Perfume Story: October 2012 Archives

October 2012 Archives

A lady in Bologna

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From Milan to Bologna

After taking an escalator to the second floor of the Milano Centrale railway station, I arrived at the main concourse. The station was full of passengers waiting for trains, and people who seemed to just hang around for no purpose. A policeman was patrolling the area in a mini-car that fit only one person.


Anyways, it isn't safe to leave luggage by itself in Milan Station. I think the best and only way to keep luggage safe is to board the train as soon as possible. However, the problem is that you can only find out train departures only 20 to 30 minutes beforehand on the electric bulletin board. Therefore, I was forced to keep waiting at the dangerous concourse and watching my luggage. At last, the board announced my train. There is one important task before boarding the train. You must insert the passenger ticket into the yellow automatic stamp booth at the entrance of the platforms, which will stamp the date and the time. If you forget to do it, you must pay an outrageous fine if the conductor catches you.

After I learned my Eurostar train was to leave at 5:00 pm from platform No. 10, I tried to insert my ticket into the yellow automatic stamp booth. It did not work. Someone told me to try the next platform but that did not work, either. Finally at the third platform, the stamp worked. So many machines were broken. The maintenance was poor.

The first-class car of the Eurostar train is closest to the platform entrance while the second-class cars are farther away. In other words, the front of the train is the second class and the rear is the first class. It is good that we don't have to walk much to board the first class car. However, there is a problem concerning the train entrance. The levels of the platform and the train are not even. Because of the big gap between the platform and the train, we have to lift up our large luggage to board the train. It would be great if they could fix it but I doubt they will. Please be alert if you are planning to travel Europe by train.

The Eurostar left one minute later than scheduled. It was almost full. The announcement of the departure was only in Italian. The only announcement in English was for the restaurant car on the train. As expected, the first class passengers were dressed well. There was a beautiful African lady sitting across from me who caught my eye. She was tall and dressed in slacks. Her intelligent eyes charmingly moved with her facial expression. She wore her hair in braids. She looked like a businesswoman since she took out a pen and documents from her bag.

The conductor finally came to check our tickets. I showed it to him with relief since I didn't forget to get my ticket stamped in the station. Following the conductor, a man and a woman came to serve drinks and snacks with wet tissues. After a while, they came back to collect used cups. I was impressed by their quality of service.

After about ten minutes, the scenery from the train changed from residential areas to industrious areas, and later mostly farmland.

While I was watching the scenery, I realized that I was annoyed by passengers talking on the cell phone. Cellphone use was not prohibited on the train, so most passengers did not mute them. I explored the next car. The layout of the car was a different, and it had a large bathroom for handicapped people.

The city of Bologna

The train arrived at Bologna at 18:45, three minutes later than scheduled. Outside it was still bright. While it was hard enough to get off the platform with the heavy luggage, it was more troublesome to carry it down the stairs to the basement. There was no escalator at all. There were more stairs up to the taxi stand on the ground floor from the basement. An old lady in black clothes with huge luggage stopped and sighed to see long stairs in front of her. I wish I could help her but I had my own big suitcase, too. Another lady asked the old lady something, but she could not help her, either. I walked up the stairs to the taxi stand, hoping that eventually someone could help her. I finally arrived at the taxi stand, but I still felt bad for her.

Bologna is known for many things such as colleges, gourmet foods, porticos, its nickname "The Red City," and its one hundred towers. This famous city's population is about 380,000. It is the capital of Emilia-Romagna Region in Northern Italy and located in the center of the Italian Peninsula as well as on the Via Emilia. Since it is a hub of main roads and trains, the city has prospered in commerce, industry, agriculture and cultural exchange throughout history.

Around 1 B.C., Bologna was colonized by the Romans and was called Bononia. Since then, other peoples have attacked Bologna, so they have been always looked for independence until now. In the center of the city stand the Towers of Bologna, which appeared in Dante's The Divine Comedy (Inferno). The 97-meter-high one is called Asinelli, while the 48-meter tower is called the Garisenda. Because of problems in its foundation, the Garisenda is leaning. When I observed it closely, the leaning was more obvious. The foundation of the tower was unevenly buried in the ground.

From this leaning tower, the main road led to the castle gate. As I entered through the gate, I saw the Centro Storico, where there are 18-kilometer-long porticos. The University of Bologna, the oldest university in Europe, exists here as well. Students around the world come here to study and many end up living here after graduation. Bologna is considered as one of the most popular cities to live in in Europe. It is also known as a convention city since various conventions are held here year-round.


People in Bologna are called "Bolognese". Because Italy was originally city-state, it is important to classify where people come from. Milano people are called Milanese, Napoli people for Napolitane and Roma people for Romane.

A lady in Bologna

In this wonderful city of Bologna, one of the most affluent neighborhood is Saragozza. I became sweaty walking up the hill to get there. It was 26 degree, too hot for April. I came to visit a house of a 60 year-old lady. I entered the front door and walked a long hall way to the living room. It had a high ceiling with oversized comfortable-looking couch.



It was unlike a modern house where the front door leads directly to a living room. It was much more spacious. The house was built in 1905 and she had been living there for two years. Before that, she lived in Venice. She loved the canals in Venice and wished to live there for life. However, since her son lives in Bologna, she decided to move here. Now she likes living here because the city is comfortable. It is not too big or small, she can walk around easily and people are not intrusive.

She said she never worked. Her father used to run a fabric business and often took business trips to Asia. She decorated the statues of Buddha and other ornaments her father had bought in Asia. They were nicely coordinated with her antique furniture.

She lives by herself in the house about the size of 130 square meters. I told her she moves very sharply and quickly. She explained that she liked walking and even working out to build muscles. Her favorite part of body is her Asian-like straight hair. She put on make-up in front to a large mirror in the bathroom. She preferred to look herself in a large mirror so she installed it when she moved in.


She used to enjoy looking at herself in a mirror more when she was younger. Now she does not do this much since she got too much sun from skiing or other outdoor activities. She feels relieved from the nuisance of daily life when looking into a large mirror. Her favorite cosmetic and perfume manufacture is Guerlain.

Looking back, if she chose to work, she imagines she could have lived more freely. As she grows older, she cannot help but reflecting upon her life. When she puts make up in front of a large mirror, she is telling herself that her decisions she made in life were good ones. The make-up time gives such a private and reflecting moment and that's the reason she loves it. I admire that a lady in Bologna has a wonderful life philosophy.

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