arrival in Coccaglio & a visit to Lonato del Garda (2009 trip)

Surprise!! I am finally getting around to blogging about my time in Coccaglio with Katia & Guido back in 2009. YES! You are reading this correctly, 2009! This probably breaks some sort of record as the longest gap in a trip report.

To recap, my Italy 2009 trip took me to Firenze, Lucca, Bologna, Stresa, & then Coccaglio. I also took some cool daytrips while in staying in each of these wonderful places. I have recently updated some of my 2009 trip blog posts to add photos. My 2009 trip starts here.

Fortunately, to help share the missing 4 days of my 2009 trip report. I still have the notes I kept on my iPod Touch ~ seems so ancient now!! My notes (some extensive/some cryptic) along with my photos (dates/times) have helped me recap my 4 days spent with Katia & Guido in Coccaglio.

My last blog post about this trip left off with my bus ride from Orta San Giulio back to Stresa, Thursday evening in Stresa, and then Friday morning departing for Coccaglio.

Continuing on…

Friday, July 17th (2009):
After spending an hour on a nice modern clean train from Stresa to Milan, I spent the next hour waiting for my connecting train to Rovato in a very crowded and hot train station in Milan.

About 20 minutes before the train to Rovato was scheduled to depart, I noticed the train sitting at the track. I boarded hoping to escape the chaos at the train station. This train was an older and much dirtier train. The air condition also did not seem to be working. It was just as hot on the train as it was standing outside at the station but at least I was able to get settled in and find a good spot with room for my luggage.

I loved having my iPod Touch with me on this trip. Not only could I jot down notes and blog, but I often passed the time playing various games that I have loaded onto my iPod Touch like solitaire and sudoku. I waited patiently for the train to depart while playing a few games and watching other people board the train.

I was so excited to see Katia waiting for me as the train arrived in Rovato. It was wonderful to see her again. After our hugs and hellos, we headed to her car.

I met Katia & Guido during my first trip to Italy back in 1999 while sitting on a bench in Vernazza waiting for an hour late train. We have been friends ever since. During my past visits with them, I have stayed at Katia’s parents’ house. This year, I would be staying with Katia & Guido in their brand new place. They moved in I believe in March or April of 2009.

When we arrived, their adorable cat, greeted us at the door. Here she is sitting on their steps…


I absolutely loved their place! After taking a tour, I unpacked a few things. Katia made a wonderful caprese salad and my favorite cheese ravioli with burro e salvia (butter and sage) for dinner. Guido arrived home along with his nephew who was also spending time with them for the summer. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner together out on their balcony.

Italy Trip 2009, Coccaglio, Italy

Good food and good company! A wonderful way to spend my first evening in Coccaglio.

Saturday, July 18th:
I awoke early Saturday morning to the noise of their cat playing in the living room. She was a very playful cat who loved to leap and slide across their living room floor. By the end of my stay, we became best buddies.

After getting dressed, I had a bite to eat. We went to a little bar in Rovato for an espresso and a brioche. My mission that morning was to search for an unlocked phone. We went to a couple of nearby malls. I looked at a few but could not seem to make up my mind. The same thing happened while I was in Bologna. I just could not make a decision on an expensive purchase without being able to read reviews on any of the phones. I almost bought one while in Bologna, but was told by Katia’s friend, who was also in Bologna at the time, that the phone I was looking at was not a very good phone. In the end I flew back home without a new phone. (oh the woes of 2009!)

Before heading back to Katia’s place for lunch, we stopped at the Informagiovani in Coccaglio where Katia works part time. There I checked my email. We also looked at some of the brochures and maps for possible places to visit that afternoon. Her office has shelves full of maps and brochures for towns and cities all over Italy. We ended up deciding on a trip to Lonato del Garda. We grabbed some information on this town and then headed back to her place.

Katia made a delicious pasta pomodoro for lunch. Guido came home from work just in time to join us for lunch.

After lunch, we drove to Lonato del Garda. It was about a 45 minute drive from Coccaglio. Once we arrived we headed to the Piazza Martiri della libertà, the main piazza in the town. I only took a couple of (not very good) photos of this main piazza of the town.

I did take lots of photos of the very cool 16th century tower, the Torre Civica. Here’s three. We didn’t get to climb it though as it was closed while we were there. Next time!

Our first visit was to the Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista.

Next, we walked up to the Rocca di Lonato. Very cool place to visit with views of the town, vineyards, and Lake Garda.

We also visited the Museo Casa del Podestà / House of the Podestà. This amazing museum holds about 52,000 ancient books. While we waited for the tour to begin, I took some photos of the outside of this beautiful place. Once our tour began, we started in the main house. I took a photo and then was told “no photos”. I was able to take more photos though once back outside the main house. It was a very interesting visit.

If you are ever near Lonato del Garda, I highly recommend a visit. It is a lovely little town!

We headed back to Coccaglio after our wonderful visit in Coccaglio. Katia told me before I arrived that she had some friends who wanted to meet me. In the evening, we drove to Rovato to meet Katia’s friends, Elena and Andrea. Elena, who also was Katia’s boss at the time,  provides educational services for teenagers. Elena’s husband was the mayor of Rovato –  Sindaco: Andrea Aldo Cottinelli. They were both quite delightful! First time I have ever had dinner with a mayor! We ate at La Smorfia in Ebrusco. La Smorfida is a osteria and pizzeria. I ordered pizza. Yum!! Great company!! Great food!!

Next up – Sunday in Coccaglio & an afternoon visit to Bergamo


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