Friday, June 27th:
My travels from Mantova to Brescia involved two trains with a connection in Cremona. My bus for the train station was late and I missed my train. It ended up being a very frustrating situation. The capotreno person was not very helpful. Neither was the person at the ticket window. I needed to get information about new train times for the Cremona to Brescia train to let Katia know of my new arrival time. I called Katia’s house and only her mother (who speaks no English) was home. I tried to explain to her that I would be arriving on a later train and asked her to please inform Katia. I took the next train, which departed Mantova an hour later. Once in Cremona, I called Katia’s house again and Katia answered. I told her about the train mishap and gave her my new arrival time. Since this trip, I have always left for the train station much earlier than necessary to help avoid missed trains.
Katia was waiting for me at the train station when I arrived in Brescia. It was so nice to see her again!! We stopped at the mall on the way home and spent some time in the bookstore, la Feltrinelli. Kata’s friend, Simona, works there. During my previous visit to Coccaglio, Simona, Katia, Guido & I rode bikes together around Monte Isola on Lake Garda. It was nice to see Simona again. Before leaving, I purchased some CDs to transfer some of my photos onto so that I would have more room on my compact flash cards for the rest of my trip.
After leaving the mall, we headed to Katia’s house, where I would be staying for the weekend. It was nice to see Katia’s mom & dad again. I think her brother, Samuele was also living there then (neither Katia nor Samuele were married yet).
That evening, Guido came to pick us up. We went to Agriturismo Alberelle in Rovato for dinner. Katia & Guido are friends with Luca, the owner of the agriturismo. He treated us like royalty. It was a wonderful dinner & a wonderful evening!
Saturday, June 28th:
Saturday morning, Katia & I visited Museo di Santa Giulia. I have no memory of this visit (but it is in my notes). I have revisited this museum with Katia & Guido in 2011. The main attraction for this museum is the Roman ruins from two Roman Villas.
Here is a photo from my 2011 visit.
We went back to Katia’s house for lunch and then spent the afternoon with her parents sitting outside in her mom’s beautiful garden.
In the early evening, Katia, Guido, & I visited Roncole Verdi, a tiny village located right outside of Busseto, to see Giuseppe Verdi’s Casa Natale (birth house).
Next, we drove to Cremona for dinner. As soon as we arrived, the skies turned black and it started raining. We quickly walked from our parking place to the restaurant where we each ordered a pizza. So delicious!!!!
After dinner, we walked around the historic center of Cremona. We stopped in one of the shops that sells the famous Torrone di Cremona. This shop also offered the candy in the shape of a violin, something else Cremona is very famous for. The shop owners were very friendly and happy to have their picture taken. The photo came out blurry but I thought I would add it anyways.
Here’s a photo of the Duomo and the Torrazzo tower of Cremona at night. The 13th century Cathedral bell tower is the second highest reddish brick color bell tower in the world. My 2003 digital camera did a terrible job in lowlight situations. All my other photos I took that evening came out even blurrier.
I climbed this five hundred and two step tower in Cremona with Katia & Guido two years later in a thunder and lightning storm! Katia was very brave and went partway with us, not because of the storm, but because she does not like heights.
Sunday, June 29th:
Sunday morning, Katia, Guido, & I drove through the beautiful Franciacorta countryside to the town of Iseo, located on Lago d’Iseo (Lake Iseo) to have breakfast at Bar Luma. This was my 3rd visit to Iseo. After breakfast, we walked around Iseo for a bit.
We returned to Katia’s house for a Sunday family dinner. I did not notate what Katia’s mother served, but all of her meals that I have had the pleasure of eating have been very delicious! Samuele (Katia’s brother) & Roberta (his girlfriend / now wife) joined us for lunch. Here is a photo of Katia’s family that I took after lunch.
We hung out with Katia’s family for a little while after lunch and then drove to Castell’Arquato to visit the castle in the town. It was a very cool castle with beautiful views!!
We also stopped for a quick visit to Grazzano Visconti on the way back to Coccaglio.
While Katia went to pick up pizza, I used the computer to transfer some of my photos onto CDs. After dinner, we walked over to the Festival of San Pietro community celebration, happening that evening. On the way, we peeked in the beautiful San Pietro Church.
I first met Katia & Guido in 1999 while waiting for a very late train in Vernazza, Italy. This late train was a blessing. Katia & Guido have become dear friends of mine. 2003 was my 3rd visit to Coccaglio. I had a wonderful time and as usual, my visit was much too short! I can’t thank Katia, Guido, and Katia’s family enough for their kindness & generosity.
Next up – 2 nights in Menaggio