I must admit, the title is a bit deceiving, I'm watching "The Best of Me" (Il Meglio di Me) on Rai5 at this very moment so that's the story behind it. I'm not sure I'd call these photos the best of Bergamo as it seems every corner you turn in this city, you stumble upon the next best thing. I took a solo hike last Friday up to San Vigilio when it already felt like summer in the city. The tourists were packed like sardines at the terrace right outside the funicolare, taking in the sun while surrounded by the wisteria blooms creeping on the city's ancient walls. I've always attested to adore summers in Italy, but springtime is having a moment with me this year. It's not hot enough yet to sweat through your cutest outfits and your makeup stays pristine (while in summer, by mid-day, my eyebrows practically slide down to my cheeks)! Anyways, that's it for today, I'm headed back to bawl my eyes out with the film adaptation of basically every Nicholas Sparks book ever written. For some bizarre reason, I tend to tear up even more watching these movies in Italian and I can't figure out why. Italian seems to lend itself to highly emotional scenes, perhaps the expansive lexicon may be to blame?
To be blatantly honest, I think the appeal of blogs/Instagram/Snapchat etc is to allow us all to be a tad voyeuristic and just get a sneak peek into the lives of people we don't know. Personally, I know that I've always been interested in the lives of expats abroad, hence my House Hunters International obsession. Everything seems like normal life but cooler and with more wine (ok, maybe I'm only talking about if you live in France or Italy here!). So instead of blabbing on, here's how my weekend went presented as a mini photostory.
Friday Night: dinner at an agriturismo with friends from Massi's soccer team, took minimal pictures but essentially we stayed there from 9pm until midnight and then rolled home.
Saturday: this was a particularly unique weekend because one of my childhood friends (+ her work friend) from Alberta came to visit me and so we met up in Milan for shopping and eats!
Missing: aperitivo on the 7th floor of La Rinascente.
Sunday: started off the morning with a run/hike up to this hilltop church in order to stave away the impending guilt from the 'pranzo della domenica' that was about to happen.
...basically after Sunday lunch you're so stuffed that you have to 'digest' for a couple hours and we usually lay around like sloths or have a quick walk in the city before heading back home and preparing for Monday. The End.
Today was Palm Sunday and we were terrible Catholics and didn't make it out of bed to morning mass. We did, however, make it to the Sunday lunch table which was more packed than a routine church service (except for that of our favourite priest). It was a wonderfully sunny first day of spring here in Bergamo and we simply could not waste it. So off we went on the trusty motorcycle. We were feeling the Sunday blues by late afternoon and though we had originally had our hearts set on Lake Como, we contented ourselves instead with going in search of castles fit for a bonafide princess (me). Here is a quick smattering of what we found literally ten minutes from Bergamo. It felt like we could have been stepping onto the set of Game of Thrones. When life gives you lemons, days like today- being able to literally walk around castles a stone's throw from your house is my version of lemonade.
Our Sunday went a bit like this: Mass, bread-buying, prosecco and Campari spritz at Balzar, pranzo, the longest passeggiata in heels completed by yours truly in the Upper City, pizza, and Spotlight. I'm not feeling particularly verbacious today, in fact I've been a painting machine these last few days so I'll just say have a fantastic start to your week a tutti!
Let's face it, do these House Hunters screenshots not look like the perfect Hallmark movie that was never made? Or we can do a follow-up to the legendary Under The Tuscan Sun, maybe I can play Sandra Oh's character's daughter- the one who grew up Italian doing the weird backwards hand wave. We need to get on this idea STAT. Or I'll use these on my book cover for my hypothetical memoir called "There's No Tim Hortons in Italy and Other Musings of a Canadian Expat" (title to be elaborated upon). Or if all these plans fail, I suppose these would make pretty darn cute Save the Dates eh?
I am soooooooooooo excited because I finally got to see our House Hunters International episode on an Australian online streaming website after we had thought we missed our chance when it aired at the end of December in the US. If you are also tech-savvy, you can use a VPN service like Express VPN (same method as how expats watch American Netflix abroad) and change your settings to "Australia". Here is the link: http://www.9jumpin.com.au/show/househuntersinternational/episodes/season-82/episode-8/bella-vita-in-bergamo/#autoplay I also much preferred the Australian title of the episode which they called "Bella Vita in Bergamo" as opposed to the American version which was less of a title and more of a run-on sentence. Here are some random screenshots I took as I watched our episode for the umpteenth time, enjoy! If you've seen the episode and found your way here, hello! Let me know in comments or e-mail how you liked it.
P.S. Our cat Puffo is seriously famous though, he's been in an Italian magazine AND on television worldwide (check out his cameo at the end). What a natural.
