Practical info

Considering the fact, that I have been here in Bologna for already 5 months, I think I’m a good source of information that a newcomer might need. That’s why I decided to put here some of my observations that might prove useful for someone who has just arrived here.

1. Avoid the bridge on via Libia
Bologna is a city of bridges (even though there’s not a single river in the city), so every once in a while you’ll have to cross them, but this one is especially tricky. For the bicycle users this bridge not only is a general b*tch for it’s “steepness”: there’s no bike path and the sidewalk can barely fit one pedestrian, so of course you have to use the street. And the street is so narrow that if two cars are passing each other with also you on the side, you’ll most definitely end up crashing your bicycle into the ridicuolusly high kerb. Trust me, I know. Just don’t use that way, there are others.

2. Take warm sweaters…
…if you’re planning to stay in Bologna over the winter. I haven’t listened to people when they told me and I only took one or two things that are really warm and now I regret not taking more. I’ve noticed a weird thing in Italian houses and apartments. They have no ventilation. Plus: they only heat up their houses up to 18-19 degrees (because apparently heating costs too much). All this results in having a chronic cold (in my case at least). I come from a country where the winter is real and we heat our houses up to 22-23 degrees usually. Italians start panicking when it snows a bit in the winter, but at the same time they don’t see a problem in freezing your ass off in your own house.

3. Don’t ever expect people to understand what bike paths are for
Bologna is a city of students and thus a city of bicycles (also because distances are not so big and driving a car around here is a true pain in the ass). Thanks to that there are SOME bike paths (don’t expect Italy to suddenly become the new Netherlands though, most of the paths end abruptly in the middle of the street). Usually they are just randomly drew on sidewalks, so invest in a bell/horn if you don’t have one yet. But even then people will not understand what is your problem when you honk at them. And if you run into a woman with a stroller she is more likely to tell you that she has wheels as well than to move away to the proper part of the sidewalk.


Walk the walk

You know how you only really notice things when you’re walking? Cycling, going by bus or by bus only makes you miss things in the surroundings.

Lately I have been walking much more often than in October or November. Mostly because the weather is not really in our favour, it rains or it’s just cold and let’s be honest: cycling around Bologna in this period is not very comfortable, especially if you have to carry a computer (+/- 4 kg) with you and/or go very far.

It’s weird, cause I cycled almost everyday when I was in Finland. In winter. And it REALLY was a winter there. With at least -15 degrees and 80 cm of snow. And still I cycled each day. But of course, Finland – the wonderful country that it is – was making it easy for me.

Anyways, walking makes you see more things. For example recently I have noticed that around my place there are at least 6 different hairdresser’s. Within 300m reach! It’s really strange how many hair saloons there are in Bologna (or maybe in Italy in general). It is almost impossible to find a flower shop around, but hair saloons are everywhere. They are like churches in Poland: on every corner.