Saturday, November 11, 2023

Italy Part 1

Our First Morning in Italy 

We awoke beneath the granite megalith of the Alps. Early August and it’s 44 degrees (7 Celsius). We had packed the camper with French delicacies for my brother, whom I was picking up in Milan the next day. We had less than 200 KM to drive but lots of cleaning to do. With hot coffee in hand, we embraced a new country and a new adventure. 

Ah Italy – the staccato sound of that octave active language, the smell of the roasted espresso & second-hand smoke. The art, architecture and history – second to none. Italy is tremendous for so many reasons. 


The airport pickup worked smoothly and we drove to our first parking lot. The lower town is not worth commenting on but the upper town of Bergamo is a highlight. We were here last year and knew it would not disappoint. 

How many Americans does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
3. 1 to screw in the lightbulb and 2 to make the t-shirt

We met up with our friends Mike and Nat and may have had a drink or two while catching up on interim adventures since we saw them last in Morocco and Spain. 


Agriturismo spots are my new favorite. It’s jumped up glamping with a high euro resto attached. We ran the aircon full time and focused on the food and camaraderie. 

As I write this Aleja is working on a crossword puzzle. Welcome to the family AB!


We traded in the lovely campsite for a bombed-out parking lot but the medieval town and castle of Pontremoli was a pleasure to stroll.  

Bronze age stele from the 3rd millennium BC


Our climb to elevation didn’t help. It was scorching hot. We found free parking with a power plug for solid 240 volts. The aircon saved us and we decided to get serious about our Italian liquors and the promises they whispered. 


Italy has a state sanctioned list of the prettiest villages in the country. It’s not short. It’s called The Borghi Piu Belli (The Most Beautiful Villages) and there are 349 of them. The criteria are almost as long as the list of hamlets but the one that grabs me is the “No cars in the historical center” requirement. Walking hubs in ancient villages make me smile. Gives me an idea too… why not try to hit them all? I got a motorhome in Europe and it feels like a worthy endeavor. Who better? 

Aleja schools her minions


When I invited my brother to Europe last Xmas he was very clear that he didn’t want to join the hordes in playing tourist at packed museums, crowded cities or steaming beaches. He just wanted to hang out with the 2 of us. You’ve got to remember that even though Aleja and I have been together for 7 years they had never met. He lives in Tokyo and she’s never been to the States. After a couple nights I asked him what he thought of her. He said, I’ve seen the videos and photos for many years and now to finally meet her it’s like coming face to face with a celebrity. They got along famously. 

Ruscello is nothing to speak of. We spent 4 nights parked in a nice campground with all the amenities. We focused on eating and drinking and playing a Swedish game called Kubb. The brothers got loaded and listened to an old playlist from our formative years when we were vital and daring. Music and memories and laughs and reforging of bonds.

Goodbye Skinny

We’d had our last meal and it was time. We dropped him at the Rome airport and headed for the hills. We had a week until we needed to return to Rome and pick up Aleja’s sister and decided to use the time in between to decompress in the mountains where the weather man was predicting cooler climes. 

I only have the one brother and he means everything to me. I’m grateful for those 2 weeks and that he’s willing to take long flights. We’ll meet again in December at LAX, and in Feb I’ve rented an apartment in Medellin Colombia and he’s flying over for a couple of weeks. Family!

Near Opi

From Rome to this area was a very pretty drive. We tucked into another great campground with the promise of doing absolutely nothing. We got that and more. It usually starts with me petting some stranger’s dog. This was no different. I’ve had a few bites and rabies shots over the years but it’s all been worth it. The Italians parked across from us immediately invited us to dinner and once the drinking commenced, we became best friends with plans to do everything together. There were a lot of them and one was friendlier than the next. They fed us and we imbibed deeply. The singing and dancing at the end were the bow on a perfect Italian gift. 

Part 1 of Italy was spent with my brother and part 2 of Italy will see the arrival of Aleja’s sister. Stay tuned…

Your Man On Point,

Captain Bobby

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