Even from the train, Italy is stunning. We chugged past deep blue lakes with islands covered with white homes and little towns that make me wish I could talk about architecture. There was a lot of graffiti, as there had been in Switzerland, striking mostly because I hadn’t noticed before then that Asia had been utterly unmarred by graffiti. Europe, stop selling spray paint to minors; it makes you look trashy.
When we changed trains in Milan, we had our first test of carrying all of our belongings by ourselves. It was stressful, painful. So upon arrival in Bologna, Colin took a reasonable load and went to find our bed and breakfast while I stayed with the rest and observed my new neighbors.
What did I hear? Chinese! And when Colin returned and we both went to the bed and breakfast, we passed a Chinese super market. It’s like I never left!
The owner of the B&B told us where we could find a good pizza, and we went directly there after filling our floral-print room with our stuff.
Colin and I made a pact in Taipei to not have another pizza before getting to Italy. It had been something like six months without it, and of course it was extra built up because it was real Italian pizza we would be getting, not some Asian country’s take on it.
Our pizzas arrived, spilling over the edge of our plates, and delivered with forks and knives. I’d ordered one with mushrooms, artichoke hearts, and olives; Colin’s had sausage, pepperoni, and onion. I found mine too large to finish and took the rest to go, blissfully unaware that that isn’t done very often here. (A girl from Belgium has since told us that it is never done in Belgium. What a waste!)
The purpose of our detour to Bologna was to drop off our belongings at Colin’s school to be safely stored while we were in Corsica. We took everything down to the basement, where there are lockers, a ping pong table, and a soda machine. Most of the rest of our day in Bologna was spent in the computer lab, looking up last-minute things for Corsica.
Finally we left, with a much abridged list of things to do: food, outdoor store. I think Colin would have skipped the food if I hadn’t absolutely insisted. The outdoor store was closed—most of the shops are closed for the whole month of August, but those that weren’t were having a massive biannual sale. I didn’t want to leave. Not one bit. If I’d seen a way out, I would have taken it. Alas, to the train station we went, not 24 hours since we’d arrived.