Literally Getting “Stuck” in Bergamo, Italy

citta alta bergamo views

Stuck in a bathroom in Bergamo

Last month, on my way back to Madrid, I quite literally got stuck in Bergamo, Italy. Not only because my flight back from Milan was cancelled, but also because I quite literally got stuck in a bathroom with an old lady. Do I have your attention yet?

The story begins with the end of my trip in Milan. I traveled one hour to Bergamo, Italy, to take my flight back to Madrid. Well, that wasn’t going to be happening that day…

Ryanair flight cancellation-fun

If you’re stateside, you may have not yet heard about the Irish airline, RyanAir, which is cancelling hundreds of thousands of flights through next year. Twenty five of its 400 planes are grounded from November 2017 to March 2018 next year because of pilot shortages (700 pilots – a sizable proportion of the 4,200, left for better benefits at Norwegian Air.)

Knowing this, I checked to make sure my flight was still scheduled for take off. I was good to go! But as I cross the security checkpoint, I’m told that the flight was just cancelled.

What a mess…

Imagine a crowd of angry Spanish people… It’s not pretty.

Luckily, I don’t have to be anywhere important the next day, so I reschedule my flight for the same time tomorrow. The new debacle – go back to amazing Milan, or take more of a risk by staying in an unknown place? Bergamo was only 15 minutes away, or take the bus (one hour) back to Milan, only to have to take it back to this airport the next day…?

Well, I had just spent five days in Milan, so I decided to book a hotel in Bergamo for a night. I knew absolutely nothing about Bergamo, except that it’s a small neighbor of Milan.

I arrive to my hotel around 9:00pm, greeted by the friendly host Fabrizio. He explains the lay of the land – the elevated part of the city, Citta Alta, is the old town, dating back to ancient Roman times, founded in 49 B.C. The lower part of the city was the more modern part.

I ventured to the old town, hopping on the funicular to the top.

funicular citta alta bergamo

I step off the squeaky car and look around to realize that I’m surrounded by a network of interwoven cobblestone streets. Narrow streets, smooth, large cobblestones, crooked buildings, and significant cathedrals were just a few of the appeals to this beautiful old town. It was getting late, so I found a place to enjoy my first Italian pizza and a typical aperitivo.

The next day, I returned to kill some time before I had to head back to the airport. First, I just got lost. Every nook and cranny of each street revealed a new site.

Lunch time brought me to a beautiful plaza, where I sat in the sun like a lizard, soaking up the sol and enjoying an Italian coffee.

cafe in plazza citta alta

And here’s where it gets interesting… I head to the bathroom, locking the door behind me. After I was inside, I realized that there were two doors – one I thought was a closet, the other I thought was the toilet. Well, after some subtle rattling of the closet handle, I realize that there were two toilets in the bathroom. I reach towards the main door to unlock it to let this cute tiny little old Italian lady out of the bathroom, pulling on the handle to slide the door open. It appeared to be stuck.

Stuck in the bathroom with grandma

I pull a little harder… No luck.

I try jiggling the handle, pulling up, pushing down… then I started to sweat.

Grandma and I locked eyes, understanding each other without saying a word.

More rattling on my part… And still, nothing.

Panicked little thoughts start to rear their ugly heads in my mind… How long would I be stuck in here with grammy? Will anyone help us? Am I going to have to break this door down? Or climb out of the tiny window, which didn’t look very booty-friendly?

Luckily, a waiter heard the rattling and came to help. He started riggling and jiggling, with no luck, yet again. Finally, he had to unscrew the door handle. Although we were trapped for about 10 or so minutes, it felt like an eternity.

Finally, grandma and I stumble out of the bathroom, safe but starved.

I finish my tortellini and wine, and head downhill to the airport.

pasta bergamo italia

Looking back, the entire thing was quite comical – from the cancelled flight, to the bathroom incident… needless to say, I won’t forget Bergamo 😉

Bonus pics: giant meringues and croissants. You may not be able to tell, but that croissant is about as big as a baby’s head.

Bergamo is definitely worth at least a day trip if you ever find yourself in the Milan area. Just avoid bathrooms with sliding doors!

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