Sunday, August 28, 2016

A Walk from Albino to Bergamo via Monte Misma

Left: The route from Albino to Bergamo. Right: Close to the top of Monte Misma on sentiero 601.
The route from Albino to BergamoClose to the top of Monte Misma on sentiero 601

Panorama from Monte Misma
Panorama from Monte Misma

Hike Notes

Length: 25.6 km (15.9 miles)
Duration: 7 hours and change minus a 15-minute lunch break on Monte Misma
Elevation: 1.646 m (5,400 feet) total elevation gain, minimum and ending elevation in Bergamo 256 m (840 feet), max elevation 1.160 m (3,806 feet) @ Monte Misma, starting elevation at Albino 330 m (1,083 feet)
Location: Italy, Lombardia, Bergamo, Bassa e Media Val Seriana


I got it in my head that it would be fun to walk from Albino to Bergamo, and so we gave it a try today. I wouldn’t say it was one of our prettier walks/hikes due to disruptive trail work after many trees were uprooted in a recent storm, a thick haze that made all views resemble very smoggy LA day, and the last bit of the walk on surface streets. On the positive side, this walk contained some classic easy hill walking tthrough roccoli, which are so characteristic to this area.

A roccolo is a big trap for birds, usually smaller migratory birds. You might say it’s a bird snare, but snare is a bit of under-powered word to describe these structures. It’s better to describe them as architettura vegetale. Roccoli are built different ways, but commonly are in a circular shape of living material (trees and shrubs) and other materials (wire, poles, netting), and are build on a hill top. Often, you can tell you are approaching a roccolo if you start seeing signs warning you about hunters and guns. The signs can seem freaky, but to date nothing has ever happened to us even walking straight through roccoli.

There is an interesting article on roccoli published by LAC, a group promoting the abolishing of hunting. Despite advocating for abolishment, the article gives a good summary of the background on roccoli. The idea of creating a roccolo supposedly came to some priests escaping the plague of the XIV century by heading up into the mountains. Once in the mountains, they had to eat something and the story goes that they invented the roccolo. The article does go on to describe many of the not-so-nice ways live birds are used to attract other birds into a roccolo. The article describes the etymology of roccolo as coming from Latin “rocolus”, a diminutive of castle, or that roccolo derives from “rotolus” for the circular form.

Part of the walk (sentiero 513) goes through Parco del Monte Bastia e del Roccolo, which is where we saw most of the roccoli. The provincial profile of the park states that there are dozens of roccoli in this zone. From the Wikipedia page for the park states that the roccoli are present in large numbers on the ridge from Monte Bastia to Monte del Roccolo because the area is located on a natural terrace overlooking the Bergamo plain and the mouth of the Val Seriana, which is an area of concentrated bird migration.

Panorama of a roccolo in Parco del Monte Bastia e del Roccolo.
Panorama of a roccolo in Parco del Monte Bastia e del Roccolo.

Two other things to point out on the walk are:
  • Pierina Morosini chapel. Pierina Morosini (1931 – 1957) was killed on the trail where the chapel is located, a life cut short by a brutal act. She was later beatified in 1976 and officially blessed in 1987. We encountered this touching little chapel early in the hike.
  • Maria Ausiliatrice del Monte Misma. We got a bit lost around this, for a lack of better work, sanctuary, which occupies the top of a small wooded hill and includes paths and statues honoring Mary Help of Christians and Saint Joseph. (Information in Italian.) From what we could tell, a local man had several sightings of a dove and la Madonna. Then, the man built the sanctuary with guidance from Mary. It was a bit confusing for us to comprehend what we were seeing perhaps because we were sweating profusely from hiking and in need of some water. It’s an example of the interesting things you find in the hills around here.
Left: Pierina Morosini chapel. Center: Statues at Maria Ausiliatrice del Monte Misma. Right: Ex-votos at Maria Ausiliatrice del Monte Misma.
Pierina Morosini chapelStatues at Maria Ausiliatrice del Monte MismaEx-votos at Maria Ausiliatrice del Monte Mism