I love sharing photos of Bergamo, she is such a photogenic city but being rather unknown, I feel like she never gets the cover shot of any high-profile travel magazines- you will never find Bergamo on the cover of AFAR (in the voice of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman: BIG mistake, HUGE!). Recently I stumbled upon a genius of a photographer, Daniele Boffelli. Whatever you do, check out his Facebook page here. He has snapped some stunning/gorgeous/those are the only adjectives I can recall at the moment because The Bachelor premiere was on last night and those are the only words he used to describe the women...anyways, here is a sampling:
I know, I live in a fairytale. You can all be jealous now. I'd invite you to visit but we haven't furnished our spare room yet so all I can offer at the moment is our very "comfortable" couch or the red-checkered armchair in our taverna next to the fireplace (unless Puffo the cat is occupying it, in which case you'll have to sleep on the floor).
Buon anno nuovo everyone! If you're new here, make sure to check out the archives for older posts, especially if you need an Italy fix (I'm currently in Canada working on not killing anyone while I wait *patiently* for a new visa, not the credit card kind).. I'm overly excited to share these photos with you, they were all taken during shooting of our episode but we were not allowed to share them until the episode actually aired. So basically they've been hibernating on my phone this entire time! It was quite the job, shooting House Hunters International (props to reality show teams and just, actors in general), but we're so happy for the experience. If you've seen the episode already, I'm sure you'll recognize some of these shots. Thanks to the film crew who kept us laughing in-between takes and special thanks to our sound guy who had to fight with my mic's incompatibility with half my wardrobe choices for the shooting. Actually, that reminds me...that blue outfit was totally Plan B, I had a way cuter one planned but evidently microphones don't get along with tight-ish, polyester dresses. So yes, my biggest regret was not putting more thought into my back-up outfit which is what I ended up in (too much cleavage?).
If you're interested in snooping around our chosen house (or the insides of my closet), you might want to check out these posts:
sneak peeks of our new house
Turning a House into a Home in Italy: Furniture and Puffo Update
A Busy Spring Weekend at Lake Iseo
If Bergamo has peeked your interest from the show, let me just say- it's completely awful, really ugly, don't waste your time coming/moving there, you'll probably hate it. (Yay, now it'll stay Italy's best-kept secret). Check out these favourite Bergamo posts of mine, or just click on "Around Bergamo" in the Categories menu on the sidebar:
A couple Sundays ago- views of Bergamo from Città Alta
An Instagram Photograph of Bergamo Looks Like a Dream
"Where are you moving to again?"
It's beginning to look alot like Christmas...in Bergamo and Milano...
Days in Bergamo.
Unbeknownst to us (and only discovered after Massi's friends in the US told him), our House Hunters International episode has already aired once and is scheduled to air again tomorrow! It is not the same schedule that is being followed by the network HGTV in Canada, so I think all of us north of the border are SOL. So if you happen to be reading this and can PVR our episode, please do and tell me all about it! Also if you happen to be reading this and are an internet mastermind and have somehow found our episode, please forward and you will have a lifetime supply of pasta and my eternal love. Or I suppose if you have a time machine to take me back to yesterday, I will obviously honor the aforementioned means of gratitude. Here's the upcoming airdate (tomorrow):
I leave for Edmonton, Alberta, Canada in one week today. Thought I'd do a quick post on these two cities that will always be part of my definition of 'home'. Together they make up home for me. Funny because they are so different- one a frozen, modern winter wonderland complete with watercolored sunsets and bright lights; the other, a medieval sanctuary protected by ancient stone walls, guarded by tolling bells and encompassed by golden sunsets and hot, thick, summery air. There trademark seasons are also different. Edmonton's is winter. While summers are fantastic, there's nothing quite like grabbing a candy cane hot chocolate from Second Cup and taking your car for a spin down Candy Cane Lane, or huddling around the bonfire after an evening skate at Hawrelak Park and pretending you don't secretly have Baileys and coffee in your thermos. Bergamo's trademark is summer. Summers in Italy in general are unbeatable. The upper city comes alive with the outdoor restaurants and bars lining the stone walls, giving diners and drinkers an unparalleled view of the lower city. The Italians come out late and stay out late, throwing back another 'bionda media' while trying to sober up for the long walk back down, or the journey back home on a motorcycle or Vespa. And so this is the tale of two cities, or shall I say, the tale of my two cities.
Photo credit (Edmonton skyline) to Terry Elniski and Eric Hossinger (Bergamo skyline).
Jasmine is a (former) pharmacist turned freelance writer, foodie, and fashionista from Alberta, Canada living "the sweet life" in Bergamo, Italy.