I recently passed on an opportunity to write for another blog. It was actually more like avoiding dealing with the responsibility of ending it before starting. I said ‘yes’ to being interested 2x, not completely thinking it through. In the end, they passed on me.
I thought about why I went about it this way. Was it because..
I didn’t care because it wasn’t a personal/ in real life connection?
I didn’t have the balls to end it before it started?
Either way, its not OK. I want to acknowledge that.
Moral of the story: Take some time to think before you say yes. Do not take on too much. Prioritize and be good at one thing. Once you are, then you can move on to the next big thing.
I miss Bologna (Bo-lo-nya). My second home away from home.
I learned a lot living in this quaint little city. I explored every nook there is, though I know I missed some hidden treasures.
Here are the top 3 lessons it taught me:
I became self-sufficient. Though in some respect I had help. My sister’s high school friend and her family helped me navigate the city. She took me under her wing as part of her family. My Italian roommate helped me through the apartment renting process. It was tedious and frustrating, especially if you don’t speak the language. I dealt with the bank on my own (thanks to my Italian lessons, I was able to brokenly speak with the tellers).
Bologna taught me patience. It almost bypassed me because I was a stubborn Americanized person who didn’t know any better. I missed integrating myself into the culture of ‘dolce far niente’ (sweetness of doing nothing). I took years off my life by stressing out about how I only got internet service 4 months before I left the country. In the end, what I got is a slap in the face “it doesn’t effin matter, you’re in Italy for pete’s sake”.
For the most part, I uncovered the city on my own. I went to places that only locals went to. Shopped at markets for fresh and local ingredients to cook at home. Frequented makeup and skincare indie shops – I literally became obsessed with beauty when I lived in Italy.
Bologna is Italy’s best kept secret and a great off-the-beaten-path destination. I had the amazing opportunity to live in this city where I experienced its rich history, diverse culture, and amazing cuisine. It is a relatively small city best explored by foot since you’ll discover more than what you came for. In the span of 9 months living here, I’ve acquired an arsenal of must-see sites, experiences, and trattorias around the city, but here are my top 4 favorites:
Explore Piazza Maggiore
photo by Gene Espinueva
Piazza Maggiore is the main square located in Bologna’s bustling historic center. Around here you’ll find a copious amount of historic places to visit, restaurants to gorge tagliatelle al ragù in, and shopping streets where you can find local Italian products like mortadella and black classic Italian leather flats. During my stay, I spent majority of my time in this area exploring every nook and cranny. I highly recommend visiting theTeatro Anatomico in Palazzo d’Archiginassio, a historic anatomical theatre, where students once learned and observed dissections of cadavers during their Anatomy classes. If you are an avid shopper, stroll towards the west side of the square and you’ll find 4 parallel streets filled with shops. I personally love Antica Profumeria del Sacro Cuore, a stylish fragrance emporium dedicated to only selling fragrance and skincare from less mainstream brands.
Shop around Quadrilatero
photo by Liane Pamuspusan
Walk towards east of Piazza Maggiore and you will stumble upon an area of cobblestone streets filled with food stalls, cafes, and stomach churning delicatessen shops. Named as theQuadrilatero, this area that dates back to Medieval times used to be a place of trade and commerce. Nowadays, it is a place where foodies go to taste and purchase Bologna’s local cuisine. Stop by Tamburini to ogle, shop, and eat a selection of Bologna’s specialties, like thetortellini and mortadella. If you are like me, and you like to browse and take pictures, walk down Via Pescherie Vecchie and you’ll meet colorful stalls of fruits and vegetables.
Enjoy the local Bolognese cuisine
photo by Liane Pamuspusan
It is an imperative task that one must go to Bologna and enjoy the local cuisine it offers. I enjoyed one too many trattorias during my stay here, but one of my favorites is Trattoria del Rosso. Here you can order typical Bolognese cuisine such as tagliatelle al ragù, and crescentine with cold cuts, including mortadella, and soft cheeses like stracchino and squaquerone. If you would like to enjoy a good old cup of gelato, head over to La Sorbetteria di Castiglione or Cremeria Funivia where you’ll find a variety of gelato flavors that will suit your taste buds.
Hike up to San Luca
photo by Liane Pamuspusan
Have an hour or two to spare and want to burn off all the food you ate? Walk or run through the 666 “portico” (arcades)to the top of San Luca. You will get an up close view of theSanctuary of Madonna of San Luca church and also get a breathtaking view of the city below.
In my opinion, the best photographs you take during your travels are the ones that literally gave you goosebumps.
