Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Italy: the journey begins
Ryan and I decided to stretch our limited savings into a spring break trip to Italy. It would be nice to have a bigger bank balance, but we're not going to be in Europe forever, right? So, in February we managed to find some cheap plane tix and set the whole thing up.
We left at 8:30pm GMT on Tuesday, which meant arriving in Bergamo around midnight. I was dreading customs in my exhaustion, but the similarly tired Italian immigration officer simply waved us through the long line without even cracking the passports.
Our first real introduction to Italy was a wild midnight taxi ride through the streets of Bergamo. Despite the sleepies, it was fabulous. The taxi blared a sultry Italian chanteuse and smelled like church incense. We wound through the narrow streets of brightly painted plaster houses-- the scene reminded me a bit of Tijuana, in a good way.
We slept in a sparse hotel room with a community shower and bidet (Ryan tried it), and spent the next morning exploring Bergamo Alta-- the medieaval walled old city above the current one. We ate pastries while wandering narrow streets which often opened unexpectedly to a magnificent church or piazza. Italy looks just like the movies