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open mind, empty stomach

travel, food, and fun

Bologna is the culinary capital of Italy, which I consider Italy to be the culinary capital of the world. Needless to say, Bologna is a very spiritual place for me. Again, this being August, many of the restaurants were closed for holiday. Bologna is also a university town and was pretty much a ghost town because school was not in session. Despite visiting in August, I could not have had a better time in Bologna.
This was my first time Couchsurfing and I owe my amazing experience to my host, Valentina. Valentina is one of, if not THE, most amazing people I have ever met. She radiates goodness, positivity, and love. Seriously. She lives in a 2 bedroom apartment with 6 roommates and still managed to host another Couchsurfer, her sister and brother in law, and me. Just 3 of her roommates were around during my visit and they were all great people. They are a group of 20 something students, young professionals, and artists. Four of them, including Valentina, work at a really cool little wine bar that is a short walk from home. They live, work, travel, and play together. Staying with them was like entering another world, a world that was VERY difficult to leave.
Valentina took me around town and was a perfect guide. She knows a lot about her city! I had no idea that Bologna used to be filled with canals like Venice. Almost all of them have been redirected or moved underground, but a few still remain. She took me to a great little place for breakfast that had a rear balcony overlooking one of the existing canals. Quite a few of the places she wanted to take me were closed, but our walk around the city was great. We even met another Couchsurfer that she ended up adopting for the next couple days.
On my last night in town a group of us went to neighboring Ferrara for a festival. It was held at a really neat medieval castle and featured artists, musicians, and alcohol. The festival was really cool, the company was perfect, and I had a truly great time.
Now to business. I had come to Bologna for food and it certainly lived up to the hype. I got to check something off of my bucket list when I had pasta Bolognese in Bologna. The local specialty of lasagna verde was amazing too. I had a charcuterie platter that even included Bologna, but it was far from the American supermarket kind. The mains were not as great as the pasta dishes, but the pork shank I had during my last meal in town was superb.
My experience in Bologna was perfect. The food was amazing, I saw parts of the city that most visitors never do, and I met some special people. It is honestly a place I could see myself staying for a while and will definitely be going back. Thanks so much Valentina!

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