Holiday Home Stretch

Only two more days left on the advent calendar before it’s officially Christmas. (Our advent calendar is given over to cat and dog treats and Lola rushes over to it every morning when I get up.) We’re basically ready for the holidays; just a little more wine to purchase and make sure we have enough pet food stocked up.

I took a lot of photos last night and today, but I’m honestly too tired to go through them all and figure out themes and do any research. So for now, here are two holiday-themed photos from last night. One cute little holiday light display, and one odd little hut made of Christmas greenery with Charlie looking away distracted. Hopefully I’ll get around to some of the other holiday light photos tomorrow. For now, happy Friday and good luck if you’re going to be facing any last-minute crowds this weekend!

holiday lights bologna italy natale

holiday lights bologna italy natale

Street Artists at Work

There’s a lot of random graffiti in Bologna, but there’s also some street art. In addition, the shutters that are used over the entrances to shops and restaurants when they’re closed are the perfect canvas. In the case of the shutters, the business usually invites an artist to create an eye-catching image. There are some fantastic works of art, some of which I’ve posted about before.

Sometimes, as happened last month, there’s an organized event with both local and foreign artists coming together to paint walls, shutters, and whatever else is available. Other times, you happen to catch a lone artist working early in the morning so the paint has time to dry before the shop opens. Regardless, I love seeing the variety of images and styles throughout the city. If you’re in town and taking an early walk before things really open, not only do you have the city to yourself, but you’ve got a great chance to see some of the fantastic artwork and you may just catch an artist or two at work.

All of that said, this might be my favorite bit of street art.

street art Charlie staffy staffy art shutter painting dog in art pitbull bologna

Here are a few random other shots of street artists at work in Bologna.

street art bologna architecture graffiti man on bike

street art in progress bologna

street art bologna mascarella shutters

 

Waiting: Or the Patience of a Dog

I’m just barely (maybe) squeaking by on the Weekly Photo Challenge, despite the theme running for two weeks. The theme is waiting, and I thought I’d focus on the idea of a waiting dog, in particular, my dog who is always waiting for me to finish taking photos. I think of these as outtakes of my photo walks with Charlie. He’s surprisingly patient and has learned to sit and wait while I take my photos. Sometimes he does a bit of localized investigation on his own, but he never strays far. But don’t feel too bad for him. He tends to get a cookie if he’s been particularly patient.

This first one was taken the other week in the park. I thought he was just sniffing around, and he wasn’t in anyone’s way, so I let him be. While I was taking my photos for my last post, he finally gave up and sat down on his own to wait for me. I’m pretty sure there was a resigned sigh from him, though.

waiting dog

In this next one, his patience was wearing thin. He was ready to move on, but I was still fondling rustication and gazing in adoration at the architectural features in some of the surrounding buildings. Notice the stink-eye he’s giving me.

waiting dog bologna

His patience sometimes gives out, especially when nature calls and posts need to be marked. But look at that beautifully rusticated grand doorway!waiting dog bologna architecture rustication

Fortunately, because he’s such a good boy, we can take him to all sorts of places. During the move, he hung out quietly in the hotel bar with us in Germany during our overnight stop. He’s sat peacefully at various cafés here in Bologna, as well. And if a few pieces of pastry happen to make their way to him, he’s not one to complain. Waiting has its benefits.

waiting dog bologna cafe

Montagnola in the Morning

I took Charlie over to the Parco della Montagnola this morning, and while we skipped the dog run area, we did head to my favorite section of the park. Even a quick stop has me waxing poetic.

On the far left of the park are the Scalinata del Pincio, grand and ornate stairs rising up on multiple levels. Dotted along the ledges and stairs are the evocative turn-of-the-century lamps. From there, you get a view down on Via Indipendenza, with the grand portici occasionally releasing people out onto the street. Then there are the actual buildings across from the park on Via Indipendenza that always look amazing in the morning light with the many shades of ochre from sunkissed yellow to well-aged orange. Even the windows of these buildings make a statement with their beautiful curved and arched pediments and the shutters that provide some contrast to the bright colors.

