May the month of May come

Ciao a tutti!

It’s been a while since we have told you our news, the past month has been quite busy. The Covid-situation finally got better and we turned into yellow zone, meaning less restrictions and going towards normality. This though, the yellow zone has new rules than before, allowing us to travel also out of the region. And this was the turning point for us.

First weekend: Pesaro-Cattolica

We headed to the seaside, Pesaro, which is just about in another region, Marche. We were a bit unlucky with the weather but we didn’t let it bring us down. The city of Rossini was something new, bigger than Faenza, and full of places where to eat seafood. I finally opted for spaghetti allo scoglio. Györgyi, my Hungarian friend/partner/volunteer (you can read about her adventures here) was actively networking during the train trip and thanks to her, we met with some other international volunteers who are doing their program in Pesaro. They are a big community, almost 20 people, and compared to our little group (at the moment 4 persons) the structure is very different. The next day we did a veeeery long hike from Pesaro to Cattolica, through the Parco naturale Monte San Bartolo. 19 km if you only count the park itself, but through both towns and to the train station, I can assure you that it was closer to 40 km. Nevertheless, the views were amazing from the cliffs, smelling the sea after many months, eating a great piadina in the midway… Trip totally worth it!

Second weekend: Rome/Tivoli/Rieti

Again with Györgyi, we wanted to get some big city life, at least for a few days! We were kind of invited to Rome by a common friend living close to us in Bologna but originally from Rome. Even though the train trip was a bit long, it was very comfortable and so far I only have good things to say about Trenitalia, the Italian train company. In Rome, aperitivo was a must, with all local goodies. Of course, we also tasted some supplìs, the roman fried rice balls, that this time were also with ragù and mozzarella.

Because both of us had been to Rome before, we could concentrate on other things than just running from main attractions to the next ones. Friend of a friend organized us a little tour in “ancient Rome” in a treasure hunt -way. Always nice to meet new people…. The theme of the weekend could have also been parks, that was a new side for me of Rome. And how beautiful and well maintained they are!

With our friend, I visited a little town around one hour from Rome called Tivoli while Györgyi went to Rieti to meet another Hungarian volunteer, to do a bike/hiking tour and eventually come  back the next morning after a wild adventure (you might have read about it in her blog…). In Tivoli, there is an old enormous mansion, Villa d’Este (also listed in Unesco’s World heritage list), which has one of the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen. It has “51 fountains and nymphaeums, 398 spouts, 364 water jets, 64 waterfalls, and 220 basins, fed by 875 metres of canals, channels and cascades, and all working entirely by the force of gravity, without pumps”, according to Wikipedia. If you have a list of places to visit before you die, add this one on it! You can read more about Villa d’Este here.

Third weekend: Bologna/Dozza/Imola

At last, after 5 months in Faenza, I finally got to go to Bologna. During the red and orange zone, it was so close but so far away; out of reach… I was accompanied with warm weather and a hazy sky which made it easy to enjoy the medieval city with a twist of new underground vibes. The first, not so medieval thing, I did was to eat thai food (inexistant in Faenza). One very impressive place was the Basilica di Santo Stefano, also called the complex of seven churches. They are all attached to each other so that you can wander from “room to room”. Very calm and peaceful place… When heading back (and now I have something to say about Trenitalia) the train was late. And they kept postponing it. All the time. So at the end I was still at the Bologna central station at 21:50 knowing that the curfew would start very soon. Not sure at all if the train would ever come, I called our friend in Bologna and asked if I could stay there; best and easiest option after waiting two hours at the station…

Sunday was dedicated to even more local tourism since we went to Dozza, a tiny village with a medieval castle/fortress and a lot of street art. The place has also been voted to the list of Most beautiful villages (borgi) of Italy.  Since the sixties, every second year, an art biennale has been organized there, and some of the results are still on the walls of the houses. You can read more about the biennale here (in Italian).

Since it was on the way back home, we also stopped at Imola. Well known for its motor circuit (a few weeks ago, the Formula1 race was held there), maybe less for the city itself. Quite a cute place (again one castle…), although completely dead on a May Sunday under a little drizzle. A place maybe not worth visiting for.

These were the updates from the last three weeks. You might have noticed that we basically live on weekends, because during the week, we work. Hard. With more and more activities in presence, volunteering is also becoming more interesting. In addition to the staggering ancient and medieval stuff, I also like the human contact. Therefore this month of May has opened a completely new world for me, and I welcomed it with pleasure.

P.s. When we don’t work, we go to see Giro d’Italia on Corso Mazzini.

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