Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Day Trips

Day Trips in Italy are the best way to get around. From Bologna, you can catch a train to virtually anywhere. My longest ride for a day trip was Milan ( 4 hours away) and we spent ten hours in the city, exploring the town. Since september, I have gone to Milan, Padua, Venice, Ferrara and Parma, to name a few.

I want to take minute and reject my chronological order of travel posts and Instead post about Parma.

Only an hour away from Bologna, it's a gorgeous small city, well known for it's theatre and heavily for it's food, especially it's proscuito. What made me simply adore it ( and would make me live there when/if I ever live in Italy again) is how unique the city is.
Venice may be the city on water, but Parma is the city on bicyles. Literally more than 85% of the citys inhabitants get around by bicycle. The roads are literally cordwded with bikes passing each other, kids racing and couples who rented bikes. Because it's a bike city, it's amazingly clean and though it has other transport utilities such as bus and car, from our 8 hours there, I wouldn't see the reason for anything other than a bike. As we were walking into the city we spotted a bike rental shop, that only charged .70c per hour. At the end of the day ( we had rented the bikes at 11 and returned them at 4) we only paid 3.50 Euros for the bikes the whole day.
We spent our time biking around the aptly named John. F. Kennedy park, and took photos while on the bike. Then around a town that can boast to be more bike conscious and environmentally friendly than even Vancouver. The heaviest traffic here was the bikes, not the cars.
We visited the church, found eclectic cheese shops, and spent a wonderful day together.


I will always remember Padova fondly, perhaps because it's one of the first places I went alone. I was content to read by the fountain, to spend 40E on an amazing purse from Carpisa, to have Gelato and wander the markets in the mild fog by myself. I fell in love with Padova and it's a shame I never had the chance to return. There's a memory of being in the sun while walking through the market, purchasing a Romance novel for one Euro, simply because I found it hilarious. ( I've yet to read it, 3 years later). I don't remember the book I was reading on the fountain steps, the bag is now tattered and ripping, but I still remember the feeling of that city. 

If I have the chance, I will take a full day, a full novel to describe the mystery and wonder of Padua. How it was a day that I needed, a day filled with being completely and utterly content to wander, to get lost, and to be completely in the moment. Never thinking, do I fit in here? Do I need to be here? Never t all questioning the existential need to be in one place instead of another. Because at that time, and on that day, Padua was exactly what I needed. 

I will describe Venice and Ferrara, and Ravenna soon. Then I will finally chronicle my amazing week in Roma ( and day in Napoli) and perhaps start to get into the description of why Italy is so revered and beloved by everyone who sets foot there. Though, not some Italians of course. ( O quasi tutti)