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Begamo to Lugano

USA | Wednesday, 13 May 2015 | Views [82]

I woke up in my room to a beautiful morning outside my window. This is when it felt truly like Italy when I looked out onto the hostel's courtyard. I was surprised I was able to get up. I was up late making arrangements for an earlier than expected departure. My original plan was to spend a whole day in Bergamo, then head up to Lugano the next day. However relatives and friends were insisting that I ditch Bergamo. The conundrum I was faced was meet up with people, or explore a city that I very much wanted to see? Luckily a compromise was made because of logistics, so I now planned to have a day-trip in Bergamo.

After waking up enough, I walked downstairs to get breakfast. It was my ideal breakfast. Small slices of bread with jam, cookies, and coffee. It's an idealized life I would love to live, but would also want to keep special by not making it a regular routine.

It was set to be a warm day. I packed everything up for another day of transit mixed with sightseeing. The fun part of all of this was having 10 kg of everything I needed on my back. First I had to go to the train station to buy my train tickets. I walked to the train station and found the automatic ticket kiosk. I approached the machine and selected English as my language. The machine then blared out, "Beware of pickpocketers!" I though how that announced me as a tourist to everyone around me who didn't speak Italian! I got through buying my tickets with ease figuring out that my ticket was open-ended. I could get on any train as long as it was going to the destination I selected.

After I purchased my tickets, two Italian women ran up to the kiosk and were putting in Euros expecting it to spit a ticket out. It was clear they didn't know how to use the kiosk. I then offered my assistance with my limited Italian. After buying tickets three times, I chose Italian as my language option. I asked where they were going and how many tickets. The woman said she was going to Milano Centrale. I then entered in Milano Centrale as the destination and confirmed the purchase. The women were sorting out coins to put into the machine and were able to put in three euros. Unable to find the final euro needed to purchase the ticket, I then pulled out a euro and inserted it into the machine to help the cause. One of the women exclaimed that I shouldn't have paid the euro! After the ticket printed, I was given a euro back in pocket change. Both of the women thanked me and gave me a big hug and kiss on the cheek and went off. I felt very happy to have helped and welcomed to have assisted. This was my good deed of the day and brightened my trip!

I walked to the bus stop to buy my bus ticket to get from the lower town of Bergamo to the funiculare to the upper town. I hoped on the bus with my backpack on hand. I knew I was taking up a lot of space, so I did my best to make myself and my bag small. My eye was somewhat drawn to a priest dressed in a light grey shirt. He was older and looked a bit like a younger Pope Benedict XVI. In the United States I never see priests in public. I noticed more how he was one of the older people on the bus, juxtaposed with the Italian youth wearing the latest fashion and talking amongst each other.

The bus arrived at the funiculare station. I got off and waited in the shade to escape the heat. The funicular arrived, and the group waiting went aboard. We were briskly carried up to the upper town. Once I got out of the station, I felt transported to the past. I walked down the main alley to Piazza Vecchia. The main square was bustling with activity from school children. I wandered upon young women who were handing out maps of Bergamo. I told them I spoke English, and I was given some tips on what to see in Bergamo. I was also asked if I was going to Expo in Milan. I told them I will be attending next week, and am looking forward to it.

I wandered further into another square where the cathedral and a basilica are. I first entered into the basilica. It was a magnificent baroque church with lots of detailed artwork. I looked up and admired the basilica's ceiling with the school group almost following my steps. They were probably just as enthralled as I was! After taking a quick walk through and some pictures, I ventured over to the cathedral.

One of Bergamo's famous residents was the recently canonized Pope John XXIII. I could sense the pride that Bergamo had for their saint. The cathedral was more bare and less decorated than the basilica. I wandered towards the back where I found a chapel dedicated to Pope John XXIII. It contained a statue of the new saint, and his papal tiara. I grabbed a prayer card and went back into the main area. As I exited I found a stairway going underneath the altar. As as Catholic, I know that usually means more chapels and most likely tombs. Decending down, I entered into a large dark room with tombs surrounding the middle. I walked by each of the tombs. After walking through, I ascended back into the cathedral and walked out to see more of Bergamo.

 

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