On Sunday, we went to Bergamo – north Italy’s hidden jewel and one of the prettiest places I have ever been to. Having been advised to visit it by both Dr. Fleming and Dr. Trifkovic, I spent some time convincing my reluctant better half to go there instead of Lugano, Switzerland. We set out from Milan’s dreary Central Station and after about 50 minutes, were in Bergamo. We walked about a mile from the train station to a funicular, which took us to the Citta Alta – Bergamo’s old, medieval “upper city”. The view was magnificent and a block from the funicular stop, we had lunch, getting to experience north Italian cuisine. Cold veal with tuna sauce, polenta with mushrooms, and red beet mousse accompanied by some pretty good house red wine. A welcome break from pizza, pasta, and calzones. We then spent hours walking through the old city of Bergamo. The local cathedral was splendid and I found it more beautiful than St. Mark’s in Venice. Bergamo is not a place to be missed when you are in northern Italy. The kind of place I would live in if I could afford it.
The way back from Bergamo was quite dreary on the other hand. Because of an Italian transit strike, our train back to Milan was cancelled and we had to wait an hour in the station square, surrounded by other tourists and bands of Africans – the charms of Third World immigration. As beautiful as the upper city is, the lower, modern Bergamo is fairly shady, especially near the station (a homeless man in a wheelchair was urinating into the fountain near the city’s war memorial in broad daylight, while yelling at passerby to turn around). But all is well that ends well. We made it back to our hotel in time to see Germany beat Argentina in the World Cup final.