an easy walk to Hotel Feichter, featuring

  • nice, friendly, helpful staff
  • clean, pleasant, comfortable rooms, if a bit cramped
  • good location just through a passage from Waltherplatz

Then we took the Rittner Seilbahn up to Oberbozen (Soprabolzano) to check out the Hoodoos (Erdpyramide) after a 20-30 minute hike on marked trails from the top of the gondola route. The weather was kind of eerie, just barely avoiding the rain.

We came back down and ate at the Speckstube for an early dinner and it seemed like they were unprepared. It took FOREVER for the food to arrive. When it did finally arrive, it was just OK. NOT worth the wait.

Day Two — Bozen to Bologna

We checked out of the hotel after breafasting there and left our bags in the luggage room at Hotel Feichter. We walked outside of town into the vineyards along a pedestrian path up to Castel di Roncolo (Schloß Runkelstein) – known as “the illustrated castle” for its many secular frescoes. As a bonus there was an exhibit devoted to Tiroler Tracht (traditional clothing from the region). We walked back down into town and got lunch at Hopfen & Co. – very nice dunkles to be had there. Marched over to the train station right on time onto to find our train had been cancelled due to an Italian train workers’ strike. So we played Rummikub for a few hours outside the train station on the steps of a government building near some flatulent homeless/drunk guy. We took another train four hours later instead, but that, with delays along the way, put us into Bologna Centrale after 01:00 the next day. We got reservations for that rebooked ticket, but they weren’t valid until Verona and there was some stress about the seats we’d chosen for the meantime. It was CROWDED, probably everyone else who’d wanted the 16:31 to Bologna Centrale also chose to take the late one, rather than wait until the next day. Fortunately, our hotel had 24-hour reception and dragging our luggage through the streets of downtown Bologna at a wee hour was not a problem. Our hand-held GPS didn’t steer us wrong and the airconditioned (and beatifully decorated) hotel room was a very welcome change of scenery.

Slideshow from Bozen:

Day Three (“My Bologna has a first name, it’s ‘M-O-R-T-A'”)

[c76phickr id=3725302295 float=right] We got moving a little slower than originally planned (not really a surprise, given our arrival time) and had a leisurely breakfast. We decided to take a hop-on hop-off bus tour of the city with audio guide. But the sound quality was lacking and we didn’t feel much like moving under our own power yet, so we stayed on the bus for a whole circuit to gather inspiration. There was a lot to be gathered. We wandered down the Strada Maggiore and back.

Dinner at that little place we stumbled upon that couldn’t give me the primo piatto from the daily specials menu, so instead I had homemade pasta with porcini and truffle oil. YUM. The waiter was friendly and forgiving of our lousy Italian. Figured out about the “coperto” charge of 2€ a head if you don’t order antipasti, primi, and secondi. Hmph. Didn’t like that too much, even though everything else was good.

Dessert was gelato on the Piazza Nettuno in front of a screen commemorating 100 years of Bolognese soccer.

Day Four (“My Bologna has a second name, it’s ‘D-E-L-L-A'”)

Got up later than planned…again. Wandered down the Via Santo Stefano toward a park at Southern edge of the city and decided to come back and get lunch, keeping an eye on where the grocery and wine stores were to prepare for the following day’s train journey home to Regensburg. Lunch happened at nearly the same spot as yesterday, somewhere outside near the Piazza Maggiore. It wasn’t as good as the first place and definitely more expensive. But the bologna sandwich I had (Mortadella) was pretty good. I can see why that became so widespread.

Dinner was at a place called Ristorante Nicola’s Pizzeria and we arrived just in time to snap up one of the few remaining tables for four. Just after we got there, it was mobbed with pizza-eaters. Unfortunately, we didn’t see all the pizza traffic coming out of the kitchen before we ordered. But still, it was a nice meal, and not as expensive as I’d feared, either. We apparently finally managed to break out of the touristy restaurant area — seemed like all the rest of the patrons were locals (or at least Italians).

Day Five (“Ciao, Bella!”)

Woke up on time, checked out of our hotel, and hit the neighborhood grocery stores for some supplies for the train trip back (about 9 hours, all told, from 11:17 departure in Bologna until we got back to Regensburg) and some wines we knew we’d miss at home.

We got to the train station right on time, but our train didn’t. It was delayed 15 minutes. This was not critical, since we had no Umstiege planned between Bologna Centrale and Munich, and reservations for the whole trip. But when we got on the proper car after the train finally arrived, chaos ensued as the passengers all separately discovered that the car contained no numbered seats. Or rather, apparently two compartments in the middle of the car with seats in the 80s and 70s. Surprisingly, only one old lady grumped at us about her reservation (for some seats in the 50s) but couldn’t prove we were in the wrong spot. So we just resolved, together with our cabin mates, to stay put and enjoyed the scenery.

Bologna Slideshow:

We’ve been back in Regensburg for two days now, recovering from the long travel day and gearing up for a week in Provence. Stay tuned!