Bergamo - An Autumn by the Sea - CycleBlaze

October 11, 2018 to October 12, 2018

Bergamo

The forecast is for an afternoon of rain when we leave Brescia.  It’s 45 fairly hilly miles from here to Bergamo, and it doesn’t seem likely that we’ll get there before the rains hit.  We haven’t had a rest day for awhile, and trains between the two cities run often and take bikes.  It seems like as good a day for a break from the bikes as any.

We have about a dozen local runs to choose from, and pick the 10 AM departure.  It’s a cheap ride - eight euros apiece, including bikes.  An hour later we roll off in Bergamo, delighted to find that the stations at both ends have elevators so we don’t need to lug our loaded bikes up and down stairs to get to our gate.  We LIKE this part of Italy!

It is just starting to rain when we arrive, confirming for us that we’ve done the wise thing for a change.  So, no biking today; and none tomorrow either, even though the weather will turn beautiful again.  We’re in Bergamo for two nights, and our room is in the old city, up a long, bone rattling herringbone patterned stone roadway.  There is plenty to see here, so we decide to take a second day off the bikes rather than bike down and then up again.  On the second day, Rachael took a 10 mile hike, and I took a lesser one, did some more sight seeing, and caught up on the journal a bit.

So, this is a two day post.  I won’t say more, other than to note that Bergamo is another outstanding destination, and we’ll worth the trip up the hill.  We didn’t find it as bike friendly as Cremona or Brescia, but that’s probably because we stayed up in the old city.  The town is split level though, with the new city fanned out from the base of the hill.  I think most visitors stay below and take the funicular to the top.

One thing to note: Bergamo has one can’t-miss sight, the Cathedral and the adjacent Basilica.  The Basilica in particular is absolutely jaw dropping.  You won’t see any of that here though, because I’m going to create a separate post for it one of these days when we come to the land of fast WiFi again.

Can you believe this? A train station with elevators!
Heart 2 Comment 0
I’m not sure - that fence isn’t very reassuring. We give the big guy a wide berth when we bike past.
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The old city streets are surfaced in a herringbone pattern. This photo doesn’t quite capture it, but in many places it’s a corrugated surface too, with the bricks tilting up in tent shaped rows. Not the easiest surface to bike on, up a steep hill with traffic and no shoulder.
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At the door to our apartment, about a block from the top of the lower funicular (the one connecting the lower and upper towns). Conveniently located, but a bit quirky.
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For our first night in Bergamo we ate in a side alley trattoria that doubles as a museum.  It’s walls were crammed with eccentric antiques: collections of coffee grinders, cameras, even a pair of  powered bicycles.  Rachael and our server both got their laughs when I brained myself on an iron coatrack walking backwards with the camera.  Great fun.

Vintage cameras
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A gas powered bicycle
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The gas powered bicycle is a Taurus, model Marcus Depositata. I couldn’t find any record of this bike, so I don’t know how old it might be.
Heart 2 Comment 2
Suzanne GibsonGreat pic! I love oldhead badges and have a collection, photos that is.
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2 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesActually I would say Marca Depositata just means trademark. That would be similar to the French marque deposee. Beautiful headset!
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2 months ago
These kids aren’t concerned, because they know this big guy is a herbivore. They’re fine as long as they steer clear of those enormous feet.
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On our layover day, we both took hikes - Rachael’s was much longer and faster paced than mine. They both began with this lovely walk up to The hilltop fort at Saint Vigilio. You could also reach the fort by a second funicular that begins in the upper town.
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The views from the fort are really fine. This is to the north, into the pre-Alps that begin just north of the town.
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On the prowl, soon to pounce on a very tasty looking bug.
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The old town, from Saint Vigilio. This isn’t the best time of day for this shot, with the sun still toward the east. I’ll bet it’s an amazing view spot to see the sunset though.
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I have a new appreciation for streets like this, after watching a work crew restoring one down in the upper town. Each stone is hand placed, buried into the sand. Very painstaking process.
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They should be proud of themselves. It can’t have been easy biking up here on those skinny tires.
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Some built guys hover over Piazza Vecchia.
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The wash house, opened in 1891 to compensate for the fact that the homes in the upper town did not have running water at the time. It was fed by a large underground cistern.
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Piazza Vecchia contains this remarkable solar calendar. At noon on sunny days, the small black disk above the far end highlights the part of the calendar that corresponds to the current date.
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The right conditions - sun, and noontime (actually one, because of DST). I’m a minute or two late to see it centered in the calendar, but it’s accurate. Difficult to get a good photo though because there’s a crowd around all looking to see the same phenomenon.
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The Contarini fountain in Piazza Vecchia is a real kid magnet.
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Today's ride: 5 miles (8 km)
Total: 1,421 miles (2,287 km)

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Comment on this entry Comment 2
Suzanne GibsonJust love the areas you are traveling through now! Getting ideas for next summer.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Suzanne GibsonI’m getting ideas myself. I’d be pretty content to spend a whole season in just this region.
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2 months ago