And that’s before you even get to the view of the Porta Galliera in the background.

porta galliera via indipendenza montagnola bologna

montagnola bologna via indipendenza scalinata del pincio

window pediments montagnola bologna

montagnola bologna colors

via indipendenza montagnola bologna

via indipendenza montagnola bologna portici

lamps montagnola bologna

Did I mention there’s also a grand sculpture at the front entrance of the park? Charlie wanted a closer look.

sculpture park montagnola bologna

A Dog, A Bike, A Canal in Bologna

So yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. In fact, it’s been so long that I forgot how to start a new post for a brief moment.  Ooops! So yeah, life. Let’s leave it at that.

To be honest, I haven’t done much exploring, because I really don’t handle the heat well and it’s been stupid hot this summer. Think 40sC/100sF. But there was one day last month when the weather was nice and I was feeling a bit of cabin fever, so Charlie and I headed out early before the heat returned with a vengeance. It wasn’t the best of timing for photos — too many morning shadows blasted by streams of bright morning sunshine — but that didn’t stop me. It also didn’t stop others who were out and about that morning.

In fact, as I was stopping to admire one of the Bologna canals and thinking I should get a photo of Charlie by the canal, since he’s Dutch and all, a couple approached and started cooing and fawning over him. “Che bello!”

The next thing I know, they’re asking to take a photo of him, so I shift over to the side out of shot and let him become a model at a photo shoot.

dog bologna canals bicycle

Eventually his newest fans moved on and I tried to get a quick shot of my Dutch dog in front of a bicycle in front of a canal — a touch of Dutch in Bologna. He was growing weary of the cameras, though, so I only got one quick shot.

bologna canals dog bicycle

I’m still trying to get a good shot of one of the other canal views, so that will have to wait for another day. But yes, Bologna does have canals. In fact, it used to have canals everywhere! Most are still in existence, but they’ve been built over and hidden away, unfortunately. Still, at least a few are still visible!

bologna canals

Food on the Move: A Bologna Street Food Festival

Parco della Montagnola, Charlie’s go-to dog park, is the home of Sapori in Movimento, the Bologna Street Food Festival taking place this weekend. This three-day feast has a fun mix of foods on offer from vegetarian to full-on carnivore. There are also events for the kids during the day and the park itself is just a great place to hang out and chat with friends.

bologna street food festival sapori in movimento

Friday, when the festival started, was unbelievably hot and I feel for everyone who had to be there, especially cooking! Saturday was considerably cooler, though we still waited to stop by in the evening. We’d already eaten, but we took a wander around the park, enjoyed a beer at Clandestino, the new seasonal beer garden, and then chatted with some dog-park acquaintances (their dog is our dog Charlie’s BFF). They also happen to be involved in the organization of the event and the promotion and betterment of the park in general. It was a nice evening out and despite having eaten, the smells permeating the park had me drooling. Charlie showed incredible restraint! He’s such a good boy.

Some of the food available to tempt an array of palates includes crepes, buffalo sausages, and zucchini flowers stuffed with mozzarella and truffle. The line for Porcobrado, which serves up a special type of pig from Tuscany with its own DOP (protected designation of origin) status, was one of the longest lines we saw, though everyone seemed to be doing brisk business. Every sign I saw sounded tempting and, as I said, the aromas filling the park were mouth watering.

porcobrado bologn street food festival

If you’re in town, you can still make it in time to enjoy the new Bologna street food festival. It runs until just before midnight tonight and is worth a visit. Go for an aperitivo, go for dinner, go for dessert, go for drinks. Go just to see the car converted into a grill. Just go!

bologna street food festival sapori in movimento bologna street food festival sapori in movimento

bologna street food festival sapori in movimento

Clandestino, the new beer garden that also serves food (and more than just beer). It remains through the summer.

