Day 3 & 4
Home of the arcades: Bologna
The alarm was ringing, it was time to get on our feet!
Just a little problem, Arthur’s knee was hurting and neither a strong breakfast with 2 slices of cakes and hot tea could help him.
After discussing about what to do, we decided to look for a therapist in the city before doing our next step. Luckily the knee wasn’t hurting so much to stop pedaling, but we didn’t want to make things worse.
We left the hotel, and the first thing we did was going to the only one therapist we found, but unfortunately he told us to come back at 6.pm.. It was 9 o’clock and our plan was to reach Roncobilaccio ( half way to Firenze) through appennines. We definitely couldn’t wait!
So we decided to pedal slowly to visit the beautiful city of Bologna.
What to see in Bologna, capital of Emilia Romagna.
Bologna is a small, welcoming city, it is like a warm hug from a person who really loves you. Bologna is a living city, a city in which, in the tumult of people, you can feel its blood flowing.
Its famous arcades, streets and people make it a picturesque city. This city famous because of its food and before that, because of its art. In fact, Bologna is considered the crossroads of Italian culture.
So, we’ll be brief: here’s what you shouldn’t miss if you visit Bologna for one day:
- Piazza Maggiore: the principal square in Bologna, it hosts the Basilica of San Petronio and it is surrounded by historical buildings. This square is really important because it was one of the first squares to be rebuilt after the fall of the Roman Empire. The inhabitants needed a space of aggregation, a space to be used as a market so the municipality bought and demolished the old popular buildings to make the current square. This sanctioned the birth of the Italian squares as a meeting place.
- Basilica di San Petronio: one of the most known curches in the city. It hosts the longest sundial of the world in a structure and Bologna’s people love it.This church is a world record for many things: the 4th in italy by size, the 6th in Europe and the first Gothic brick church in the world always by size.
- Torre degli Asinelli: The Asinelli tower, one of the main towers, is known as the symbol of the city. The tower can be visited by paying a free entrance. After 498 steps you will be able to see Bologna from above. A popular saying says don’t climb to the top if you are not graduated yet because in that case you won’t succeed. Would you challenge popular says??
- Arcades: the arcades represents this city, they are renowned in all the world because of their extension of 40 kms. Just perfect to take a walk in all season 🙂
Walking down the streets, just before lunch, we met Hokito, a funny equilibrist with whom we talked for half an hour. He left his job 14 years ago to start traveling by bike earning a living with small shows along the road. It’s surprising. We really admire this kind of people! We do not know if we could ever make such a decision.
Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance you must keep moving.
Good luck Hokito!
Time to make an HARD DECISION
Once satisfied by the food we took a last look at the city. And here we are at the moment of the difficult decision, at the crossroads, the crossroads between heart and mind, between continuing to ride on the mountains putting in serious danger the knee of Arthur or recognize when it is time to stop.
It was hard to decide, when you think you are well trained, when nothing seems can’t stop you an old pain comes back. It’s life, and sometimes BIP happens. And sometimes the only thing you can do is going through it, through the rage, through all the “i could have trained better”. Arthur struggled for many hours with this thoughts… then he drinked a beer, took a coffee and an ice cream.
Basically a child, an happy child! 😀 DO NOT LET BAD THINGS RUIN YOUR TRIP 😀
We decided to to save energy and recover the knee for the last few days,so we went to Florence by train. It’s just an hour and a half of travel with a change to get to your destination.
We’re gonna talk about carrying your bike on a train in italy in a further post 🙂
What an ART, Florence!
We do not believe that Florence needs introductions, but for all those who do not know what it is, we can say that it is simply the “Cradle of the Renaissance”.
It is in fact the Italian Renaissance city FOR EXCELLENCE, All those who appreciate art must at least once in their lives visit it and observe how a city can be artistic and expressive.
If you have only a few days to visit this beauty, you can’t miss:
- Dome of Florence and Giotto’s belfry : Your visit should start with Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral, heart of the city. It’s the third largest basilica of the world, second only to San Pietro of Rome and St.Paul of London. We assure you that you would only spend hours observing Brunelleschi‘s magnificent and majestic dome.
