Sometimes when you're travelling, not everything always works out perfectly .. surprising I know. Morgs & I when planning our big adventure had written a few things down one night with a bottle of red of non negotiable's we wanted to do when over here and things like watch flamenco in Spain, Sky Dive in Switzerland, and Sail Croatia were some examples that made the list. A big one for us as well was eat & drink our way around Italy....one that up until Florence we felt we had and have very very successfully done (just ask our growing but happy belly's!) Our last little 'thing' we thought we'd love to do however is take a day trip out to Tuscany from Florence and go on a wine tour... the plan was set and the preliminary googling of options had been done one lazy afternoon on the Amalfi, but clearly in our insanely relaxed state, we weren't paying enough attention. The one day we planned on doing it, Sunday, was the one day almost NO wine tours operate in Tuscany, and when I say almost none, I mean N.O.N.E. Morgans comments when finding this out after another quick google session late on the Saturday afternoon a mere 16 hours from said Sunday was "don't get upset hunny, clearly the Italians need their sabboth to get straight with the lord, let's find our own fun" ...
Firstly, everybody needs a Morgan to travel with. He is quite honestly the most relaxed, calming, PATIENT person on holidays and Secondly...he was right. We initially looked in to some wine and/or cheese and/or food and/or all of the above tours to do locally in Florence but there was nothing that really tickled our fancy. So there we were, on Saturday afternoon, with our Tuscany wine tour plan smashed to pieces trying to come up with our own fun for the Sunday....When you are constantly striving for adventure, a huge foodie & have one Mr M aka Morgs with you it didn't take long until we had our own fun & exciting plan set....
Do our own food tour in Bologna .. more specifically, eat Spaghetti Bolognese in Bologna - only the birth place of Bolognase!
I was at this stage beside myself with excitement & actually glad Tuscany didn't work out - p.s pre packaged wine tours from Florence to Tuscany for a wine tour are around $140 aussie each and when it comes downs to the nuts & bolts every package tour you only got about 6-8 tastings at most....which in our eyes didn't even become worth it!
We took an early train out to Bologna - which is only about 25-30 minutes and arrived ready to over indulge ourselves. Like with every town/city/country we go to, first things first always, always involves finding a groovy little cafe for our beloved cappuchinos.
Before I go on, can I also make two very important comments about Bologna itself as a town.
1. It dished us up by far the BEST coffee, ice cream, chocolate, pizza AND pasta we had on our whole Italian 3 week crusade....and that says something (everything) for this gorgeous city.
2. If you are going to Italy yourself, consider putting Bologna on your 'sleep over' list. I.e. Not JUST a day trip town, a 'let's stay two or more nights here town'. Truth be told Morgs & I weren't the hugest fans of Florence...it was amazing and had some fantastic ice cream - see what I mean when I say we're eating our way around Italy? - BUT when we landed in Bologna with it's g.o.r.g.e.o.u.s cobblestoned ally ways, a.m.a.z.i.n.g shopping, f.a.n.t.a.s.t.i.c restaurants & equally f.a.b.u.l.o.u.s bars, we were wondering why on earth we'd not stayed two nights there say instead of Florence. It is a SERIOUSLY great city that not only is pretty central to do day trips still to Tuscany/Florence/Pisa ... but would be just as wonderful to stay in & explore the whole time ou were there...& like I said - the BEST italian food we'd had the whole trip.
Now where was I?
We thought we would venture a little more 'in to town' i.e. away from the train station to find a buzzing cafe worthy of our cappuchino order...and we found said buzzing cafe just off the main street in town by the name of "Eataly" .. Morgs & I both took our first sip of our coffee, looked at each eyes wide - the two of us don't even need words we've been travelling so long - & almost skulled the rest of the coffee back. By the time we'd gotten to the bottom of the cup we already had another 2 cups on the way. When I say it was the best coffee we've had in Italy, I mean it's the best cup of coffee we've had the whole trip - the joke was that cappuchino alone was worth the trip to Bologna.
Ice cream (& by way of association) chocolate were next on our hit list and we didn't have to go very far to find it - Venchi happened to be right next door to Eataly & we had been told by some Italians we HAD to have their ice cream & home made chocolate. Luckily we took them up on the offer as it was the best ice cream..& chocolate...we've ever consumed. I went next level & even said "yes" (probably a little to hastily) when the lovely lady asked if I'd like whipped cream on top of my ice cream. Venchi is the one place you too have to visit if ever in Italy (you can find them all over Italy apparently!)
Our last, & possibly most important stop on our food tour - we stopped for countless wines & coffees in between our walking & touring but we don't need to bore you with the details of those - was to find the perfect Spaghetti Bolognase in Bologna. The restaurant that we finally ended up at was by accident after having trip advised the sh*t out of "best spaghetti in Bologna" and venturing to every single referred restaurant to find it closed, gross, or just not up to our expectations. We were walking back to the twin towers - which we climbed for a view of all Bologna, also reccommended - when we saw it. It was a large alfresco dining area packed with Italians ALL eating Spaghetti - honest to God. We ran over and knew we'd found the place. Unfortunatley for you, in our haste to sit & drink more Red Wine & Eat our spag bog, I didn't even look for the name of the place....but it truthfully was....the best Spag Bog I've ever eaten.
Bologna provided us with one of our most fun, relaxing, indulgent days in Italy & I can't reccommend the city highly enough.
On the way back to the Train we followed our noses - oh shoosh it was dinner time don't judge - & found a tiny hole in the wall take away pizza joint where we ordered a take meat pizza for a wholeee $6 euros. With absolutely no expectations considering it was so cheap, found on a whim, and a hole in the wall - we literally laughed from 'we can't believe this' at first bites when yet again Bologna delivered the yummiest pizza we'd had all trip - although Naples was a very very close 2nd.
The biggest lesson I took away from the day though was to never get upset over things that don't always go to plan....My initial disappointment at not being able to wine tour in Tuscany turned in to the most fun & yum day in Bologna that we wouldn't have changed for the world.
I suppose the biggest lesson was & will remain to be that I have adored learning on the trip is...
Tread your own path - you never know the adventures waiting for you around the corner!