bologna street food festival sapori in movimento clandestino beer garden

Our Dutch dog wanted a biertje of his own. Sorry, Charlie!

bologna street food festival sapori in movimento clandestino beer garden dog

bologna street food festival sapori in movimento

 

 

Wordless Wednesday: Let’s Take the Stairs

parco della montagnola pincio bologna stairs

Farm Animal Italian Lessons

Years ago, when I was first taking Italian lessons, I would rent Italian films for practice. One of my favorites was Johnny Stecchino, starring Roberto Benigni. It was fun and silly — though not without some social commentary — although with the speed and accents, it wasn’t always the easiest to follow. Still, that’s what the subtitles were for!

In one of the scenes toward the end, he’s seen leading a group of mafia thugs on a song about the sounds animals make.

There’s a street just off the Piazza Maggiore in the Quadrilatero that has some wonderful animal paintings on the protective grills when the shops are closed. That inspired me to add updating the animals sounds to my current Italian lessons. After all, animals in different countries speak different languages, too! Charlie, my Dutch dog, may not know “drop it” in English, but he does seem to know the equivalent in Dutch. (He wasn’t happy when I finally found the right Dutch term recently.)

So, I present to you the Italian names and sounds of a few animals.

Horses are i cavalli and when they neigh, they say “hiiiiii”
Italian lessons animal sounds

The cow — la mucca — goes “muuuuuu”
Italian lessons animal sounds cow painting

The rooster — il gallo — says “chicchirichí [keekeereekee]”
Italian lessons animal sounds street art

Pop Quiz! What sounds do these animals make?
Italian lessons animal sounds street art

If you’re thinking that I didn’t tell you what sound the bull (il toro) makes, well, it turns out they make the same sounds as cows. #muuuuuuuu

I hope you enjoyed this illustrated Italian lesson. If you want to learn more, you can find more sounds here. So from me, it’s “ciao” and from Charlie, it’s “bau bau”!

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Another Flamingo in Bologna?

While Charlie and I were out walking this afternoon, he was sightseeing with his nose, and I was sightseeing with my eyes. Both of us had plenty to enjoy. As we were walking along Via Mascarella, I was admiring some of the artwork that adorns the grates that cover the restaurant and shop entrances when they’re closed. Some of those may be a post for tomorrow, along with a few others I’ve snapped recently. Then we got to a spot not far from Cinema Odeon and I may have let out a started, “Oh!” I’ve been known to do that quite loudly when coming across something unexpected but lovely. In this case, it was a flamingo! Well, a painted flamingo, but a  Bologna flamingo nonetheless! Obviously, I couldn’t resist snapping a few shots. And Charlie had to get in on the action, as well.

bologna flamingo moustache

It turns out that Moustache is a bar/restaurant that’s been open since around 2011. It seems to get solid reviews from both locals and tourists, so I might just have to give it a try soon! Their cocktails seems to be pretty popular, while the food is simple, genuine Italian dishes, I think particularly from Emilia. It all sounds good to me! Have you been to Moustache? What did you think?

Italian Architectural Styles and a Moment of Zen

Charlie and I went on a fairly short walk this morning, as we’d gotten up late and I had work still to finish. But even on a short walk, you can easily be amazed by all of the architectural styles and colors to be seen in Bologna. Even at one intersection, you can find art deco on one side and medieval/Moorish on the other. Walk a little further down the street and you’ll find a church that almost looks Mission style, but with a bell tower that reminds me of Venice. Add in a few balconies and all of the beautiful colors that Bologna architectural styles are known for using and you can’t help but end up with a smile on your face.

classic italian architectural styles bologna

italian architectural styles bologna deco medieval italian architectural styles bologna art deco

italian architectural styles bologna art deco

italian architectural styles bologna mission

italian architectural styles bologna mission venetian

 

And now your Charlie moment of Zen …

Charlie moment of zen dog wall art

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