Time to say goodbye, Paesi che non ho mai, veduto e vissuto con te, Adesso si, il vivro, con te partiro, su navi per mari che, io lo so, no, no, non esistono piu, it’s time to say goodbye. – Andrea Boccelli
Ciao Bergamo e grazie mille. Molamia, miei amici, stay strong my friends.
It’s time to say goodbye, although on my terms and not Signore Johnson’s.
I have made it my mission to come to Bergamo since the start of the outbreak to find out why the pandemic came here first.
What it was like for the Bergamoschi to live through.
And how they are living today and how they see tomorrow.
Peace to Bergamo
The overriding feeling I have found is one of peace (except for the raucous ragazzi e ragazze outside my window at midnight although this is how the young should be.)
I spend my last afternoon reading the stories on the picture boards in the piazza they are using as a testing centre.
And, of course, nothing tells a story quite like a picture, or a photograph.
I wish mia moglie, the long insufferable (sorry, suffering) Mrs M was here to put her award-winning photo skills to work.
A work of art
I have come too from the Academia Carrera where I have been enjoying Titian, Canaletto and trying out Lotto (no, not the lottery, but the artist.
I have just enough time to treat myself to my Italian guilt pleasure, una ciocolatta di calda densa, a hot chocolate that wants to be a dessert.
That’s the Lord of the Attic Museum the ‘Our Dear Lord in the Attic’ built in 1663 when Catholics lost their right to worship in their own way.
You’ll have a lot more room, and comfort. in George and Amal’s favourite Dutch billet, The Dylan Amsterdam.the Keizersgracht, one of the city’s most famous canals in the stylish Nine Streets shopping district.
Where, of course, their peerless personal service, will ensure you know everywhere to go in Amsterdam, from brown cafe to Sunday chapel.
Doubles start from €223 per night including breakfast.
Fit for yer man, the President
A sign of the times that the most bombed hotel in the world was now hosting the most important couple in the world of the times, the Clintons.
The Europa Hotel also entertained another stellar group, the Republic of Ireland’s finest journalists, to see a Van Morrison and Joey DeFrancesco jazz cabaret.
The Europa is undergoing an extensive refurb of its bedrooms to be completed by March.
Of course, the staff can’t be improved on, and they’re always there to clean up after you… when you leave your room like a bomb-site, as I do.
All llamas great and small
If like me you’ve been enchanted by the new version of All Creatures Great and Small on the telly you’ll be warning to seek out the Yorkshire Dales in England.
For those who don’t know the story it’s the real life tale of how a Scots vet won over the suspicious people of ‘God’s Own County’.
Let me remind you of a particularly humorous incident sees James Herriott lose his watch up a cow’s bum.
But they’re certainly there now. The Nidderdale Llamas experience offers treks through the farm in the company of llamas and alpacas.
Although obviously it turns into a nightmare if you end up on the losing side. My old New York brother and sister friends Tom and Kate informed me that if we were to remain friends then I’d have to pull for the Mets.
I even have the baseball bat and ball here with me on my desk to remind me.
While Kate has few illusions about her beloved Mets who lost the World Subway Series of 2000 to the ‘Damned’ Yankees. ‘They always break your heart, those Mets,’ she sighed.
Even before we got into the Kevin James sitcom, the King of Queens, I was already being pulled this way by my Uncle Eddie on my first trip to New York, after school.
Uncle Eddie, a proud son of Donegal, now living in Long Island supported the neighbouring Queens teams and particularly the New York Jets.
Whisper it but they’re no longer a Queens team, playing their games in New Jersey. As do their great rivals, the New York Giants. Yes, the same stadium, and that’s another subject we’ll get into sometime.
Then there’s ours
And the New Yorkers look to have embraced our football having flirted with it back in the day with Pele, Beckenbauer and the New York Cosmos.
New York City only has the one team their fans will be quick to tell you, in much the same way that their sister franchise Manchester City supporters will inform you that is the case in Manchester, with United playing in Salford.