The steps to recreate this roll-your-own walk are:
  • TEB tram: Take the tram from Bergamo to Albino.
  • Sentiero 511 (Albino - S. Maria del Misma): In Albino, find 511 and start climbing.
  • Sentiero 601 (Bivio Corna Clima, Luzzana - Monte Misma): At intersection with 601, take it to the summit of Misma.
  • Sentiero 539 (Cornale - Monte Misma): Take 529 down from the summit until you hit 513. (We got lost once or twice here, signage was a little spotty.)
  • Sentiero 513 (Tribulina di Gavarno - Valle Rossa – Monticelli)
  • Sentiero 509 (Villa di Serio - Gavarno - Monte Bastia) You’ll have to walk through Gavarno to find 509.

Particularly useful as always is to print out the maps and gpx tracks from the CAI Bergamo, so you can have them handy.

At the end of the mountain walking we were left in Scanzorosciate, a few kilometers from Bergamo, and walked back on streets to Piazzetta del delfino. This part was boring, except for a stop for a much appreciated ghiacciolo (ice pop). Happy walking!

Left: Allium cirrhosum. Center left: Cirsium. Center right: Cyclamen purpurascens. Right: Capanno con sparo - Hunting blind with gunshots.
Allium cirrhosumCirsiumCyclamen purpurascensCapanno con sparo - Hunting blind with gunshots

Left: A sign in Parco del Monte Bastia e del Roccolo pointing out flowers common to this area, vincetossico - Vincetoxicum hirundinariaorchide priamidale - Anacamptis pyramidalisfiordalis di trionfetti - Cyanus triumfettii, and sferracavallo commune - Hippocrepis comosa. Center: Le vie del Misma trails. Right: Graphosoma lineatum - Italian-Striped Bug.
A sign in Parco del Monte Bastia e del Roccolo pointing out flowers common to this areaLe vie del Misma trailsGraphosoma lineatum - Italian-Striped Bug

Left: Azienda Agricola Celinate. Right: Coming down from Monte Misma.
Azienda Agricola CelinateComing down from Monte Misma

Left: View northwest from Monte Bastia toward Nembro. Right: View of Monte Misma from Celinate.
View northwest from Monte Bastia toward NembroView of Monte Misma from Celinate

Views of a roccolo in Monte del Roccolo. Note some artificial trees mixed with living trees.
Views of a roccolo in Monte del Roccolo. Note some artificial trees mixed with living trees.Views of a roccolo in Monte del Roccolo. Note some artificial trees mixed with living trees.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Bergamo – Street Sign Language Lesson XI – Stacca e Attacca

Street Sign Language Lesson 10 < Street Sign Language Lesson 11

Left: A bottle of grappa called Pòta! at Rifugio Cassinelli. Right: Street sign using Pòta.
A bottle of grappa called Pòta! at Rifugio Cassinelli Street sign using Pòta

Pòta! – Hell!
The translation of the catch all Bergamasco word pòta (as an interjection) as hell sort of catches the spirit of the word, but it is much more. The dictionary Vocabolario Bergamasco-Italiano published in 1859 (page 389) defines it as equivalent to the Italian caspita! or diamine! The wikitionary page for pota describes it thoroughly with its different uses as a pause word, an exclamation, a way to express powerlessness, sarcasm, or disapproval.

Here, pota is used in a sign indicating a street under repair in Piazza Pontida, and for the name of a grappa brand. The sign in Piazza Pontida is roughly equivalent to the Italian scusateci per il disagio, ma stiamo lavorando per voi or excuse us for the inconvenience but we are working for you.

Pota, the noun, refers to the female genitalia. I guess the exclamation point is kind of important to know what sense you are using the word?

Left: Stickers to peel off and stick on sale at a newsstand in Bergamo. Right: A polish nun at a newsstand in Bergamo.
Stickers to peel off and stick on sale at a newsstand in Bergamo A polish nun at a newsstand in Bergamo

Stacca e attacca – Peel and stick
Stacca is the second person singular imperative of the verb staccare – to detach, and attacca is the second person singular of the verb attaccare – to attach. The phrase is used to refer to stickers for kids that you can buy at a newsstand.

