Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My Bologna has a first name

Our agenda for the weekend was really remarkably low key. Food. Lots of really good food. Wine. Lots of really good wine. Some retail therapy, maybe, and a bit of culture perhaps. Whatever we happened upon was bound to be good. I don't think any of us even glanced at a guidebook before we set foot on the plane, so relaxed were we about this trip. This was not to be a journey of itineraries and carefully timed meals. We had no need of such travel shackles. For once, we would not be going anywhere or do anything that was stroller accessible, whine inducing, kid-friendly, or bo-ring. And damn, were we giddy about that.

All American expats living in London, we are by virtue of our current circumstances a reasonably well traveled group. Between us, we have shuttled 10 children between the ages of 1 and 7 to virtually every European city, as well as quite a few more far-flung holiday destinations. We've each got the traveling with kids thing down to a science, from the rectal thermometers in our toiletries bags to the ability to say "chicken nuggets" in absolutely any language to playground-divining instincts which would put a homing pigeon to shame. Traveling with children, we all agree, is wonderful and culturally important and absolutely worth the effort. It is also a royal pain in the ass, which is why we all jumped on the opportunity to ditch the little ones leave our offspring to bond with their fathers for the weekend while we spent a few days in Bologna.

Why Bologna? I mentioned the well-traveled thing, right? Once we'd eliminated every place that at least one of us had visited in the past year or so, there weren't really very many places left within a few hours' reach of London. We contemplated some serious second and third tier cities in our search for a destination, before finally deciding that it didn't much matter where we went provided we actually went somewhere. The Northern Italian city of Bologna looked like it would provide just enough sightseeing to keep us busy, but not so many "must see" attractions that we would feel guilty about eschewing them in favor of a glass of wine at some cute little outdoor cafe somewhere. The flight times were convenient and the fares weren't too insane. And of course, there was that fun Oscar Mayer theme song to add a little kitsch to our weekend. Who could say no to O-S-C-A-R?

From the moment we saw the shop located directly next to our hotel, it was clear that we had picked an excellent destination to visit without our children.

"I think I'm seeing a blog post emerging here," Christine muttered to me moments later as I focused my camera on a fountain in Piazza Maggiore.

She was right. Bologna's adult delights were without a doubt worthy of a blog post. But those delights, as it turned out, were not nearly as X rated as my early photos of our trip might have indicated. Instead, the delights of the flesh we encountered in Bologna took the form of food.

Lunches that looked like this:

Shop displays that that looked like this:

Our purchases in Bologna may not have been made at that silly little store next to our hotel, but they made us dizzy with anticipation all the same.

I got bronchitis and felt like hell. Karen's husband got called away to New York on business just as we were leaving Gatwick, resulting in unbelievably complicated last minute child care calisthenics. Both Suzy's husband and Christine's husband managed to lock themselves and their children out of the house while we were gone. But the four of us had a fabulous adults-only weekend in Bologna anyway.



Blogger Steph said...

Sounds like it was a great time, except for the bronchitis, of course. Hope you're feeling better!

9:58 PM  
Blogger Iota said...

That last photo is very Sex and the City, somehow.

It all sounds great, and I'm sorry about the bronchitis.

10:00 PM  
Blogger Patois said...

"I went to Bologna and all I got was a lousy chest infection." Yikes. Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, it sounds like you enjoyed the play.

2:51 PM  
Blogger E said...

Sick and you still managed to have fun. My kind of girl....

6:28 PM  
Blogger Victoria said...

Sounds like a wonderful time, well - minus the illness and the dads-getting-locked-out-ness.

Hope you're feeling better.

6:05 PM  
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5:29 AM  

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