Disclaimer: It seems like all I'm doing is traveling and having fun (which is pretty much true), but that's only because actual classes haven't started yet. After October 4, this blog will get a lot more boring, don't you worry.
Last weekend I boarded an early morning train with some other SAIS students to Parma. Parma is pretty close (45 minutes or so by train) so I thought a day trip would be nice. Last weekend was the Parma Prosciutto Festival. Apparently, in addition to parmesan cheese Parma is well known for its delicious prosciutto (thinly sliced ham-type meat).
We arrived in Parma around 9:30am, which gave us about a half-an-hour to catch a bus out to a prosciutto factory out in the suburbs where a lot of the events were occurring. We walked from the train station to the city center where we boarded a bus going to the exposition. The bus was a bit crowded as our large, awkward group of mostly American tourists piled on. One of the girls in the group got kind of nervous, so as one of the better Italian speakers in the group (sad isn't it?), I asked a guy on the bus if we were in fact going to, "La festa di prosciutto." I didn't catch all he said, be pretty much assured me that yes, we were on the correct bus for prosciutto.
We got off about 10 minutes later at a giant factory-looking building with lots of people all around. I was so excited about prosciutto, I didn't even notice that at the entrance, the fliers they handed us at the entrance were RV ads. Once inside though, we quickly realized that we were not at a prosciutto factory at all, but a giant RV exposition. We laughed for about 10 minutes because:
1. We were at a mobile home convention in the suburbs of Parma.
2. Thousands of excited Italians were excitedly flocking to all the RV exhibits. We still have no idea why they love RVs so much.
After a few photo ops, we re-boarded the bus and went back to the Parma city center. The PR people for this prosciutto festival did a great job, because they really talked it up and it ended up being pretty much one large tent with one line selling some prosciutto. We ordered some and some wine and watched a medieval parade for a nearby renaissance festival. Afterwards, we wandered around Parma, visited the famous church there (il Duomo) and had lunch.
My thoughts on Parma? Meh. I do like prosciutto, though. And RVs.