Bèrghem – The City of the Thousand


Do you drink St. Pellegrino water at restaurants? Did you ever asked yourself where the water is coming from? Well, San Pellegrino is a little town in the foothills of the Bergamo Alps.

Bèrghem is the Bergamasque dialect for Bergamo and the name seems to come from the German word ‘Bergheim’, which means hill-town. It’s a city only 40 km/25 mi from Milan and 30 km/ 19 mi from Switzerland at the foothills of the Alps.


A little bit about history: Already the ancient Cenomani, a Celtic tribe, founded the settlement. Then the Romans came and made it part of their reign. As a Roman municipality it had around 10.000 inhabitants, very big for that time (today it has 10 times more). 500 years after Attila destroyed the city because it was an important hub between Friul and Raetia.

Later in the Middle Ages it became the seat of the first Lombard duke named Wallaris.


From the 11th century Bergamo was an independent commune, but part of the Lombard League.

When in the 13th century two of the Guelph and the Ghibelline sympathizing families had conflicts between each other, a third family, the Tasso, was forced to leave its land to escape feuding. But Amadeo Tasso came back years later and organized the city’s couriers. Later the family became known as the Princely House of Thurn and Taxis. They are known to be the first modern postal service.

In 1264 Bergamo came under the rule of Milan. And today many know the city because of the airport that is used as ‘cheaper airport for Milan’.


The city itself today has two parts: the upper city ‘Città Alta’ and the lower city ‘Città Bassa’. The first is the historic core, the lower city the modern, financial center. Both parts are connected with the funicular.

The modern city part is connected to many Italian cities and the highway from Venice to Milan passes here.

The old city, or Città Alta, has all that tourists want. It is surrounded by Venetian walls. The many narrow streets are so typical for the Medieval era and very picturesque. Little shops and restaurants everywhere, in the summertime tables are outside in the street themselves.

At the Piazza Vecchia there is the Palazzo della Ragione. Opposite there is the Palazzo Nuovo, today a library, on the sides there is the Palazzo della Podestà and the belfry, the Torre Civica with a beautiful stairway.

A little behind there are some churches and a mausoleum in the Piazza Duomo. Of course there is the Cathedral of Bergamo, the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, the baptistery ‘Tempietto di S. Croce’ and the Colleoni Chapel.


To all of these beautiful monuments we had a short visit. People everywhere, almost overcrowded, but still we could soak in the beauty of the architecture, the decorations and art of ancient times. And again I thought how sad it is that there is no beauty anymore in modern architecture and structures.

In the end we also had a walk to the San Virgil Castle, the Castello di San Virgilio. This is an old structure for defense which maybe has had a watch-tower during the Roman era. But only in 1166 the first fortification was built here. Today it is abandoned and more of a park with a really amazing view of the town(s), the flat surrounding land to the south and the high Alps to the north.

We enjoyed our day-trip to Bergamo and hope to be back again for another one.

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Bergamo, Lombardy/Italy:


For further information:
Visit Bergamo


Posted in Italy, Lombardy, ON TRAVEL | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fennel Pesto – Surprisingly Different


It’s always great to experiment in the kitchen. In the US I learnt that not too many women like cooking and having fun in the kitchen trying out new recipes or just cook for their love ones the daily meal. I enjoy it, especially the cooking for my man. He likes my cooking, even though so different to the American cuisine. But I am from Italy!

And I am currently back in Italy and enjoy the life in the country-side. I wake up in the morning and listen to the birds and during the day it is still the same. No traffic here, no people shouting to children and dogs who are barking all the time. Just the nice calm country-side.

As I am the lucky person who has a friend who happens to be an organic farmer and is growing a lot of Ancient types of vegetables and fruits, completely free of pesticides and GMO I get a batch of this goodness every time I ask for. Plus ‘lucky eggs’!


He brought me last week 4 boxes of greens, different kinds of lattice, kale, peppers and much more. Plus some fennel with the green tops still on the bulb. He suggested to try some pesto with it.

The pesto came out so tasty! The only thing: in the processor I had a little difficulties to process the long parts. They should be cut into small pieces before processed.

To make it paleo omit the cheese like Grana or Parma. The taste is definitely great! Or try nutritional yeast which gives that cheesy taste. Use the fennel pesto on (gluten-free) linguine or (gluten-free) eliche/spirals. Don’t forget to put some more fresh Olive oil on the top before serving. It makes a difference!


Fennel Pesto on Linguine
Fennel Pesto
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 15 minutes
Fennel Pesto on Linguine
Fennel Pesto
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 15 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Add all the ingredients in a blender or processor and process until it is smooth and creamy.
  2. Store in a glass jar in the fridge until 5 days.
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A Walk in the Golden Hills of Fano


Now fall is nearly gone and the first snow is already on the way in Northern Europe. The weather forecast predicts cold and rain for the next week and I believe November now starts to be what it was always: the gate to winter.

