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Report 678: Italia - Umbria, Lago di Garda, Lago di Como & Visits with Friends in Empoli and Coccaglio

By girasoli from Hawaii, Spring 2005

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Page 16 of 24: Saturday – Bergamo and Cremona

photo by girasoli

Bergamo goodies

Katia had to attend a lecture in Bergamo in the morning. I went with her to Bergamo and walked around Bergamo Alta while she was busy with her class. To get to Bergamo Alta, the old center which is above the rest of Bergamo, there is a funivia you can take. Katia dropped me off at the funivia and we planned to meet there later after her class. When I got to the top, I made sure to look around so I could find the funivia again later on.

From the funivia, I walked to the Duomo, took some pictures, and then I climbed the tower, 228 steps to the top. Just as I climbed the last step to reach the top, the clock struck 10 and the bell rang LOUDLY 10 times! This is not the first time this has happened to me when climbing a tower, but each time, it surely makes me jump!

The views were spectacular! I took lots of pictures of the Duomo and the city of Bergamo from the top of the tower. I was up there alone for quite a while and finally another couple joined me at the top.

After I cimbed back down, I had a wonderful chocolate brioche and an espresso macchiato at Caffé del Tasso, a beautiful bar that is very popular and very old. There are so many wonderful little shops with delicious food in the windows all over town.

I stopped at the tourist information center after having my coffee and found out about some other things to do in Bergamo. I decided to head for the funivia that takes you to San Vigilio, an even higher spot in Bergamo. At the top, there is an old castle that you can go inside to get to an even higher spot to see wonderful views. Unfortunately, the weather was very hazy and humid and so the views were not very clear.

After going back down the funivia, I headed toward the other funivia to take me to the place where I would meet Katia. I missed the entrance and ended up walking much farther down this big hill. I realized that I was seeing things that I did not see before and so I asked someone directions to find the funivia and ended walking back up the hill again!

After meeting Katia, we went back to her house to have lunch. Her mother made a wonderful rice salad. In the afternoon, Guido came to pick us up and we went to Cremona, the home of torrone and the violin. There has to be something with me and Cremona because as soon as we arrived, the skies turned black and a storm headed our way. The last time I was visited Katia and Guido, we went to Cremona and as soon as we arrived the skies turned black and it started to rain!

We went into the Duomo and then went to the Battistero. We were so fortunate that a woman working on restoring the large ancient leather bound books was willing to open the books for us while we were there! These books were were from the 13th or 14th century and were once used for the choir when they sang Gregorian songs. She said the reason why the books were so big was for the choir to see the music as a group. She showed us many pages including pages with pictures made from pigments made from vegetables and pages with pictures made from gold!

Since it was raining and there was not much else to do, I talked Katia and Guido into climbing the tower. This tower had 502 steps to the top!! Although Katia is afraid of heights, she went almost all the way to the top with us. It was lightening and thundering outside, and since my big fear is thunder and lightening, I tried not to touch the metal railing that was attached to the last part of the climb where the steps became circular (the part Katia did not climb) thinking that would protect me. The views were wonderful at the top. When we came back down, we went to have a pastry and drink and I bought some delicious torrone.

When we got back to Katia’s house, we got ready for dinner and then watched part of Carabinieri. It was fun watching the show together and talking about the "soap opera ongoings" of the show. Guido came to pick us up and we went to this wonderful restaurant called Santissima in Iseo. I had the most delicious ravioli dish called Casoncelli filled with a very delicious mixture of cheeses cooked in burro and salvia. For my secondo, I had a wonderful chicken with herbs on top. Again, no room for dessert.

Katia and Guido’s friend, Nicola was there. He is a very amusing person who always seems so excited and happy to see me when I visit. The first time I met him, he called out my name over and over and made quite a spectacle in the middle of the restaurant. We had fun sending SMS (text messages) back and forth. Katia has helped me understand the world of SMS and now it is so much fun! Here in Italy, it seems to be used like mini-emails.

When leaving the restaurant, we saw a Smart forfour car!! This car is the new larger addition to the tiny Smart Car. I love the Smart Cars here in Italy; they are so tiny and cute! Perhaps one day I will get a ride in one! Another great day in Coccaglio and the surrounding areas!

photo - goodies in a window in Bergamo

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