Dear Family & Friends,


I can’t believe I am writing this after only being in Italy for only 24 hours.. Seems like a week, we have done so much!
The first evening we spent getting caught up. I have really lost track of time. I thought it had been 15 years since our exchange student lived with us but it has actually been 19 years, where does the time go?!?!
In life you always have a few friends that you may not see often but when you do there is an immediate connections and closeness. This family is one and our friends in London are the other.. Great people!!
Our former exchange student’s  name is Nicky and she is still a beautiful and vivacious person, just like she was at age 16 but now she is 34 and 6 months pregnant… Her mom Pier is unbelievable. It must be the wine here because she has not aged one day since we met her 19 years ago. I would love to learn the secret. We also met Nicola, the father of Nicky’s child .. ( Nicky and Nicola, that can be confusing with jet lag)… He is a nice young man who better always treat Nicky like a queen or he will have me to answer to! He doesn’t speak a word of English but he rides a Ducati motorcycle so we have something in common, the love of motorcycling
We are staying at Nicky’s mothers house which is a large beautifully decorated home over looking a valley with a river and many traditional Italian homes, could be worse…..
The following morning we woke up to a traditional “American Breakfast”, corn flakes, bacon, eggs, toast, and expresso… I told you in my last report that Nicky gained 20 lbs the year she lived with us, well she is trying to repay me in four days!! This is going to be tough….
After breakfast we drove to Bergamo, the old town section and what a terrific place to start off our Italian vacation.. Bergamo is a 13th century walled city on top on a small mountain over looking the new city of Bergamo.. You take a small tram from the valley below up the mountain side and when you get off you are in the center of a walled Medieval city. Absolutely beautiful with many sights to see and photograph. Go to my blog for lots of photos…
I am not a big shopping fan but the Italians have such terrific sense of style that even the simplest store has it wares beautifully displayed and are wonderful to look at. Again take a look at my blog to see the photos…
It is funny how different traditions affect a city. Old Bergamo is a very Catholic city with a seminary and convent there so there are certain things prohibited. There are no discos or gambling, but bars and alcohol are permitted…
After walking for an hour or so it was time for lunch… Like I said Nicky is determined to add more weight to me…. So we went for a traditional pizza lunch.. Wow, was that good!
After lunch we walked for a while, did some more site seeing, took lots more photos,  and then headed home for a nice afternoon nap… Had to regain some strength for dinner…..
For dinner we drove to the next town and out into the country to a small quaint Italian restaurant. No menu they just serve whatever they are cooking that night…
Now before I describe dinner I must first apologize to my friend Jim Eckford who has to pet mules that he absolutely adores.…
First we started out with an assortment of Italian cured meats, pickled veggies, and terrific bread..
Second was a course of Mushroom Ressotto and Panchetta Ravioli.
Third course was delicious grilled beef and a stew of dark brown grave, wine, and donkey meat…. Before you go ewe….. The donkey meat was the most tender meat I have ever eaten and of course there was so much wine in the sauce they could have cooked my shoes and it would have tasted great….
The whole dinner was washed down with copious amounts of Italian wine. Their wine is very subtle and even though a drank quite a bit I never fell drunk or got a head ache..
The final course was an assortment of delicious deserts and an after dinner liquor called Grappo.  It is made from grapes like wine but is 45%  alcohol, yes that is per cent, not proof. It was too strong for me to drink but I think I have found a new very affective paint stripper for work…
While driving to Bergamo we did pass the BREMBO factory. My gear head friends will know that is the company that makes the worlds best brakes… I wanted to stop and tour it but I didn’t think any one else would have been half as excited I would be to see it so I let it pass….
I can’t believe this is only one day with 29 more to go!


Jason


“Creative writer unrestrained by Daniel Webster”

Nicola, Pier, Niky, and Bonn

These are single family homes, not apartments! The noble families of Bergamo live here…

Friends for life!

Nice home over looking the city… better have “staff” to take care of this one…

Taking the tram to the old city…

What a Fox!  🙂

Happy Ladies

Even the tram stations have such style, love the Italians!!

This is the entry to a “Convent” in the old city.. Bonnie tried to join to get away from me but they wouldn’t let her in……

The Old Castle

The “MOMS”

Even the food is beautiful!

In Europe California is considered an exotic place….

As a “Photographer” you have to be aware of the subtle cues your subject gives you when enough is enough….

Eating, eating, and more eating…

Wine, wine, and more wine….

Mmmmmmmmmmmmm!

Even the food has style!

The stores are so creative! This store is selling hair accessories…

The home of Pinoichio..

The fun of exploring a 13th century city!

Is it really time to eat again?!?!?!?!

I am so lucky to be married to this wonderful woman!!!


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