So to get up to Parma and see all those lovely Correggios, or really anywhere in the area, one has to go through Bologna. And that is a bit tricky for me because the Bologna train station is my long-standing mortal enemy. Bologna is one of the bigger train hubs in the entire country and I have had TERRIBLE luck there. I’ve missed trains, I’ve had two hour delays, I’ve missed trains because of delays, but on the way up to Parma something new happened: my train was cancelled. Just straight-up cancelled. This situation was not improved because of my hunger, or the fact that it was freezing and I had to wait an extra hour until getting on a slower regional train instead of the faster intercity that I had paid for. I would give up on Bologna completely except it’s the gateway to some unbelievably awesome places, including Parma. So I will continue to suffer at the Bologna train station so I can see things like this:
As these pictures show, Parma was fancy and lovely. I was also LUCKY because the weather was gorgeous on the days I was wandering around for hours and hours. But my trip to Parma was memorable (and surprisingly topical) for other reasons: my dear companion and I ate horse (intentionally) for the very first time! In the States and in the UK there are big scandals occurring right now because of mislabeled, unpleasant surprise horse meat showing up where it shouldn’t. But in Parma, we had correctly labeled, pleasant surprise horse meat at both a dinner and a lunch and it saw GOOD. Like France, Italy is a country where horse meat is considered regular food, though I rarely see it on menus in central/southern parts of the country. I’ve been wanting to try it for ages, and thankfully finally got the chance.
The meat was lean, not game-y, and in both meals was served cut-up in small pieces with vegetables. I would definitely order it again. I also might have yelped “take that horses!” after the first bite, because it felt like a bit of retribution because horses have SCARED the bejesus out of me for my entire life. Now despite a horse connection/tradition in my family, I have never felt a domesticated animal/pet love for these giant animals (only fear), so I don’t personally understand the english-speaking worlds reluctance to eat horse. So I say, if you’re up in Parma, give cavallo (and torta fritta, which are DELICIOUS and less controversial pillows of fried dough) a shot!