Friday, 18 June 2010


The next morning all we had to do was pack up and walk 2 blocks to the train station.  It took a while to figure things out; Bill finally, against what must constitute his strongest instinct, caved in and asked for help.  The ticket seller listened to Bill explain our wishes in his best French.  He then replied in French, English and, Bill told me later, Italian.  Looking back, it almost seemed to me he spoke French up to a point then, when describing our connections over the border, he seemed to think Italian was more appropriate.  Fortunately, Bill was able to pretty much follow it all.  Turned out that trains couldn't travel directly between Nice and Italy.  One had to go to Monaco (mostly through a tunnel), change trains and travel to Ventimiglia, then change again to go north to Milan.  

There we would catch yet another train west to Brescia.  We were ultimately headed for Venice, but Brescia was as far as we would get by early evening.  In fact, we got there just before 5pm and I was a little panicked that tourist information, on whom we were relying to find us a place to sleep, might have closed by the time we found it, which didn't prove very easy.  Bill could walk faster without me, so I parked myself with a coke at a sidewalk cafe and left him to it. 

He came back with a reservation at some sort of religious institution; see what happens when I let him out on his own?  Actually, he did rather well.  While we were there we figured it was either a former convent or monastery, or perhaps was now a retirment home; we saw a couple of nuns and priests as we went to breakfast.  However, in looking it up now, the website only refers to it as an 'accomodation facility'.  

Our room was plain but pleasant.  The bathroom had the quaintest triangular shower in the corner; adequate, but just.  

I thought the moveable spokes that held the shower curtain were ingenious.  

Our shuttered windows opened onto some of the most beautiful evergreen trees I've seen since I left Salt Lake city.  


Everywhere we looked were grand arches, huge wooden doors, marble floors and only two other 'civilian' guests, so it was really quiet.  Not too bad for 60 Euros a night.  The man at the front desk had an old world kind of courtesy that was lovely to receive. 

Again, we ditched the bags and went in search of food.  It was early, we learned, by Italian standards and so this wasn't as simple as it sounds.  Eventually we landed in a place with bustling waiters wearing English styled suit vests over their long sleeved white shirts, which Bill found amazing considering the heat.  Not realising we each ordered main course salads, the two pizzas and the two salads that arrived were a massive amount of food, but we managed to put away most of it.  Thirty-two Euros for what amounted to food for 4 wasn't a bad price either. 

Brescia turned out to be a pleasant, rather sleepy little town, at least the portion that we saw of it.  If we ever go back, I'd volunteer to stay in the 'convent' again.  Not only was it an amazing place, they served an excellent Continental breakfast.

1 comment:

Jo said...

You are so adventureous when you travel and find the neatest places to stay.