Yesterday I went out to a laundromat on Via Inerio to wash my bedding. The tiny washing machine in our apartment wouldn't handle the volume of my load, and there is no dryer. On the way there I got some cash at an ATM, but the denominations were too large to use in the laundromat, so I put my load in to wash using coins, then went to a convenience store nearby (Frutta Inerio) and bought some cookies and a drink. The proprietor spoke good English and asked me where I was from after I spoke to him in Italian. Is it my midwestern accent that gives me away?
The instructions in the laundromat were not too difficult to understand, but I couldn't figure out how to start the dryer, and an older man helped me. When I struggled to fold my sheet and duvet cover, a stout, blonde woman took pity on me and we folded them together.
Bookstores are like catnip to me, and there a many in Bologna, especially in the university area. I stopped in three of them on my way home, wishing that I could read Italian at something resembling normal speed.
The last bookstore I stopped in (Modo Info Shop, Via Mascarella) had a definite counterculture vibe; it also had a few of the Penguin Classics, and I bought two, How to Use Your Enemies by Baltesar Gracian, and Travels in the Land of Serpents and Pearls, by Marco Polo.
About an hour after I got home, I discovered that my wallet was missing. Panic! I rushed back to Modo Info Shop. The clerk took one look at me and handed me the wallet with both hands, as if it were a holy object. We had a laugh over it.
So there is a moral to this little narrative. People in Bologna have been uniformly kind and friendly to us. Since we emerged from Covid isolation and the Christmas holidays, we have also made a lot of friends. We are impressed by how open and hospitable the people in this city seem to be.