New Beginnings in Bergamo
I’m happy to report we are settled and comfortable in Bergamo, Italy. New beginnings are nice. I think we’re all finally acclimated and rested enough to start enjoying our surroundings. (It turns out we’re not only learning about our world, but about ourselves. Hmm.)
Bergamo is a medium-size city in northern Italy, roughly the size of San Diego, CA. F’s aunt and uncle live here, and it’s nice to have family to hang with and help show us around.
Speaking of F’s aunt and uncle, I usually refer to them as tia and tio (Spanish for aunt and uncle). Here in Italy, I switched to via and vio, what I thought was Italian for aunt and uncle. Wrong. Turns out zia and zio is aunt and uncle in Italian. Via is a street. So basically I’ve been calling F’s aunt and uncle a street.
Our Airbnb is great – clean, thoughtfully equipped, and centrally located. The kids are sharing a room, which has been both cute and interesting. They both immediately unpacked and within a few minutes were hanging out and playing made-up games. (Two seconds later they were fighting, so no worries, nothing has changed.) They were in charge of their own backpacks, which means they picked what they wanted to bring to entertain themselves. That proved to be both good and bad – good because they were responsible for their own things, bad because they didn’t pack enough to last for five weeks. And I didn’t bring all my normal mom back-ups; I was too busy trying to be cool and “capsule pack.” Which also has its good and bad points. I’ll write another post on that later.
We found a cafe near our apartment that we love and have been going every morning for cappuccinos and pastries. We think we might be going to the Italian Panera, but we’re not sure. Actually, I’m pretty sure we are, but don’t tell zia and zio. We suspect this because the styling and branding is so thorough and on-point. Everything is branded – napkins, cups, serving papers, chairs, aprons, hats – everything. Way more than your usual mom and pop shop. Whatever. We love it because it has great cappuccino and breakfast food, is clean, the staff is super friendly, and they have tables big enough for the four of us to sit down, talk, and plan our day.
We seem to have fallen into the following routine:
- Sleep late-ish
- Get ourselves together and head out for cappuccino and pastries
- Draw / journal / figure out our day at the cafe
- Come home for dinner
- F works while the kids and I hang
(This schedule of course includes lots of gelato and baked goods. It’s my #1 technique to reduce whining.)
We do need to work on our timing, though. Italy operates on a different schedule than us. Shops and restaurants tend to close between 2:00 and 5:00, just about when we’re ready for a late lunch or early dinner. This has messed us up a time or two (or three or four), but we’ll get the hang of it. Maybe our new strategy will be huge lunch followed by small dinner at home.
While wandering one day I happened across a place called Flying Tiger. I had no idea if it was a dollar store, Target, or maybe a mini Ikea. I picked up a few things we needed – envelopes and scissors – and a few things that would help our quiet hours at home – drawing paper, watercolor paper, and paint. This will definitely be my go-to when the kids have ants in their pants or we need something for the apartment.
Now that we’re settled and have our feet under us, we have lots of exploring and learning to do. We have more to see in Bergamo and plenty of options for day trips by train.