|Bologna is all red; it’s known as La Rosso|
|Bologna has 44 km of arcades|
|An angel sculpted by Michaelangel|
|Perfectly pointess towers|
This is our second trip to Italy this year, and our fifth trip–previous trips were Rome (twice), Florence (twice), Venice and Val D’Aosta.
One of the things I enjoy about Italy is the friendliness, the sense of relaxation, the slow pace of life. It is considered good manners in restaurants for the waiters to take their time bringing a menu, taking your order, bring your food, bringing the bill. I cannot help smiling as I watch the voluble friendly Italians. We make friends with the local grocer and patisserie owner. He gives us a diary with his email address and phone number. “Call me from Oxford when you crave my Parma ham,” he says, “And I arrive.” “Did he mean it?” Irene asks, awed.
Food is so important here. Perhaps that makes sense. If one has to eat, why not eat good food and make it a celebration?We had the most amazing fresh tagliatelle with mushroom sauce yesterday, and gnocchi with walnuts and spinach today. The breads, the icecream, the pastries are good.
On the whole, we prize efficiency and hard work, and wouldn’t like to be on holiday forever. But for 10 days, la dolce vita is sweet. Waking late, having a breakfast of a couple of trays of delicious pastries, strolling around museums and churches and medieval city centres, lunch in an outdoor cafe.
The other thing I like about Italy is the sheer beauty. Bologna, from where I am writing this, is sheerly lovely–a maze of impossibly narrow streets with beautiful red buildings with a mass of splendid architectural details. Their 44 km. of covered arcades are a joy and marvel in themselves.
Bologna as a city is probably one of the most charming I’ve visited–up there with Venice and Oxford and the canals of Amsterdam and Bruges and Ghent. The museums and churches weren’t outstanding; what we loved was the eye-candy, the narrow red streets, houses protruding into them, the medieval architecture. The sheer beauty. I don’t think my camera did justice to it.
We feel refreshed, and rejuvenated.
I love Europe and I love European culture. We enjoyed sitting in piazzas in the evening, watching the beautiful Italians, dressed up strolled around on their evening passegiatta, kiss each other effusively, talk volubly.
Is the European century over? Are we moving into the Chinese century of Tiger Mothers, people studying hard, working hard, saving money while the Europeans are spending up, concerned with image and la dolce vita.
I don’t like that thought, for there is something so sweet, and generous-spirited and gracious about the European countries we most like to travel in Italy, France, Spain, Ireland and Greece.
Then, no, I think. It won’t be the Chinese century. It won’t be the Middle Eastern century. It won’t even be the European or the American century. It will be Christ’s century.
As the theologian Abraham Kuyper put it, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’
And with that ownership, I am well pleased.
s Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!'”
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