- Piazza della Signoria and Loggia dei Lanzi: The most famous square in Florence that houses the fourteenth-century Palazzo Vecchio, the seat of civil and administrative power of the city. You will be addicted to ancient marble or stone sculptures, such as Donatello’s Marzocco or the fountain of Neptune, the first fountain in the city.After a few steps you will find yourself under the “Loggia dei Lanzi”, which was the seat of the ancient public assemblies. The Loggia today houses numerous marble sculptures, including Benvenuto Cellini’s masterpiece: The Perseo, dating back to 1554, which with an athletic gesture proudly exhibits the beheaded head of Medusa. Take a look at it:
- Galleria degli Uffizi: The Uffizi Gallery needs no introduction, just think that it is one of the most famous and visited museums in the world, incredibly full of priceless and unique artworks, open to the public since 1581!
- Ponte vecchio: Symbol of the historical Florence, allows the passage over the waters of the Arno river where it narrows. The bridge is sprinkled with artisan workshops, which were once butcher shops and today are goldsmith shops. However, the shopping strip will stop in the middle, where two terraces await you. Panorama insured.
- Giardino di Boboli: Private park of Palazzo Pitti, the ancient residence of the duchy, connects the famous palace with Forte Belvedere. 45,000 square metres of garden with museums, statues and residences. Its beauty will not leave you indifferent.
We forgot to tell you that another essential thing to do in Florence is eating like crazy!:D
Your stomach will thank you, scout’s world of honor.
But let’s go back to our story! previously we said that due to the physical mishap we stayed two days in Florence, but we did not have a facility in which to stay the first evening and we decided to book blindly, checking Booking availability.
WE ENDED UP IN A FANTASY PLACE. The receptionist seemed to have come out from some thriller film in which he was the crazy killer: Very thin, bewildered eyes, very rapid and sudden movements, elegant jacket with sleeves covering almost entirely the hands and jeans.
Arthur asked him if by chance they had a bag of ice to try to appease the pain, but the recepetionist replied that he would have to check later because at the moment he was very very very busy. The problem was that while he was saying this, he turned and stared at his empty desk. COMPLETELY EMPTY.
In the meantime, a young man arrived and presented himself as the new receptionist on his first day in structure. Our protagonist, after welcoming the new employee, decided to accompany us to the room, climbing up the stairs when suddenly the phone rang!
PANIC! He began to run up the stairs yelling to the new receptionist (who was arrived only two minutes before) to answer the phone. In the distance we heard a shy and sketched “hello?. We laughed so much that we will hardly forget it.
That is not the end of the story! In fact, after a small evening tour in the center, we came back to the hotel thinking about how funny was the scene of the afternoon.
As soon as we crossed the threshold of the hotel we didn’t see anyone at the reception. We advanced towards the second entrance of the hotel from which on the right you can access the stairs, when an unidentified boy passed from nowhere hopping the entire hall and making strange verses. We laughed so much that Arthur risked to fall off the stairs. WE WILL NEVER FORGET THAT HOTEL! ❤
How to end this Experience
The next day we stayed at Plus Florence, youth hostel and multicultural: Just think that the receptionists know at least 3-4 languages.
Meanwhile Arthur’s knee was almost healed so we explored the city passing by the riverside (“Lungarno”) and along the beautiful streets of the Florence.
While we were walking through Florence we were stopped by Filippo, who recognizing our BRN equipment and told us about his journey from Florence to St. Petersburg.
it’s incredible how two travel bags catch the eye: in fact we’ve been stopped several times by other like-minded people.
In this photo you can see Arthur with a lovely couple of New Zealanders on an European bicycle tour of 6 months.
Despite the misadventure this experience has been beautiful, because the most exciting thing is that each of our adventure gives us emotions, feelings, circumstances and memories that we will always take with us and that push us to explore more and more with the bike this beloved world.
True freedom is only in yourself, never stop looking for it.
Arthur & Bruno – BikesPhilosophy