Day 5: Brescia

This morning we got up early again for breakfast, but opted to go back to bed for a little while.  The time change and late nights have really done a number on us all.  We’re not complaining, but we did need to catch up on sleep a bit.

DH went to the other room to sleep and the girls crashed on my bed for a couple of hours.  I slept a bit, then did some housekeeping and such.   Around 12:30 we left to meet one of DH’s colleagues who lives in Brescia, about an hour east of Milano.  He and his family planned to spend the afternoon with us in Lago Iseo, a small and picturesque little town near the Juliers (Alps).  We met Marco on the autostrade, just after the toll booth, then followed him back to his home in Brescia to meet his wife, Stefani, and daughters Francesca and Elisabetta.

IMG_3898

They live in a flat on a pretty street, next to a little playground. There is a view of the castello from the building, though not from their flat. Marco’s wife, Stefani, lamented that they did not have a castle view. I told her it was okay, that we did not have a castle. 😉

Marco's Flat

Inside, Stefani and Marco were very gracious hosts and served us bottled water and chocolate cake, and Stefani made coffee. I got to see her tiny but perfect little Italian kitchen. She is growing peaches in a pot on her balcony and has basil planted around the base of the tree. We took our coffees in the dining room and enjoyed getting to know each other while the kids went off to color in Elisabetta’s room.

Serving the caffe

After a nice visit, Marco encouraged us to head out and see the castello. It was a warm but not uncomfortable day, and felt good to be outside, walking around. We made the short drive up the hill to the castello grounds.

Castello grounds

O6 and Elisabetta took turns doing cartwheels and handstands. Everywhere.

Entering the Castello

Gymnastics

The view from the castello was amazing. It was a mostly clear day and we could see quite far off in the distance.

Brescia e Juliers

View of the town centro:

Brescia centro

While the grownups took in the view, the kids ran around and had a great time.

Running at the castello

Did I mention there was a view?

View of Brescia
Panorama di Brescia

We followed the cobbled path up into the castle proper. You can climb quite a distance and go up to the innermost of the three walls- everything except the tower itself.

Climbing through the castello

Tower view

By the time we got to the top, everyone was kind of thirsty and hot. The women and girls headed back down and waited for the men, who had popped into a little armory museum on the way down. The girls hung out on the stone lions out front while we waited.

IMG_3965

O6 e Elisabetta

Girls on the Lion

Once we were all back at the cars, it was time to make the drive to Lago d’Iseo. Compared to Milano, Saronno and the other places we’ve been so far, it was mostly countryside. With a few tunnels for fun, of course.

Signal Contact

Tunnel heading to Lago d'Iseo

The little town we visited was a local (not international) touristy spot, which meant it had a lot of people but not a crush of suitcases and people with maps. Everyone was out for a stroll on a gorgeous late summer afternoon.

We were out for gelati, of course.

Gelateria outside

The kids got a quick gusto (taste/flavor) while we waited for our restaurant to open for dinner.

Gelateria

Then we strolled along the lake, taking in the fresh air and stunning views.

Lago d'Iseo

Finally it was time to eat. We went into a restaurant and were seated in the center. Marco and Stefani wanted to sit outside, but there were no tables available there. It was fine, because the roof of the restaurant opens up to allow the outside in!

We ordered wine and water, and the kids got sodas. DH ordered a spicy penne, while Marco and Stefani got pizzas. I had pasta with clams, which was absolutely phenomenal. Elisabetta had the same thing. S8 and O6 ordered spaghetti pomodoro, while Francesca ordered the Pizze McDonald.

Yeah, there’s an “American Pizza”. Guess what’s on it? Sausages (sliced hot dogs) and chips (fries). I kid you not. And this was not the first restaurant where we have seen this menu offering, either.

Pizza McDonald

Our dinner was lovely.  We had a great visit and the time just flew by.  After dinner we stopped for more gelati.  I had a due gusto with Nocciola and Nutella flavors.

While we walked, the kids goofed around and the grownups talked.  I had a really enjoyable conversation with Stefani.  We discussed everything from school systems to grammar to Dante.  She speaks English very slowly, but well.  Her diction is excellent.  She was very gracious about my incessant questions.  Como se dichi…?  ( How do you say…?)  Stefani gently corrected my bad inflection and I learned more words than I forgot today.

  • scarpa shoe
  • cigno  swan
  • per corrompere   to bribe
  • Spaghetti con le vongole  pasta with clams
  • speziato / picante  spicy
  • salato salty

Tomorrow is laundry/errand day.  We are going to try to find the post office and mail a postcard.  In the evening, we are meeting Andrea, Emilia and Matteo and going to Andrea’s parents house for a visit.  Buona notte!

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