One of the highlights of my visit to Italy every year is time spent with my friends in Italy. Unfortunately, it did not work out to meet up with Francesco & Irene this year, but I did get to spend another wonderful weekend with Katia & Guido in Coccaglio. They recently married and are living in a wonderful little apartment nearby Katia's parents' house.
Saturday, June 16th
After finishing up my last minute packing, I grabbed a quick coffee and then headed to the Ca' Doro vaporetto stop. I was a little nervous about how packed the vaporetto would be as there were many others also waiting with their bags to head to the train station. The vaporetto was pretty full, but at least we were not packed in like sardines. I have heard of having to pay extra when taking luggage onboard. So far (knock on wood), I have never had to pay.
I took a Eurostar train to Brescia where Katia met me. We headed back to her apartment and had lunch.
View of a monastery above Coccaglio:
After lunch, we went to Guido's shop to see if he could fix my suitcase. I was hoping that he could get it to go all the way up and down but at the very least, I needed for it to close or the airline, which by the way damaged my handle, would not let me check the bag and it was too big to carry on. Guido took the handle apart. It was pretty interesting seeing the inside of a luggage handle. Even with a little oil, it was not going to budge. He finally found the problem. There was a huge dent in the metal halfway down one of the handles. My bag must have been dropped from pretty high up and had to have landed on something hard for it to dent like that. Guido was able to get the handle to close but we could not make it go up any higher.
After working on my bag, we went over to a bike shop to get his bike tuned up for his first iron man race that he was going to participate in the following weekend in Germany. He has been training pretty hard for this race. I am proud to say that he finished the race in about 13 hours. Bravo Guido!!
Next stop, gelato! There is a wonderful little gelateria we usually go to in Rovato. Yummy! The gelato was as good as ever. That night, we ate at La Smorfida in Erbusco. La Smorfida is a osteria and pizzeria. I had a delicious pizza topped with zucchini flowers.
Because Katia and Guido did not have a pull-out couch, we all slept at her parents' house as they were away on holiday. In the middle of the night, I sat up on the bed to get up to open the window. The bed, which was sort of like a metal futon bed, sunk down and collapsed in one section. I tried and tried to fix it but it would not straighten out. Katia woke up and heard a noise coming from my bedroom. She came in to see what was wrong. I was laughing so hard as we both tried to fix the bed. After a few tries, she was able to get it to straighten out, and then we both went back to bed.
Sunday, June 17th
Sunday morning, we had our usual breakfast at Bar Luma in Iseo. We have been going there for breakfast almost every year that I have visited. Iseo is a beautiful little town situated right on the Lake (Lake Iseo). One day, I want to stay there for a few days. After our coffee and brioches, we took a short walk by the lake and then wandered through an antique show. There were so many wonderful pieces of wood furniture being sold. I wish I could have figured out a way to transport one home without it costing so much.
Pictures of Iseo:
After our time in Iseo, we headed back to Katia & Guido's apartment to watch the DVD of their wedding. I was invited to their wedding but was not able to attend due to my work schedule. The wedding was so special! Katia told me that there was a part about me in the DVD. I wondered what she meant as I watched the DVD. Then, at the very end, there was copy of the picture of a card I sent them for their wedding! It really meant so much to me that they included me even though I was not able to attend. Katia then brought out a copy of the DVD for me to keep and there on the cover again was the picture of a bride and groom that I sent and said looked just like them.
After watching their wedding, I gave them a few lessons for traveling. I showed them some coins as well as the 1 dollar and 5 dollar bills. I never thought of it before but realized that our money is much more confusing than their euro money system. For instance, the dime only says "one dime" and not 10 cents. I told them to study up and plan to send them more info about American money before their trip as they will be on the mainland first before visiting me and will have to figure it out on their own. I also told them about having to take off their shoes when going through the security checkpoint and I told them all about the liquids and the magic ziploc bag.
After a wonderful pasta with seafood lunch, we drove up to the Parco Nazionale delle Incisioni Rupestri in the Val Camonica. It was about an hour or so north with lots of twisting tunnels along the way each time the road went through the mountains. I remembered to bring my ginger with me to Italy but forgot to bring it with me in the car! My stomach was not doing so well when we arrived. I sat in the front on the way back. When we arrived, a lady came out of her house and charged Guido 2 euros to park at her house.
Views from the park:
The park contains colored routes to follow where you can see rocks with engravings on them, which reminded me of Hawaiian petroglyphs. We wandered along the orange route and a couple of other colored routes and spent about an hour or so looking at some of the engravings.
One of the rocks:
When leaving, we ran some very cute sheep on the side of the road.
After returning to Coccaglio, we got ready for dinner. We were meeting friends and then going on to one of my favorite places to eat, a restaurant at an agriturismo called Le Alberrelle, which we go to almost every year that I come to visit. Lucca (the owner), always remembers me and asks me about Hawaii.
Dinner was amazing. The food, the wine, the company, all wonderful!! We had about 10 appetizers, a few pasta dishes to share, and then the main course. I was stuffed by then and wanted to save room for dessert. Katia and I shared this amazing rasberry and strawberry cake with cream on top. Another wonderful dinner at Le Alberrelle.
This time it was not too difficult to say goodbye because Katia & Guido will come to Hawaii in August for their honeymoon!!