Francesco had to work until 5 pm and then the plan was for us to all go to Bologna together Friday night. Mariano and Maria live in Malalbergo (a province of Bologna), which is about 30 minutes from Bologna. After we arrived at Mariano and Maria's apartment, we had lunch. Maria cooked pasta (homemade) with red sauce, veal with mushroom sauce and salad. We also had watermelon for dessert and finished things off with espresso. It was delish! We spent much of the time on the computer using translators to speak to one another. I was kicking myself for not knowing Italian at this point. Who wants to speak to one another through a computer when we are sitting right next to each other?? I don't...I feel like this was my fault.
After Francesco got home, we decided to take a walk so he could change. We had gelato. I ordered a small but Mariano INSISTED that I get the biggest size the place offered! At this point, I was about to POP! After we walked back to the apartment to meet back up with Francesco, we left for Bologna. We walked around Bologna for a few hours and had pizza for dinner. After we finished in Bologna, we visited Ferrara (another town right outside of Bologna). This was Francesco's recommendation, as its architecture was much more ancient and medieval, unlike Bologna, which was mostly modern. We did not get home until about 1 am and then I was up at 6:30 to catch my 8:50 am train to Venice. Francesco and Mariano dropped me off at the station and waited until my train departed before they left. Mariano, Maria and Francesco were very hospitable and we did the best we could with the language barrier. Considering I didn't know Italian and they didn't know English, we had a great time!
On the train ride to Venice, I met a breast cancer survivor who lived in none other than Anderson, SC (right outside of Easley, where some of my family lives). This woman lives in Anderson, but is orignally from Istanbul, Turkey and attended college at Berry in Rome, GA. Her story was very inspiring and she was a very interesting individual. It's always nice to meet people like this and I am sure I met her for a reason.
After I arrived to Venice I met up with Brandon. It was very exciting to finally see him! We spent most of the day exploring Venice and walking the city. We also did a self-guided Vaparetto tour of the city. It was a lot of fun. We did not have many plans, so I really enjoyed catching up and spending the day exploring and getting lost!! We had lunch at a touristy joint (impossible to avoid sometimes), visited the Rialto Brige, St. Mark's Square and just picked up a slice of pizza for dinner. Our hotel was very nice and had a great Venetian look to it. The staff was very accommodating and friendly (unlike the staff here at Villa Tassoni, who gave us a seriously hard time for Brandon's unannounced arrival.)
Last night, we took a night walk across Rome visiting all the places I have already been, but BF has not. We visited Campo di Fiori and had a tasty dinner there. We continued onto Piazza Navona, The Pantheon, Trevi Fountain (with a stop for gelato...duh!) and The Spanish Steps. Everything was beautiful at night!!
Today we visited the Colesseum, The Roman Forum, The Panethon, Piazza Navona, Campo di Fiori (for a mini happy hour :)) and Trastevere for dinner (tasssssty). After dinner we enjoyed a beer on the steps in Trastevere and walked along the river at the night market. So far, we have really enjoyed our time together. Tomorrow we leave for Paris. I am sorry I have left off a lot of details in the blog tonight (and lacked my usual sarcastic remarks), but I have alot of packing to do! I will see everyone soon....Ciao!!