Related newsstand story: Recently, a Polish nun (polacca) was in front of us at the newsstand near Porto S. Alessandro in Città Alta. She seemed lost and the woman behind the counter was frustrated with what the nun was trying to ask. We stepped in to help, or so we thought. Because she spoke only Polish and we spoke English and Italian, so we waved our arms and tried to communicate. After 10 minutes of going nowhere, we got the bright idea to use our phones to translate. That helped a bit. After another 10 minutes, we learned that the Polish sister was not at all lost, she knew exactly where she wanted to go and she, in fact, seemed frustrated that we were so clueless. And so off she went to the funicular for San Vigilio. In the end, it seemed she had stopped at the newsstand to ask the way to S. Vigilio by trying to point at the S Vigilio castle on a postcard. Alas, the woman running the newsstand thought the nun wanted to buy the postcard. All this to get to my silly alliteration: stacca e attacca, va via la polacca!

A sign warning not to cut below the wire without first talking to the owner.
A polish nun at a newsstand in Bergamo
Attenzione: per il taglio delle piante soto la linea rivolgersi al proprietario – Warning: before cutting the vegetation below the line, check with the owner
We saw this sign on a hike from Nembro to Bergamo. You often see the verb rivolgersi in signs with the sense of to check with or go to someone. Instead of using an imperative form of the verb rivolgiti (you informal), si rivolga (you formal), rivolgetevi (you plural), the infinitive form of the verb is used as is often it is in official settings. For example, you will see the infinitive imperative form when using an ATM.

Beach chair for rent.
Beach chair for rent.
Noleggio sdraio 2€, rivolgersi al bar – Beach chair rentals 2 euros, inquire at the bar
We have our rivolgersi again, but this time it’s to ask about renting a beach chair or sdraio. Sdraiare is to lay down. We saw this notice at the Rifugio Cassinelli on a hike below Pizzo della Presolana. While not on a beach, you might want the chair to spend some time gazing down from the rifugio.

Don't stop under the funivia sign.
Don't stop under the funivia sign
Attenzione funivia, non sostare sotto le funi – Warning, cable car overhead, do not stop below the cables
On a recent hike (Carona to Rifugio Laghi Gemelli), I was struck by the word funi on this sign having never seen it before. Funi is the plural of fune – cable. After a little thought, the word funivia started to make some sense in that it's composed of fune(i) and via – route or way so that funivia is a route on cables.

If the stream rises suddenly, get moving, and don't stop under the funivia either.
If the stream rises suddenly, get moving, and don't stop under the funivia either
Attenzione pericolo, possibilità di onde di piena improvise anche per manovre su opera idrauliche – Danger, possibility of sudden flood also because of maneuvers of the hydraulic operations
On the same hike (Carona to Rifugio Laghi Gemelli), we saw this odd sign As if a sudden wave of water occurring naturally isn’t enough to worry about (such as from a sudden downpour?), this sign suggests that operation of the hydraulic works in the area may also cause a sudden wave of water in the stream.

The sign was just below Lago Gemelli. As explained in La Montagna che Produce - Centrali idroelettriche Valle Brembana (Italian only), the development of the lakes in this area started in the early 20th century as a way to control capacity of the Brembo River and maximize energy production. The linked article suggests that there could be diurnal variations to keep downstream operations supplied with water.

Who doesn't need clips?
Mollette milleusiMollette milleusi
Mollette milleusi – All-purpose clips
Mollette is the plural of molletta, which is the diminutive of molla – spring. Milleusi is 1,000 (mille) uses (usi), multi-use or all-purpose.

Harry Potter latest pre-order.
Harry Potter latest pre-order.
Se prenoti subito la tua copia, con Altafedeltà avrai 15% di sconto. Il libro uscirà il 24 settembre – If you reserve your copy now using the Altafedeltà card, you will have a 15% discount. The book will be released on September 24th
The latest Harry Potter story, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, translates as Harry Potter e la maledizione dell’erede. In this sign for IBS+Libraccio, you can reserve a copy (prenotare) of the book that will be released (uscire) on September 24th, later than the English version release date.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Bergamo – Street Sign Language Lesson X – Ferragosto!

