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Tutto era grande

A quick stop in Bergamo, Italy.

Story by Marcin Konkel October 20th, 2016

ETA 11:35p.m.

One day stop in Bergamo, Italy. A bonus of which I did not expect much. Quite frankly I prefer to travel to (South-)Eastern Europe or far East. Bergamo was the hub that would let us get back to Warsaw, Poland from Romania. The primary goal was to get to Milano but, together with Natalia, we landed late and it did not make sense. We had to make time thus we decided to stay in the city. Catching the night no.1 bus we got to the city centre where the city lights showed us some of the architecture. The streets were rather empty. Not much going on. Walking to our accommodation I noticed the window shields so characteristic for Italy and still used adding additional taste to the buildings. Similar yet a bit different to those in Paris, France. Tired, we got to our final destination and fell asleep.

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In the late morning when we saw the city it was like we woke up in a new place. So much changes depending on time of the day here. We experienced a true (or so we though) breakfast which is huge with sandwiches, jam, juice, coffee, desert, fruits, cereals, yogurt and more. Italian breakfast varies by region and by season. When I was once living with two Italians in London they mentioned that the dishes in their culture are an invitation to the most important part - talking, meeting each other and drinking wine. Slowly as we had all the time in the world. They also mentioned that each region in Italy can be totally different from the others - different specialities, food, customs. This can even go as far as two cities in 20km distance from one another giving a distinguishable experience.

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Città alta is full of old narrow streets and places to get lost in a cafe tucked in between the old architecture. Avoid the main tourist streets. You often won’t find good food there. The best coffee I had was in La Marianna restaurant and I think it was the best one I had ever had. Whole families were visiting this place which was a mix of a cafe and pastry shop. You could also buy delicious ice cream there. There are many places that feel as if taken from a movie. On the streets you will find hanging lamps above that reminded me a bit about Stockholm where I seen them for the first time. Nicely adding to the already charming atmosphere of the place.

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If you had your own chair to walk around with. You could just sit in places like below, pour yourself a cup of flat white and contemplate, read a book or listen to the sounds of the city. There is really not much needed in these moments. Neither the money nor the luxuries of the modern world. That is one of the places I will revisit from time to time and, probably, discover more of Italy like the nearby Como lake or Tuscany.

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There are few churches in the upper part of the city. One of few but probably with the most impressive decorations is Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore which was completed in 1743 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The basilica is located at 34 Piazza del Esquilino square.

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ETD 20:50

I surmise upper city is not the only part worth visiting. Along the way we’ve seen few places that were quite appealing yet did not manage to see them. We’re definitely going back as it seems to be one of those places where you just unwind. One thing to watch out for are the buses. They sometimes come late and you might miss your bus to the airport. If you’re not on a budget - a taxi can fix that. If you prefer to spend the money on other things than transport - plan ahead.

We were in a hurry as we underestimated the time needed to get back from the upper part of the city to our accommodation. We quickly got our backpacks from the place where we were staying, shouted “Tutto era grande!” (en. Everything was great!) and run to the bus stop. The bus had a detour thus we decided to get off earlier to catch the nr1 bus to the airport. Unfortunately, it had only two stops from which we were far away. The result was that we ended up in a dodgy neighbourhood waiting for an Uber. A side note: Uber is available in Bergamo but only in “black” version. We did not have any other choice as the next bus to Il Caravaggio International Airport was in one hour and there was too little time to hitch a ride.

And so there it came - a fairly new silver Mercedes with a driver dressed in a suit asking “How are you sir? Let me help you with your bags.”. Inside a charging station for your mobile devices if you’re short on battery life. “You had quite the luck that I was around. I am the only Uber driver going to and from Bergamo. I normally live in Milan. I was dropping down a client on the airport 5 minutes ago.” Well, what a coincidence… This was an unexpected whiff of luxury that lasted 9 minutes with a cost of 25 EUR for 5 km drive. “A proper way to end a visit to a glamorous city” I smiled to myself.

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Footnote: Nikon D750 + Tamron 24-70mm / September 2016.
Bergamo, Italy