Ancora una volta

So... let's think back to May 2014... what in the world was Lia doing then? My memory is starting to fail me... but oh wait, I think I recall a quick week and a half cram sesh between Greece and my parents deciding they were changing their California plans to return to Bologna, cause heck, Why not?

Allora, cram cram cram I did! I returned from Greece with two full weeks left of classes before the period of exams would begin. My first exam for my last master career appello would be Sistemi Internazionali Comparati, taught by Panebianco. The exam was held on May 5th, technically the last day of class where he allowed frequentanti to take his written exam. My other two exams would follow occurring in the first real week of appelli, which would start May 15th. Since my favorite class of the semester was Sistemi Internazionali with Panebianco I was very concerned for my outcome at the exam. He taught by far the most interesting class and the theories on total war, offensive realism, realist theory, balance of power, institutionalism, constitutionalism, and I can go on... were by far the most attention capturing topics I had read thus far in my Unibo career. One of our assigned books, John J. Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (New York: Norton, 2001), was so interesting I couldn't wait to come home to my little balcony at Via Solferino, whip out my chair, my little blue table and my book to dive deeper into Measheimers realist theories throughout the history of the major world wars since the late 1700s. In addition to enjoying what I was learning, Panebianco also had a reputation of being a hard ass when it came to grading exams, so I was going to learn his stuff and learn it good. But, my parents and a friend from college were also planning to visit during prime study time, so time management was KEY! During the day I studied my but off, I focused the majority of my time on Panebianco's material, but I also was concurrently writing a 20 page paper for my United States in the Contemporary World class that I wanted to do well on purely because it would be embarrassing if the American girl did poorly on an exam focused on the United States. So those Union time management skills kicked in during the weeks that unfolded from the day I returned from Greece until the day of my last exam on May 21st. While my parents and my Union classmate Jenna visited the lovely BO, I studied during the day and spent time with both guests at night.

My mom arrived in Bologna alone two days before my dad, Mom stayed with me in the apartment until my dad arrived Monday afternoon. Prior to his arrival, mom and I made sure to enjoy a couple of cappuccinos and even try some new restaurants that were deemed worthy due to tripadvisor reviews and fellow bolognese bloggers. Naturally the first thing we did when she arrived was head straight toward the quadrilatero to check out the new Mercato di Mezzo, and to eat at the place that my Zizi Linda still raves about, zerocinquantino! You know what that means... tagliere misto and tigelle, nothing else compares! After an afternoon passeggiata digested our lunch we headed down to Via Del Pratello to check out dinner options. If you hadn't noticed from prior posts, when you visit Bologna your vacation becomes a food race. One meal followed by the next, the pattern broken by 1 of 4 options; the passeggiata, the second or third coffee of the day, a nap, or a gelato (what else did you expect?). Anyways, I digress...the weather was gorgeous so we strolled up and down until we landed on a trattoria we found appetizing, had outdoor seating and had a good vibe. I was a little nervous about eating dinner on Via del Pratello with my mom because that was a street that students traveled often to cause shenanigans, drink and smoke Hookah (Narghile), but to my surprise she found the road very endearing and lively! Wahoo! Our meal was good, Al Cantinone hit the mark for the atmosphere and price but we didn't find it to be one of those Bolognese knock outs, in fact, I had a difficult time remembering where we decided to eat that night over a year ago! Nevertheless, it provided my mom with a new neighborhood to see and an urge to try another restaurant on its pedestrian only cobblestone way once my dad arrived in town. 

Sunday, RAIN. They day started out beautifully, but by mid afternoon the clouds descended. We didn't really mind, but if it held up to greet my dad the following day, he would surely be bummed. My mom did her thing while I did mine and we spent the latter half of the day together since it included eating dinner. This time we walked another way to check out what few options we had on a Sunday night so we wandered down to Via Belli Arti in the university district down on via belli arti. We walked with our umbrellas up in then pouring rain to Via Belli Arti hoping to land on a welcoming and yummy place that evening because I had heard there were a number of good trattorias that I had yet to try. Our immediate impression of Anna Maria was good, it was your traditional bolognese menu with your typical wooden tables, checkered table clothes and signed photographs lining the walls of all the famous 