Basilica Maxentius and Constantine
A once massive church within the Roman Forum. As I walked into this place, I remember listening to Rick Steves’ guide explaining and describing this once ginormous building. His words literally gave me goosebumps as I walked and looked through this area. I don’t know if it was because of how Rick described this building or the idea that I was standing on what is a historical landmark. I knew I just had to take a picture to remember that feeling.
Roman Colosseum and Constantine’s Arch
Upon my first arrival to Rome, this was the very first landmark I saw. It was so surreal. I remembered thinking back to my “Rome” class in college and telling myself how lucky I am to actually see firsthand what I studied and learned about.
I know nothing about this building, but the tiles, the guy with the accordion and the bird just made this photograph amazing.
What photographs did you take that made you feel a certain way?
How do you conquer your fears? Do you hide from them or face them head on?
I hear it’s better to face them head on.
There are many moments in my life where I’ve faced my fears and succumb to the dormant adventurous spirit I have. Take for example the chairlift I rode at Anacapri. I have this fear of heights – I imagine myself falling face down and splatting my head against a pavement or in this case rolling down the grassy, stony grounds of Mount Solaro. I will never remember how I managed to get on this chairlift, but I do remember how funny it was that I never realized I paid and lined up to cross Mount Solaro on a chairlift.
It’s nice to know there’s a silver lining at the end of facing your fears. The view from the chairlift is really amazing and once you get to the top, you get to see the blue waters Capri is known for. Or look at this ubiquitous picture taken from the Cupola of St. Peter’s Basilica. I didn’t take this picture for fear of dropping my phone over the fenced area, but it was a worthwhile experience to see and take in.
Today, I have different set of fears I need to face. I’m currently having a hard time seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but with the help of prayers to God and self motivation, the light will soon show itself and I’ll end up in the same place I was in Anacapri and Vatican City.
This sculpture is located inside the Duomo museum in Florence. The piece is by Italian Renaissance artist and sculptor, Donatello. What drew me to this sculpture is how grotesque and “real” the artist portrayed Mary Magdalene. Most of the European sculptures you tend to see were created to look perfect (David anyone?), this one however depicted the rawness of reality. Just look at her expressive eyes and her palms placed together to show that she is praying before Jesus Christ. Observe the way how she was sculpted to look so haggard.
I encourage you to visit Museo dell’Opera del Duomo during your travels to Florence. It’s definitely one of the off the beaten path museums that one must experience on top of the Accademia and Uffizi.
I discovered a new app yesterday (thanks to this Design Sponge post) called Happier. In a nutshell, this app is an electronic form of a gratitude journal where you list everything that makes you happy. I started using the app yesterday and now it sparked me to start a blog series about the things I am grateful for.
Let me start this series with Italy.
I studied Roman history back in college and since then I yearned to see and experience all the places I learned about. Fast forward to 2011, I packed my bags and flew to Bologna, Italy, where I stayed for 9 months to study fashion and luxury goods business. The rest, I will say is history.
Living in Italy gave me the chance to immerse myself in a completely different environment. I learned the language, ate the food (duh!), and travelled from north to south. Of course, I visited all the places my Roman history college professor spoke about and to put it mildly, it was breathtaking.
Living in Italy also gave me the opportunity to see how daily life functioned – it was FAR from the American way of life. The Italians live by the motto, “Dolce Far Niente” or “the sweetness of doing nothing”. Shops close on Thursday afternoons. Internet connection will not be installed the day after you call it in, but rather 4 months after the fact. Transportation strikes do happen and if they do, best that you chill out. Wine during lunch time is a must. American latte equals cappuccino in Italy (Latte means “milk” in Italy, so beware).
Living in Italy gave me a sense of the world outside of the one I created before. It opened my eyes to a ton of possibilities and connected me with people from different worlds.
Tell me, what are you grateful for today? Do share via comments below or tweet me @lianepamuspusan.
In every city you visit in Italy, there is bound to be that one big church built and decorated to the nines. My favorite one from my Italian travel adventure of 2011-2012 was Milan’s Duomo. The gothic details are what drew me to this church. I can’t even tell you how amazing it is because the picture below do not really do it justice.
Have you seen the Colosseum in Rome? Tell me about how you felt the first time you set eyes on the Colosseum.
My story was pretty fantastic. As I walked down the road towards this ginormous piece of architecture, I was in awe and I couldn’t stop smiling. I couldn’t believe that I was a few steps away from a piece of history I only saw on textbook.
It was also surreal to be around the area because you literally imagine what it was like back in the day when Roman people from all classes came into this place to watch gladiators and animals fight to their death.
It’s also cool to think about how sports stadiums from around the globe were built to embody the Colosseum’s look. This piece of history literally was the first stadium ever built.