We arrived at Hotel Touring a little before check-in. The Hotel is family-owned and run and everyone was so friendly. Parking was supposed to be 23 euros a day in the garage, but they told us if we found a street spot, we could get a permit for 9 euros a day. A quick drive around the block, and we had a spot.
While our room was being readied, they made us some cappuccinos to take up to the roof terrace.
The terrace was lovely and we were able to look out on Bologna as we caffeinated.
|That tower to the right is Torre Asinelli, and we hiked up the stairs to the top of it later that day!|
When we finished our drinks, we took the teeny tiny elevator back down to the lobby and got our room key. The hotel staff brought our suitcases up for us (I doubt they would fit in the elevator!).
The room key has to be put in a slot in the wall in order for the electricity to work. This ended up being the case at the rest of the hotels we stayed at too, and I thought it was a great way to save on power. There's no way you could accidentally leave your lights on when you left your room... unless of course you locked yourself out.
Our room was small but had a really nice balcony with a little table and chairs on it.
After we settled into our room, we went to check out the city. We both agreed that Bologna blew Venice away. It was much more "me." It didn't feel as touristy even though there are some great sights to visit there. And since Bologna is in the Emilia-Romagna region, it is in the area known for having the best food in Italy. Some even call it the gastronomic capital of Italy.
It should be no surprise that the first thing on my mind was lunch. A friend of a friend had recommended Giampi e Ciccio for traditional Bolognese food. So we mapped it out and headed over. Just as we arrived and started looking at the menu outside the restaurant, the owner closed the door and said "finito." I was so bummed. We had missed the lunch window. Unfortunately, I had left my other recommendations in the room, so I wasn't sure where to head next. We just started wandering back toward Piazza Maggiore (the main square), thinking we might find something over in that direction.
I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw the sign for A.F. Tamburini. I remembered the name from my list of restaurant recommendations, but I had no idea where it was and was so shocked we just randomly ran into it. Luckily, they were still serving lunch.
We grabbed seats outside. The outdoor tables are barrels and the seats bar stools.
We decided to share some meats and cheeses and what we thought would be a salad with artichokes from the specials board but was actually more meat (should have spent more time learning Italian!). I saw some women nearby drinking rose and it inspired me to order a glass as well. The restaurant bills itself as a wine bar and features more than 200 wines. I simply told the waiter I wanted a sparkling rose and he selected one for me. I have no idea which one it was, but I know it hit the spot that afternoon.
Our other dish was carne salada e carciofi and was a very rare, salted sliced beef with artichokes in oil. I loved those artichokes. And we both loved sampling the various meats.
Throughout lunch, the service was very slow and our waiter seemed completely unconcerned with us... not in a rude way but just in a nonchalant way. We weren't bothered at all though because we were on vacation time and happy to enjoy a leisurely lunch.
There's a shop attached to the restaurant where people can buy meats and cheeses, oils and vinegars, and various prepared foods, so we wandered in there after lunch and ogled all the things we wished we could take home but knew we couldn't. (Someone has got to do something so it can be okay to bring cured meats back to the US. The prosciutto hanging in all the shop windows is just so tempting.)
We left the shop empty-handed and continued our wandering.
Next up: Day 3 -- Bologna (Afternoon/Evening)