Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Moving abroad Part 4: Housing and Transportation

We lucked out. Truly. When Michael got accepted to his program I immediately started panicking, "How in the world do I find an apartment!?!" Our first thought was to do what we did when we moved to DC for the summer: contact the local ward.

(For those unfamiliar, a ward is a group of LDS church members, organized geographically, who worship together, and care for and teach one another).

We looked up the local ward leadership and wrote an email to the bishop of the Bologna Ward. He responded right away and said they knew of a few places. This is one of the greatest parts of LDS Church membership: they're every where and you have an instant "in" with the locals.

We also have a great resource through Johns Hopkins who assists students in finding housing for the duration of the school year. He has maintained relationships with landlords over the years and knows of several apartments available. We also sent him a message. We feel really lucky to have such great resources at our disposal for finding housing.

When we arrive in Bologna, we'll stay in a hotel for the first few days we're over there while we look at some apartments and then decide on one that's right for us. We're looking at apartments that are furnished because of the limited duration of our stay.

It is a little nerve-wracking to me to think that we're going to pack up all of our things, fly across the ocean and move away from everything familiar without even knowing where exactly we're going to live. But that's part of the adventure, right?

Once we're all settled in, our primary mode of transportation will be bikes. We both have commuter bikes (Mikey got me a new one while we were in California) that we'll be checking and The Lou will tag along in a seat of some sort (we have yet to work out exactly what we want to purchase but we're thinking the baby seat by Topeak even though it's really ugly. . . Other suggestions?) We won't be bringing a car or renting or purchasing one there. We will, however, use public transportation as we need to. From what I understand, Bologna has a great public transit system. When we travel, we'll take trains (or maybe planes) to get to places further away. (I can't wait to take a train again!!)

Other moving abroad posts:
Being Over-prepared
Documentation
Flight Arrangements 

4 comments:

gigi said...

I wouldn't recommend biking in Bologna. It's just not safe in Italy's big cities. They don't make the same allowances over there that they do in America. There's no such thing as a bike lane. Stick with walking and public transportation.

paige crosland anderson said...

Interesting you say that. We've heard from a few people that biking is the best way to get around in Bologna. There are several ZTL's (Zona a Traffico Limitato) where they specifically keep vehicular traffic out to make way for foot and bike commuters.

This website says biking is the easiest way to get around:
http://www.hellobologna.it/en/guida/muoversi-a-bologna/in-bicletta

And this website names Bologna as one of the world's top bike-friendly cities:
http://ezinearticles.com/?Top-Bike-Friendly-Cities-in-the-World&id=6329973

The city also offers dozens of bicycle tours and there are scores of bike routes/maps online.

I'm hoping we'll be okay. I'll have to write an update about how it goes...

erin said...

as far as biking with kids... we loved the wee rider. It fits onto the front of your bike, as opposed to the back. I like being able to see max, know what he's doing, and I'm able to talk to him without having to turn around and risk loosing balance. Also the center of gravity is MUCH better with the kid riding in front than on the back. Your option looks like it has a lot of extra safety features however. Anyway, there are my two cents. I can't wait to start reading your posts from Italy! It'll be here before you know it!

Linae said...

Bolzano has bike lanes every where.. Bologna is way bigger so I'd be surprised if there were no bike lanes at all.

As for the housing: I know you will be just fine - but I really do mean it when I say that I'll help you with everything I can.
Let me know if there's anything I can do.

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