I arrived in Bologna completely exhausted. Bologna was the final destination of my three weeks trip. My friends and I started in Berlin, roamed around Greece and ended in Italy. It was a great trip but a very tiring one.
We were all students, so summer was the best way to travel as we had no classes. However, it also meant extremely hot weather, crowds of tourists and booked up accommodations. I thought I could handle summer in Europe, me being Indonesian and all that, but no. At times I felt like melting and just wanted to get under the shades and slurp some ice tea. The trip was great as a whole, but it didn’t mean we didn’t have any glitches. From staying at a hotel in a shady neighbourhood to getting stung by a jellyfish, we had it all but we seemed to pull it through and enjoyed the trip nevertheless.
Bologna was our last stop before returning to France. Knowing that it was our last stop, we booked ourselves a nice hotel. The location of the hotel was near the city centre and we could easily catch the bus from just outside of the hotel.
Bologna is a beautiful city, no doubt. The atmosphere was easy going, the people seemed friendly and most of all, I was looking forward to tasting its wonderful food. It was my kind of city.
I really wanted to enjoy Bologna, I really did, but I was too exhausted. I came to Bologna with my energy maxed out in all the other places that the “easy going” atmosphere seemed like a lullaby that made me want to sleep soundly. It didn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy Bologna at all though.
I sat at Piazza Maggiore while watching passersby and locals enjoying the summer together. I admired Fontana del Nettuno and all the other notable buildings around the square like Basilica di San Petronio and Palazzo d’Accursio. It was such a shame that I didn’t get the chance to get to know them better. At that time, I just wanted to sit and watch the world go by at the very centre of Bologna.
My friends managed to drag me out of my daydream to walk around other parts of the city, with the promise of gelato along the way. Bologna used to be a city of towers, now there are still some left including two famous ones. I saw the two of them while I was wandering aimlessly, I even took pictures of it!
Even after a gelato (or was it two?), I was still not in my most “travelous” spirit. Usually I would be eager to see all the main attractions, even slipping in a few quirky activities like street art hunting, but NO I was like a zombie. Somehow my friends and I ended up in a park, I think it was Giardini Margherita but I am not entirely sure. I do remember sitting on one of the benches, feeling sleepy, watching other people sleep on the green grass.
Seriously, this trip was definitely the worst documented trip I have ever had!
However I remember that fine evening my friend and I dined at one of the restaurants in town. It was probably the best tasting pasta I have ever had, Bologna’s culinary scene did not disappoint at all! I wished I ate more though.
After eating, we walked about the city again, passing churches and walking through beautiful arches. I really slowed down and enjoyed the city, seeing the locals went about their day. One of my most memorable stop was at Biblioteca dell’ Archiginnasio – such a stunning building! I wandered around the building, admiring the lovely architecture. The building was once the main building for University of Bologna. Imagine being a student in this building!
On my last night there, I remembered strolling around the city. It was quieter than it was during the day. My friend and I, now down to the two of us since my other friend left a day early, picked a random place to have dinner. I had pizza, a big bowl of salad to share and a cold beer. The restaurant had outdoor seats facing a church. It was such a beautiful night. I remembered sitting there, talking with my friend, laughing and letting myself unwind from the exhaustion of travel.
Usually when I go on trips, I would learn a whole lot about the place I visited. This time though, I learned more about myself. I learned to slow down more when I travel. I learned to give myself more time to enjoy each destination. Slowing down means appreciating each place instead of rushing and only learning the surface. I learned not to be “greedy”, to wanting to see EVERYTHING. I regretted being so exhausted that I didn’t quite see the remarkable Bologna.
However, even though I was tired, that last night in Bologna was perfect. That was how travel was supposed to be, enjoying oneself.
I could’ve fallen deeply in love with Bologna, but I didn’t get the chance because I overtired myself. Bologna and I need a do-over, and I really can see myself being madly in love with it.
Have you ever been so overtired that you didn’t get to enjoy your destination? Would you return back and fix that?