Wednesday, May 19, 2010


the wall

the walled city

If I had to be away from home and friends on my birthday, what better place to be than in the wonderful city of Ferrara, with brand new friends. Luigi, a friend of a friend, met me at the train station after the one hour trip from Bologna. The distance was not great, but the train stopped at: Corticella, Castlemaggiore, Funo Centergross, S. Giorgio d. P., S. Pietro in C., Gallieria, Poggio Renatico, and Coronella. (I could not resist recording these names.)

Ferrara is surrounded by a huge wall with six entrances into the old city which is divided into the medieval and Renaissance sections, distinguished by the street widths and architecture. The city is proud of the fact that there are more bicycles in old town than cars...that is the way people get around in Ferrara, and that is the way Luigi was determined to show me his city. Any notion I might have had about a leisurely stroll through Ferrara, recovering from my episodes of the previous 2 days - San Luca and the tower - where quickly dispelled. Once I realized the inevitable I found some degree of comfort in reminding myself that riding a bike was like riding a horse or milking a cow...something you never forget. In addition, I was bolstered by the successes of the last 2 days, so with just a bit of trepidation I set out on the bike, dutifully following Luigi, and just like the hike to San Luca, I was frequently passed by others, obviously older than my 71 years. More motivation. I was a little wobbly at real slow speeds and did much better when we moved a tad faster. The hardest parts were stopping and starting, stopping because my feet just about reached the ground, and starting because my jeans were somewhat tight and made it difficult to raise my leg over and onto the bike. I have since convinced myself that NO ONE really witnessed those graceless maneuvers.

To move this story along, we spent about 2 hours in the morning and 3 in the afternoon on the bikes, stopping now and then to visit a museum, church, or gallery. In the course of the day I learned that Luigi was incapable of passing a rough cobble stoned street without turning onto it. By days end parts of my anatomy were trying to communicate with the F... off this bike you idiot!!!

My reward for all of this was a camera full of photos and more special than that...a dinner with Luigi and his wonderful family in their condominium. I celebrated my birthday with Luigi, his lovely wife Caterinna ( my apologies if I have misspelled the name), and their handsome sons, Stefano and Giovanni (pronounced Joe-vanni).

I took the 9:30 train back to Bologna, a 30 minute trip because of only one stop, hailed a cab, and was back “home” at 10:15. What a day...and today I recover.

The Rigosi family...Giovanni on the left - Stefano on the right of Luigi


franca_estes said...

You should really be proud of yourself! Is there anything that you can't do???? I am enjoying viewing your pictures and reading you blog. I am so jealous right now.

Gus said...

Belated happy birthday to you, and we think this is one you will cherish and remember for a while.


Patience Renzulli said...

Dear Lord please bring my husband safely home to me, never mind that he is crazy in his head!!! (I can't wait to see the photos; I just want you alive to show them to me. PLEASE!)