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

 

 

Four Fun Facts About the Rialto Bridge

Venice is a city of canals. And when you’ve got canals, you’ve got bridges. The most famous Venetian bridge, of course, is the Rialto Bridge, which has a long, storied history. It’s also just stunningly gorgeous.

Rialto Bridge Venice

As I mentioned in my previous Venice post, we visited the floating city in the first week of January 2002, which resulted in thinner crowds and better views. That doesn’t mean the bridge wasn’t bustling with tourists, but it was easier to walk along and take in the different shops that lined the bridge. I was lured into a stationery shop where I bought a beautiful letter opener. From a friend’s relatively recent visit, it seems that that shop may still be there.

rialto bridge shopping

While looking up some of the bridge’s history, I came across various facts and trivia bits that I thought were pretty interesting and thought I’d share them. So here goes, four fun facts about the Rialto Bridge in Venice.

Age and Beauty

The Rialto is the oldest of the four bridges that span the Grand Canal. The earliest form of bridge in that spot was built in 1181, although it was only a floating pontoon bridge.

Ups and Downs

By 1255, as the Rialto Market grew in importance, a more permanent wooden bridge was built. Unfortunately, over the centuries, it had its ups and downs, having to be rebuilt from time to time. It was partially burned during a revolt in 1310. It also collapsed a couple of times. In 1444, a wedding was being held for the Marquis Ferrara. As the wedding crowd took to the bridge to watch a passing boat parade, the bridge collapsed. It was rebuilt, but collapsed once again in 1524.

Marble and Michelangelo

Building the bridge in stone had been discussed as early as 1503, but it took most of the century to finally decide on a plan. Even some great artists and architects like Palladio and Michelangelo submitted ideas, but the final winner was Antonio da Ponte, who finally finished construction in 1591 after working on it for three years. The marble bridge follows the original wooden design fairly closely, with two inclined ramps leading up to a central portico. It’s single span arch and marble material had people placing bets on it collapsing, but it’s still standing!

Family Connections

Probably the second most famous bridge in Venice is the Bridge of Sighs, which  connected the prison to the interrogation room in the Doge’s palace. The designer of the Bridge of Sighs was Antonio Contino, who was the nephew of Antonio da Ponte, the designer of the Rialto Bridge.

Bonus Silliness

The Rialto was built across the narrowest stretch of the Grand Canal. It ended up connecting the districts of San Marco and San Polo. Marco and Polo. Marco Polo. Venetian explorer and the name of a popular water tag game. No one knows the origins of the name of the water tag game. Me? I like to imagine people in the two districts standing at each end of the bridge, shouting out their district’s name in a show of civic pride. Which district is better? Marco! Polo! Perhaps add in a bit of drunken rowdiness and someone ends up falling into the canal, still shouting their district’s name.

Rialto Bridge Venice

Rialto Bridge Venice Venezia single arch bridge

I particularly like the couple in the photo above seated on the steps down by the canal.

romantic couple rialto bridge venice

And one last view from the back of the shops on the bridge …

behind rialto bridge venice venezia shopping

 

The Gondolas of Venice

On a hot summer day, what better way to cool off than to revisit some old photos of the Venice gondolas one bright winter morning.

Well, I can think of plenty of more effective ways of cooling off, but they don’t make for interesting blog posts about Italy.

So yes, it’s been pretty warm recently, and despite my Florida heritage, this flamingo does not like the heat. The animals and I are slowly melting. Even my cats who love the heat are looking a bit more limp and lethargic. We do have a portable air conditioner, which helps a little, but on days like today when it’s 35C/95F, there’s only so much it can do.

venice venezia harbor st marks gondolas

Since this blog is about Italy, not just Bologna, and because I haven’t been out much to explore due to the heat and work, I thought I’d go through some of my old photos taken during my one day-trip to Venice one January many years ago. We happened to be there on an actual holiday, so we lucked out even more with the smaller crowds. On the downside, being a holiday, the restaurant we wanted to go to wasn’t open. Still, Venice in the off season is absolutely worth a visit and it’s a relatively short train ride from Bologna.

I joke that it’s nearly impossible to take bad photos in Venice and going through my many many photos taken that day, I’m really surprised by how many turned out well, even with my old point-and-shoot film camera I was using. I must have gone through quite a few rolls of film, though! But how can you not with such beautiful scenery everywhere you look.

The architecture of Venice was a huge draw for me, but I also found myself photographing the boats moored up or floating by. And of course I couldn’t resist taking photos of the famous gondolas of Venice! We didn’t ride one — it seemed extra touristy and probably pretty cold that close to the water in early January — but I loved getting some of the photos that day. There’s one with a rainbow reflection off the water that is one of my favorites.

So here are a handful of gondola photos from my visit to Venice. Have you been? Did you take a gondola ride? Is it hell on earth during the summer season with all of the tourists?

venetian gondolas venice

venice gondolas venezia rainbow reflection

venice gondola venezia

venice gondola canal boats

venice gondolas venezia

And a few gondoliers hanging out …

venice gondoliers gondolas venezia

 

One of those days …

When you’re just having one of those days …

bologna urban street art vino wine

bologna urban street art vino wine prosecco

Celebrating the Festa della Repubblica

Today is a national holiday in Italy. It’s the Festa della Repubblica, the day in which Italians celebrate becoming a republic. On this day in 1946, Italians went to the polls to vote whether to remain a monarchy or become a republic. They chose republic, which isn’t that much of a surprise considering the behavior of the last king of Italy, from the Savoy family, who appointed Mussolini and then ran away during WWII. That said, the numbers were fairly close. Still, over the years, I’ve heard many an Italian speak negatively of monarchies, particularly the Savoy family that last reigned over Italy.

So, a republic it is! This is one of the few days when you’re likely to see Italian flags hung about and there are parades and special presentations and events to celebrate, at least in Rome. I’m not really sure what’s going on in Bologna today. It’s too hot and I’m too busy working — not a holiday for me; mine was Monday — so I’m afraid you get the abbreviated story today. You also get a random photo that happens to include the Italian flag and the flag of Bologna.

Festa della Repubblica

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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