Gianni & I

people who had graced Anna Maria's presence and lasagna verde. The food proved to be good, but the experience iced the cake.  Our waiter was a character, very talkative and cordial and far too elegant for the establishment he was working in. He explained his job situation to us, saying he wouldn't be working at Anna Maria's unless he had to, apparently he wasn't treated very well, and he was formerly a waiter at a high scale restaurant on a cruise ship. We weren't sure we believed him till Anna Maria herself came down the stairs in her apron, we were so excited to see the famous chef had actually cooked our meal, but the following interaction she had with our waiter proved their relationship was quite rocky indeed, he came back to finish our order with a smirk on his face saying "I told you so" "ve l'ho detto". Finishing up our meal my mom searched the walls of photos to find her man, Gianni indeed was up on the wall. We walked home in the  rain, walking home from a filling meal was my favorite  thing to do in Bologna, even in the rain!Monday, I would study while my mom did her thing, but only after we grabbed a cappuccio together. That afternoon we went to move her things to I their bed and breakfast down the road, B&B Porta San Mamolo and awaited Dad's arrival, knowing he would be bummed to see it was raining in Bologna... Again! I hoped it wouldn't down his spirits too much! After getting settled the game was food again. I had reserved at a restaurant at the end of Via Del Pratello, after mom and I had researched it on our stroll and on tripadvisor later. It was a roman restaurant and our choice was field by our desire to enjoy some carciofi... Leave it to the culinary romana to own springtime artichoke based meals. It was a fabulous choice for Dad's first Italian meal, and the only thing that dampened his spirits was the still ongoing downpour of rain. Che palle.

The routine continued throughout the week. Wake up, meet for breakfast, go study while dad and mom picked a city to day trip in, meet for aperitivo and eat dinner, repeat. On occasion we went on on a morning jog... This is one of the things I miss the most since being home.  We did my route that climbed to the top of San Michele in Bosco to see the beautiful full panorama of la rossa, winded down through the flowering and bustling giardini margherita, the finished off by running down Santo Stefano, past Nettuno, through Piazza Grande and looping back down to Via Solferino. It was the perfect 4 miler and once that I miss very much running. Another yearning I've been having is to do what my parents did that week, hopping on the treno regionale to a neighboring town to check out it's secrets, it's treasures, it's cappuccinos and it's other culinary delights. It's like visiting a whole new world but your back by the end of the day, didn't have to take a car anywhere and paid less than 10 euro for a round trip ticket. #winning. Their day trips included Imola, Dozza, & Faenza. Bologna is just the best hub ever! Mi manca assai. My parents even took the bikes from the hotel and rode the path down to Casalecchio and to the bridge on the Reno, that was also part of my longer marathon training runs. Out and back past San Luca, never daring out actually run up to the Santuario like many crazies do... Maybe the next time I live there ;)


Run to San Michele in Bosco!
Funivia w/ Sheryl & Jenna

FaceTime with Alex :)
Jenna & I @ Santo Stefano

Trattoria Meloncello

Da Tony
Dal Biassanot
To add more craziness to the week my friend from Union, Jenna arrived Thursday night. She and her friend Sheryl came from Palma, Spain to explore Italy for the weekend. I was psyched to see Jenna and hear about her experience teaching Spanish in Palma so far and also to catch up on everything we missed since college. Jenna and Sheryl were the BEST house guests, so polite, respectful, fun and independent. They arrived late Thursday night, I met them at the bus stop and we walked back to my place. We got settled then we headed out to eat. Pizza due torri was the go to since it was late and they didn't want a full meal. The plan for Friday was to see Bologna, I woke early to study until they woke up. After we were ready I took them on the Bologna tour which included seeing Piazza Maggiore, Santo Stefano, il quadrilatero, Via Indipendenza, my school, Piazza Verdi, i 7 segreti, etc. we bought balls of buffala mozzarella to snack on from Tamburini. We walked around for a while and I left them to explore while I headed home to study some that afternoon. We'd meet up for dinner later on at Da Tony and no Bologna trip is complete without gelato from Funivia. For Saturday and Sunday I gave them direction on getting to Venice and Florence for day trips, they spent the entire day in both cities, finding Venice not to be so magical, but Florence to be one of the most beautiful and enchanting cities they've ever been too. I spent Saturday studying until dinner time at Dal Biassanot down on Via Piella. It was actually one of our better meals had all week! Sunday was my final study day and also my parents last day. We ran in the morning, enjoyed the sun on the breakfast patio and enjoyed our cappuccini. I left them around noon to go finish studying before the girls came back from Florence and hoped that I had Sistemi Internazionali Comparati under my belt. Another great week in Italy spent with my parents, and they'd be back just in 2 and a half short months for my laurea... That is if I passed my exams!