Saturday, October 15, 2005

Vivienne Westwood killed my dog and other weird tales

Nellie arrived Thursday and left this afternoon, a far too brief visit but one that we packed enough activity into to zonk me out for the rest of today. Thursday night we were out for aperitivi before we went to dinner (at Fantoni, where we ate very well for absurdly little money). At the outdoor tables there was only one spot free alongside some young men who were in conversation, ocaisonally producing pocket dictionaries. When we sat, I could hear heavy German and Spanish accents, but they spoke to each other in Italian.
Eventually we all chatted, leading to this story from the German:

"My boyfriend studies fashion design with Vivienne Westwood. I've met her a couple of times but I really don't like her. I think she killed my dog.
I stopped into a cafe one time where my boyfriend was meeting her. I wanted to pick him up at the end of their meeting. Vivienne Westwood petted my dog for a few minutes, but then turned to me and announced, "Your dog is ugly." And then three days later it died. It was thirteen years old already, but I still think she killed it."

At Fantoni we had very tasty plates of pasta, bucatini with pancetta, saffron, and scamorza, and tortelloni with rounds of cipolotti and culatello, house wine, coffee, an excellent slice of cake speckled with amaretti crumbs and chocalate chunks.

Friday was our tourist day. We climbed the Asinelli tower (around 100m and 500 steps) to look out over a hazy Bologna. Legend is that if you go up before you graduate college, you'll never graduate. On our way down, we passed and congratulated a young woman wearing her ribboned laurel wreath, just having officially graduated. We wandered through the sette chiese, saw the piazze of the center of town, the Montagnola market, tried real mortadella with pistacchios, saw Neptune's statue and the secret underground rivers... We also made special stops for Nellie at the two best gelaterie in town, on Via Castiglione where we had ricotta-carmelized fig, dark chocolate, and pinenut praline flavors; after dinner at Gelatauro Nellie had the pumpkin cinnamon and pistacchio while I grossed her out with pear and taleggio sorbet. Stinky cheese ground in with sweet pears, mmmm. At another cheap, lovely trattoria I had roast guinea fowl, while my companions had big plates of tortellini. Then live jazz.

So today, exhausted, we wound up the adventures with a little shopping and fat piadine at a stand near my house. Fat grilled breads filled with chicory and parmesan or gorgonzola and grilled zucchini. I put Nellie on a train and went home to nap.


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