A Month in Bologna

Tuesday, June 7, 2011 8:37 AM

Porticos, Posts & The King

We have been getting quite a bit of rain lately, which has reduced the amount of time that we want to spend outside. Things could be worse, however, since Bologna has built many porticos into their buildings over the centuries.

Just in case you wouldn't recognize a portico if it bit you, a building has one if the upper stories extend over what would be the sidewalk in a normal American city. This obviously means that you can walk by and not get wet, or on sunny days, everyone walks in the shade. It's a neat idea and the city has about 25 miles of porticos. However, there is no cover in the piazzas and markets, so I bought a new collapsible umbrella, which I had been threatening to do for some time. I don't know how convenient it will be to lug around, but it's big enough to protect both of us.

Yesterday, we were looking in the rain for the local branch of the post office, which we found about half a mile away. I don't know how your P.O. operates, but ours in Lakewood means you stand in line and wait until the clerks return from their endless series of coffee breaks. The Bologna location has about 15 counters, most of which were manned. There is a take-a-number machine which dispenses numbers according to what you need done. For example, if you only need stamps or something simple, take an F number, like F099. Sending a large package requires an X number. There is a large sign announcing the next number to be serviced and what counter to go to. Pretty cool, once we figured it out..... And they have chairs!

Well, all of that was pretty taxing to a couple of mature folks like us, so we needed a break, especially since the skies had really opened up. There was only one thing to do and that was to get out of the rain and head for the nearest cafe, which is never very far. It was still morning, so it was perfectly acceptable to order a cappucino. Now, if it was after noon, you could get one but the locals would snicker at the poor, ignorant tourist who doesn't know the customs. So, our timing was spot on, especially after the waiter, who doubled as the barista, announced that he was the "King of Cappucino". When it was delivered, there was a picture of palm trees in the foam! He's the King, as far as I'm concerned.


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