Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Hometown favorites, a tale of two cities

I have been approached by Kendra to write a piece together about our two hometowns, Chicago and Bologna. I amazingly found some time to do it, so I hope you enjoy reading it!

Chicago

While I have always loved to travel, there is no question what city has the number one place in my heart: Chicago. My hometown, Chicago, is known for being one of the best cities in the country. With a plethora of shopping centers, history, restaurants, sports teams, and more, Chicago certainly has something to offer everyone. As you read this article, you'll learn more about Chicago and what makes it so attractive.

Shopping
While big chains like Macy’s and Nordstrom are great, I love the independent shops in Chicago as well. One of my favorites is the Cerato Boutique. On Southport Avenue, it boasts being the original Chicago Boutique, and not just a boutique in Chicago. I come here when I am looking for the perfect outfit, and there is something for women of every style in this amazing store.

The Navy Pier
One of Chicago's most famous landmarks is the Navy Pier. This pier runs over 3,000 feet long and dates back to the early 20th-century. Navy Pier is one of my favorite weekend spots, and my kids love to enjoy rides on the 150-foot tall Ferris wheel. Regardless of your age, the Navy Pier offers something for everyone, including scenic parks, souvenir shops, restaurants, and more. The miniature golf course here is one of my kids’ favorites as well!

Skyline 
The big city lights have always put a twinkle in my eye, as the skyline in Chicago is truly remarkable. Whether I am admiring it when leaving a fun pizza dinner with my family or driving into the city early in the morning as the sun is rising, it is really beautiful. If you are ever visiting Chicago, use a site like gogobot to find a great list of hotels in the city. Do yourself a favor and check out where the hotel is located, so you can really enjoy the city.

Fine Dining
One of my favorite places to eat in Chicago is Café Ba-Ba-Reeba! Famous for their Spanish tapas and paella, this is a fun place to come with the whole family, or a group of friends. With tapas dining, you can all order a few small plates and pass them around, trying a little bit of everything! Located in Lincoln Park, it is a beautiful area to enjoy a meal in. Tapas dining is always so much fun, as you always end up enjoying something new and different.

There's no denying how appealing Chicago is. Whether you go to shop, sightsee, or eat, you'll certainly enjoy a memorable vacation.

Bologna

Even though for the last 12 years I lived in Dublin, I am originally from Bologna, a town in the north of Italy, with hills to the south and flat land in all other directions. As you land in Bologna in the summer, the haze typical of a hot place will surround you and the smell of my hometown hugs me as I step down onto the tarmac. It makes my heart smile. While I grew up in the suburbs, my parent relocate to the city centre and now when I visit I have absolutely everything at my doorstep.

The city center
Almost unique to Bologna are the porticoes that allow for comfortable shopping no matter the weather. The streets radiate from the main square (Piazza Maggiore) in all directions and the typical red bricks of the ancient building, the medieval towers and monuments could be out of a history book. Then of course many shops of all kind bring you back to the modern era…

The two towers
There are two towers in the city center, Asinelli and Garisenda both leaning and one almost twice the eighth of the other, a memento of two rival families of the XII century who challenged each other in building the tallest tower. You can climb up 498 steps to the top of the Asinelli (the tallest) to enjoy one of the most beautiful views of the city and its red roofs.

The University
Bologna is famous around the World for hosting the most ancient university still in existence. Unlike many modern universities, with a proper perimeter which defines a campus, here the various departments are part of the city center. Picturesque buildings hosts the faculties of Law and Arts as well as Science. Bologna is kept young by the students that every year arrive here to study.

The food
How not to mention the fine food you can enjoy here. Bologna is strangely known for “Spaghetti Bolognese” which I actually never had in my life and I do not know any one but tourists who claim this is in fact a traditional dish. It is not, no one would eat spaghetti with mince meat sauce, and you won’t have to search to hard to find a traditional trattoria in the city, there are so many and for all kind of pockets, and you cannot be wrong if you enter somewhere that doesn’t show a menu in English!

1 comment:

  1. How lovely! Thank you for sharing!

    I have heard the pasta con ragú answer from many an angry italians when asked about pasta bolognese. But the power of urban myth is powerful than truth. :-) I get asked a lot if we are all blood thirsty gymnasts, my lot and I, to which I always answer "Ov corse ve are", and no one gets it... It takes too long to explain the truth, so yes, let's stoke up on garlic and sharpen those stakes, the gymansts are here. :-)

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