My last stop during my Christmas trip was to the city of Bergamo. Bergamo is a enchantingly small, unique city located less than an hour away from Milan. It is a tale of two cities with Citta Bassa, the busy modern lower city and Citta Alta, the antique untouched medieval upper city. Bergamo is also minutes away from the airport, so it makes a lot more sense to stay there over Milan. Plus I heard it was a lot more beautiful.
I arrived to Bergamo around 2:30ish and wasn’t meeting the couchsurfers until 7. I was couchsurfing again in Bergamo, this time with a family. My back was exhausted from carrying around my bag all morning; I had just come from Verona and spent the whole day walking around the city. Luckily the night before I had looked to see if there were any hostels hoping that I would be able to store my stuff their. I found a hostel and they let me store my bag there without a problem. My next move was to find food. I wanted to find a kebab place because I was craving a falafel sandwich, but I couldn’t find one. I walked around the center and couldn’t find anything, not a single one. It was the first time I was actively looking for one and was unable to find it. Eventually, I settled on pizza at some corner cafe. It wasn’t anything special, just sauce and cheese, but it was surprisingly very good. It had the perfect crisp.
After eating, I took a bus up to the old town and wandered around. The old town of Bergamo is extremely well preserved and remains as it did hundreds of years ago. This is due to the Venetian walls built in the 16th century; the city is only accessible by 4 extremely thick gates, all of which are still intact. The main gate, Sant’Agostino is used to gain entrance to the upper city by a single lane road; the buses barely squeezed through, just missing the gate on both sides.
Bergamo is situated in a valley surrounded by mountains on almost all sides. From the old town you can see everything and it is stunning. It is an incredible mixture of a man-made environment within a gorgeous natural landscape.
Later that day I met with the couchsurfer, Francesco. He met me by the train station and then took me to his home, where his wife and kid were waiting. It was just the three of them. They were incredible and I could not have asked for a better way to spend my last night in Italy. Although we didn’t have too much time together, I initially felt at home. They welcome me and cooked me a great dinner. It was the best meal I had my whole trip. Also, they had just returned from Barcelona the night before and decided to host me the next day. On top of all this, after dinner I found out that it was the wife’s (Matilde) birthday. I was at a loss because rarely would people let strangers into their home after a week long trip and on the night of their brithday! If I had known, I would have brought something. I was extremely lucky to find such kind hosts.
The following day I was out of the house by 8;30 and back in the city center. I again stored my stuff in the hostel and took a bus up to the old town. I wanted to get a view of the old town from afar (the cover photo), so I climbed the mountain behind the city. When out of the sun it was pretty cold and at some points of my ascent there was snow on the ground. Behind the city is actually a really small town and another fortress that was built to protect Bergamo from attacks on the other side. After some time, I wandered back into the old city, got gelato at 10:30am and walked around for a bit, made my way back to the new city, got my bag and took a bus to the airport. While waiting for the bus, I met a Czech girl who was unsure about how to get to the airport and was worried about missing her flight. By the time we got to the airport her flight was delayed, but we had plenty of time anyway. I spent some time with her until she had to board (it was nice to have a conversation with someone) and then waited for my flight; excited and looking forward to be back in Spain, in my city with my friends.