|Moi freezing in Paris last April|
who hides in houses and dreams without traveling.”
Two acquaintances called me this afternoon as they both just heard that I'm going to Italy soon.
"When are you two leaving?" Friend #1 asked.
"I'm leaving July 30," I replied. There was silence on the other end for a few seconds.
"You're going by yourself?" she asked. "Without Mike?"
"Yes." There wasn't much more for me to add, so it got quiet again.
"I guess you'll be staying with your family?" She sounded a little confused.
"Nope," I replied. "I'm renting an apartment in Bologna for six weeks." Silence.
The second conversation went much like the first, although the guy who called that time knew I was going alone but thought it was for six days, not weeks.
"I think Friend #1 and Friend #2 are surprised I'm going to Italy alone," I said to Mike after the second call.
"I think most people are surprised," Mike answered. "They only think you're crazy. I know you are."
My dear husband always says the right thing.
At any rate, with the end of July barreling down on me, I'm trying to finalize a few minor details before I leave. I have all of the major things—apartments, trains, transport— aligned, I continue to work on the small things.
August is vacation month in Europe, and many stores and restaurants close as their owners take off and head to the beach or somewhere else to relax. (Personally, I think they do it to avoid the hordes of tourists [Americans] who descend on them annually.) I'm not too worried about that as long as the main markets remain open, the bars (aka coffee shops) are open, and the train runs.
I'm taking an intensive Italian class for two weeks, and I'm looking into taking a cooking class. In doing the research, I found that there are over 20 Italian cooking schools in Bologna and, believe it or not, one gelato university (Check it out here.) Most of the classes at the university are longer than one day, but someone is offering a one-day, five-hour class for 200 euro. I guess I'll just be buying the gelato. I can get about 2 gelati per day for that same 200 euro. You do the math. ;-)
I have Skype, but I've been trying to figure out which international text app to download. Whatapp and Viber seem to be most popular, so I guess I'll check those out a little more before I decide. From what I can tell, all I need to do is download them and use them when I'm in a wi-fi zone.
This afternoon, I discovered that Bologna offers free wi-fi throughout the historic center. Most importantly, it is free to residents and tourists as of a few months ago. Previously, tourists had to go through a huge rigamarole to be able to connect at most public wi-fi spots. A new law, however, has done away with the loopholes. Of course, since I have wi-fi in the flat, public wi-fi in the entire city is not as important as it would have been even last year.
And you know what? Free wi-fi means that I can use my iPhone to find the closest gelateria and avoid expensive data charges. How cool is that?
"Are you making a list of what you need to do next week?" Mike asked me earlier this evening.
No, Dude, I haven't. I'm too busy worrying about the kind of gelato I'm going to eat first.
T-minus 10 . . . . . .