Today was still a beautiful fall day and in the afternoon finally I got out to have a hike with a friend. And I am happy I could take some really nice fall shots. We hiked around the Hermitage Monte Giove in the hills of Fano, Le Marche.

Hope you enjoy them as much as I do! Btw: I added my new photo signature I am very proud of!

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Monte Giove, Fano, Le Marche/Italy

For further information:
Website of the Hermitage Monte Giove, Fano


Posted in Europe, Italy, Marche, ON TRAVEL, reflections | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Pumpkin Coconut Soup with Shrimp – a Perfect Warm Up


Fall for me is soup season. I love soups, all kinds, thick and creamy, light and healthy, chunky and crunchy, wild and classical. Soups not only warm the stomach but also your heart and your mind. In front of the open fire place or sitting with friends around the table with candle lights or maybe reading the new book of Ken Follett ”A Column of Fire (Kingsbridge)”.. every moment is perfect! In addition a soup is quickly prepared and can last for a few days.


Pumpkins are in season now, but also mushrooms – did you ever have wild mushroom soup? Thinking about soup it reminds me my desperate search of simple minestrone in an Italian restaurant in California. It is not possible to find a normal minestrone, a simple vegetable soup. It is ALWAYS with pasta in it. Unbelievable!


My pumpkin soup is with coconut milk that makes it super creamy and not coco-nutty. The shrimp give it an additional kick of taste and texture. You can use shrimp or also prawn or crab meat if you like. Make it vegan with mushrooms.

Try all and enjoy!


Pumpkin Coconut Soup with Shrimp
Pumpkin Coconut Soup with Shrimp
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
2 liter 20 min
Cook Time
1 hour
Servings Prep Time
2 liter 20 min
Cook Time
1 hour
Pumpkin Coconut Soup with Shrimp
Pumpkin Coconut Soup with Shrimp
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
2 liter 20 min
Cook Time
1 hour
Servings Prep Time
2 liter 20 min
Cook Time
1 hour
Ingredients
Servings: liter
Instructions
  1. In a big enough pot drizzle some olive oil and let it warm on the stove. Put garlic and onion chopped into small pieces and let them lightly golden.
  2. Meanwhile clean and chop the pumpkin and the sweet potatoes.
  3. Transfer in the pot, add the vegetable soup and stir. Add the spices, stir again and let it cook slowly for 50 minutes.
  4. With an immersion blender blend the soup until creamy.
  5. Add the coconut cream and the shrimp and let simmer for another 10 minutes.
  6. Serve hot and steamy!
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The Library of the Trinity College in Dublin


One of the ‘must see’ places in Dublin/Ireland is the Trinity College. The main reason for me was the Book of Kells. It is an illuminated manuscript gospel book in Latin and one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. It is one of the finest and maybe also most famous manuscripts of the Middle Ages and was found at Kells, a little town in County Meath. It is displayed in the Trinity College in Dublin and wonderfully explained step by step, from the beginning of the folios (calf vellum) to the paintings and to the bookbinding.

But it’s not about this beautiful art work I want to talk. It’s not allowed to take photos and so I won’t talk about it.


I want to talk about the equally beautiful library above the rooms with the Book of Kells.

I finally had a look into the library, in another time I was in the college it was closed. It is a beautiful, impressive library with thousand of ancient books. And unfortunately too many people to visit it in the same moment. But nevertheless I am glad to have been there.


The College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth – like it is the full and official name – is situated near to Grafton Street in the center of Dublin. The research university was founded in 1592, Ireland’s oldest university.

Now in the heart of the city once it was outside the city walls and additionally in the outlawed Catholic Augustinian Priory of All Hallows. Until 1873 it was reserved only to Protestants, the professorship, the scholarship and the fellowship. Catholics could go to the college only with a permission from the church until 1970 and the first women were allowed to go only in 1904.

It is still one of the finest and most prestigious colleges in Ireland.


The library with its 6.2 million printed volumes and manuscripts is the largest library in Ireland and has a legal deposit library status which means that it is entitled to receive a copy of all works published in the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom.

To get into the library you need to go up a huge staircase. The 65 m/213 ft long chamber, called also Long Room, was built between 1712 and 1732. 200.000 of the oldest books of the library are on the shelves here. They look so inspiring, for a book-lover like heaven. I just wanted to take a book out and open it, pretending to know how to read Latin AND ancient lettering.

It was once only one floor. In 1860 they raised the roof due to have an upper gallery to host more and more books.

Interesting are the many marble busts. Pieter Scheemaeckers, a Flemish Sculptor of the 17th century, is the artists of 14 of them. Writers, philosophers and personalities who have a meaning to the college are to see.

Very interesting is the copy of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic which was read by Pearse at the General Post Office on 14th April 1916.

A beautiful artwork is the oak and willow harp of Brian Boru from the 15th century.

I enjoyed every single moment in the library and my imagination was flying in the past when privileged people only could come here and consult the books for their studies. Real books are the treasure of mankind!


Dublin, Co. Leinster/Ireland:

For further information:
Dublin Website
Website of the Trinity College in Dublin


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