Last weekend we drove to Bologna, the car packed to the roof with enough tomato passata, jams and assorted food stuffs to feed a small army for a month or three students for a fortnight. (Actually Sam shares his flat with four other people, but two of them are girls, who doubtless rarely eat jam).
Aldo and I hung out in my favourite square, the Piazza di Santa Stefano, at the Caffe Sette Chiese. He was stationed in Bologna for eight months during military service, and his stories of that time are so full of fun times and nights out that I suspect they had little time to suffer hardship, let alone do much marching.
Back in June Jasper and I spent a day in Bologna helping Sam move house. While I threw away empty bottles and scrubbed floors Sam drove his things to the new place, a total of four trips. A month later we received four traffic fines: he had driven on a bus-only lane for a distance of 50 metres. With this in mind we approached the drive into Bologna with some trepidation. Our hotel offered parking and a day’s travel permit but knowing how difficult it is to spot the signs regarding bus lanes and other dangers, we carefully followed their instructions on entering the city only to find the main road closed halfway. We turned off, got lost a few times, and finally found our way back to the station. Then, seconds too late, Sam said from the back of the car “I think we’re getting to that bit of road….!” It reminded me of my favourite gag in Bugs Life: ”Don’t look at the light!”
The cobblestones from the Piazza sometimes look concave, sometimes convex. Perhaps the police of Bologna will look at their photograph of four frozen fearful faces snapped through the windscreen of our car and say “Not them, again! It must be an optical illusion.”