12 Sep Hello Italy – 3 Days in Bergamo
11 September – Arrived Bergamo
After a short plane trip and a short bus ride, we arrived at Bergamo main train station and walked 10 minutes to what would be one of the best AirBnBs we have stayed in.
This one also has a representation of Klimpt’s “The Kiss” which is my favourite painting.
After a lunch of leftovers we went off to explore, taking a funicular up to the top for some big views. It’s a very pretty, “human-sized” city.
John lost our map of how to get back to our apartment but luckily the place is small and we worked it out.
The name “Bergamo” has its roots in “berg” (mountain) and “heim” (home), meaning a house on top of a mountain. I guess it must have been pronounced “bergam” originally.
It’s a city of around 120,000 people (around 500,000 counting surrounding areas), located 40 k northeast of Milan, just before the pre-Alps, and in fact is part of the broader Milan metro area (population over 8 million).
Bergamo used to be a Celtic settlement as far back as 550 BC, before the Romans arrived in 49 BC. There are still some Roman ruins, some of the buildings go back to the 1st century, and many of the buildings are over 600 years old.
It’s 13 September and John’s birthday today.
We visited Lake Iseo taking a bus and a ferry to the island of Monte Isola. Some claim that it is even more beautiful than Lake Como but with far fewer tourists.
We made the mistake of getting off the bus at Sarnico to find that there were very limited ferry services to the island. Then we had to find a way to Iseo to get a better ferry service so that we could make it to the island for John’s birthday lunch.
The last bus trip back to Bergamo was 6.15 pm so we needed to get a lot clearer about the return ferry and connecting bus. Vasco (John’s nickname from a rugby trip in New Zealand, as in Vasco de Gama) is usually a lot more organised than this but we can forgive him on his birthday.
The lake was more beautiful than described, and worth the hour bus trip plus hour ferry to get to the island. It was a lovely way to say goodbye to Bergamo and we were glad that we did this day trip instead of going to Milan.
Tomorrow we move on to Varenna on the shores of Lake Como for 3 days, journeying by train.
It’s all very beautiful, and special to be making these memories with John, but each day I wonder will this be the day I need to make a sad trip home to be with family at an unbelievably, indescribably tough time.
We explored the Old Town in more detail, appreciating the history of the construction and demolition of various bits in ancient times. It was unfortunate that several large cathedrals and hundreds of homes were razed by the Venetians in order to build a fortress wall around the city for an expected attack that never eventuated.