One of the best things about traveling opened ended and for such a long time is all the people you get to visit. On this trip, Inna and I have already visited friends in California, at Crater Lake, in Everett, Seattle, Richmond, DC, Baltimore, NYC, and Boston, and family in Erie and Chicago. And while we don’t know as many people in Europe as we do in the United States, we do know some! And this trip was the perfect opportunity to visit them.
The first people we visited were cousins in Bologna. We were super-excited to see them, one because we had never met before, two because my sister was also visiting at the time, and three because we love Italy! So, after leaving Paris, Bologna is where we went.
Hey look! It’s my sister! She is a professional downhill longboarder and was staying with our cousins after competing in Europe. Inna and I arrived the day before she left for Norway, a country too expensive to visit on our trip. We’re glad we got to see her for the evening though!
Unfortunately, this was the only family photo we took. We completely forgot to take pictures with our cousins! Shame on us!
There isn’t a lot to see in Bologna but there is a lot to do. This is because Bologna is a food city; it has the best food in Italy, which puts it in the running for best food in the world.
This picture deserves to be on its own. The gelato shop below my cousin’s apartment (Cremeria da Paolo) had hands down the best gelato Inna and I have ever had. In fact, this gelato was the best of any food I have ever had. I am not exaggerating, I am not speaking in hyperbole, this gelato was so good it was unreal. We had gelato six times at this place (pretty much every day we were in Bologna); it was so good I can’t even explain.
Bologna may be a food city, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have anything worth seeing. The most notable sites in the city are the Two Towers of Bologna: tall, leaning medieval-aged towers built by rival families to prove which family was more powerful.
The Two Towers provide gorgeous 360 degree views of Bologna. The only catch is that the towers were built before elevators, so you have to climb the equivalent of 32 flights of stairs to get to the top.
Here is Bologna’s most famous church, San Petronio Basilica, the tenth largest church by volume in the world. The church features an iconic and incomplete facade, and has been the plot of at least two terror attacks, as radical Muslims believe a fresco inside (depicting Muhammad in Hell being devoured by demons) to be an insult to Islam.
Here is another beautiful building we found while exploring Bologna. Unfortunately, I do not remember what this building was or what it was used for.
The remnants of the wall that used to surround Bologna, still standing near the train and bus stations, where so many people enter today.
Finally, and perhaps most iconically, Bologna is famous for its porticoes. The city contains 28 miles of these building-attached roof-covered walkways, including one that is two miles in length, the longest portico in the world.