Night Location: Bellagio, Italy
Song of the Day: Tinterella DI Luna - Mina
Mumisode of the Day: "Your father has set off like Christopher Columbus. He's leading us like Moses before the Israelites!"
Today was the first drizzly day since arriving in Europe. As Dad, ever the optimist, continues to point out, there are many more to come. As today marked the day of the football, we planned a trip into Bergamo where the three children would be catching the train on to Milan. Bergamo is a little off the lake and has a spectacular old town up on top of the hill. After parking the car, all five of us stared up at the huge city walls. Dad pointed and said, "That is where we want to be." No one was overly amused at the prospect of scaling the walls. Once again, we were parked at the bottom.
While Mum, David, Amber and Gemma were discussing the options of just eating lunch at the base, Dad set off. Mum shouted "Your father has set off like Christopher Columbus," and at this point and the rest of us followed like the Israelites. David made a study of a sign that had the word 'funicular' in it. It gave us a glimmer of hope that there may be an alternative to scaling the walls. Sure enough, around the next corner there it was. Tickets were purchased and it was a much easier ascent than earlier anticipated.
It was well worth the effort to go up. The town at the top was so quiet in comparison to the city below. The streets were paved with rocks, gutters were cobbled, the buildings were ancient and the shops and cafes delightful. We spied a bakery, along with Bergamo's specialty, a polenta cake, stuffed with nut cream. Gemma loved it!
The duomo itself was really beautiful. The walls were lined with tapestries, and the design of the building itself was quite unusual. We had a very traditional Italian lunch in the main square before returning back down the funicular.
At this point, Dad and Gemma set off to the post office with the two boxes packed with belongings to return to Australia. There were 12 counters in the post office, and no one spoke English. It took about one hour to explain what they were trying to do, fill out the relevant forms in Italian, and return to the car.
The children were deposited at the train station where the adventure to the football began. David had researched the trains extensively and so there was only a minor hiccup when Amber pointed out that we were not on the correct line. The sneaky metro line divided in two with no warning, and we were not on the lucky branch. After some backtracking and a new plan to follow the AC Milan jerseys to the correct platform, the correct train was discovered.
The train was full when it pulled into the platform. This did not stop the 20 Italians in front of us from getting on. David got on, then Gemma. Gemma looked back at Amber who was standing on the platform and saying "I can't get on." Gemma took no notice of this. She reached out with both hands, grabbed Amber by the jacket collar and hauled her onto the train, while reversing into the crush of Italian men. As we were wearing thermals, leggings, fire socks, scarves and feather jackets so as to avoid the freezing stadium conditions, we were on fire, and the crush of the train did not help.
Eventually, we tumbled out onto the platform, and once again, we adhered to the plan to follow the AC Milan jerseys. David set off on a run to pick up our tickets and Amber and Gemma were instructed to head for Gate 7. Gemma was desperate to go to the toilet, and had been since Bergamo (2 hours earlier) and had difficulty keeping up with the fast pace. We met up with David, smiling with the tickets and headed to Gate 15 where bags were being searched. Gemma realized with horror that her metal water bottle was in her bag. Amber encouraged her to lie it flat, and somehow it made it through security. We did not feel overly secure!
The toilets, in the stairwell of the stadium, were squat toilets. Amber declined after the Cinque Terre poo toilet experience. Gemma, had no option and was fine.
The seats we had scored were incredible. When purchasing, David did not realize what he was booking and had bought the best seats in the house. One row in front of the reserved VIP section. The crowd atmosphere was so buzzed. There were flare guns and flags and a lot of cheering. The game itself just flew. David was very happy to be there, and maintains that it was one of the best sporting experiences of his life.
Mum and Dad, in the absence of the children, had dinner in Switzerland and returned to pick us up from the Como railway station at midnight.