Street Sign Language Lesson 9 < Street Sign Language Lesson 10 > Street Sign Language Lesson 11

Ferragosto is that summer Italian holiday where the cities empty out, businesses close down, and Italians go on vacation (ferie). Ferragosto is the holiday on August 15th, but in the general sense the term means the vacation period from mid to late August.

There are so many interesting ways to say “we’ve gone on holiday,” and I sincerely want businesses in Bergamo to know that their creativity has not gone unnoticed. Below are just a few ferragosto signs we saw along Vie Pignolo, Torquato Tasso, XX Settembre, and Sant’Alessandro. The businesses in bold are ones we frequent, just so you know our suffering.

Some signs use present tense (riapre), some future (riaprirà). Some signs use the impersonal (si riapre), some the first personal plural “we” (riapriamo). I especially like the signs that wish patrons a pleasant holiday as well in the one example below “let us take this opportunity to wish you all happy holidays” (cogliamo l’occasione per augurare buone vacanze a tutti).

Two other signs warrant a mention: the use of ci si rivede used in one example as “see you again”, and the example that includes se vi manchiamo guardate la foto - “if you miss us, look at our foto [below]”.

  • Chiuso per meritato riposo. (Squacquerone
  • Chiusi per ferie dal 28/07 al 22/08.
  • Chiuso per ferie. Si riapre il giorno 31 agosto. (Palatofino
  • Chiuso per ferie (Federazione Italiana Tabaccai) 
  • Chiusi per ferie, riapriamo martedì 30. Buone vacanze!! (Bistrot Afrodita
  • Chiuso per ferie, si riapre il 25 agosto. (Furore
  • La Pasticceria Salvi chiude per mertitato riposo dal 01 agosto e riapre il 30 agosto. Cogliamo l’occasione per augurare buone vacanze a tutti! 
  • Avvisiamo la gentile clientele che La Feltrinelli Libri e Musica resterà chiusa. Distinti Saluti, La Direzione. 
  • La farmacia rimarrà chiusa per ferie dal 14 al 21 agosto. Riaprirà lunedì 22 agosto. 
  • Si avvisa la gentile clientele che Schiaccia riapre venerdì 26 agosto. In Largol Belotti lunedì 29 agosto. Auguriamo a tutti buone ferie e buon ferragosto. 
  • Chiuso per ferie, si riaprirà martedì 23.08. 
  • Il negozio rimane chiuso per ferie dal 9 al 29 agosto.
  • Ci si rivede, come sempre, intorno ai primi di settembre.
  • Siamo in ferieeee! Se vi manchiamo guardate la foto!!!
  • Chiuso x (meritate) ferie.

A collection of ferragosto signs in Bergamo.
Ferragosto sign - ferieFerragosto sign - ferieFerragosto sign - ferie
Ferragosto sign - ferieFerragosto sign - ferieFerragosto sign - ferieFerragosto sign - ferieFerragosto sign - ferieFerragosto sign - ferieFerragosto sign - ferieFerragosto sign - ferieFerragosto sign - ferieFerragosto sign - ferieFerragosto sign - ferieFerragosto sign - ferieFerragosto sign - ferieFerragosto sign - ferieFerragosto sign - ferie

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Bolzano to Innsbruck – Street Sign Language Lesson IX

Street Sign Language Lesson 8 < Street Sign Language Lesson 9 > Street Sign Language Lesson 10

For this episode of street sign language lessons, we draw examples from a recent trip we took north through Austria and southern Germany. Our first stop was Innsbruck where many of these photos were taken. The official language in Austria is of course German, but you’ll find lots of signs that include Italian translations, especially in cities close to Italy. In fact, signs start featuring German and Italian well before you leave Italy. Two of the examples shown were taken near Bolzano.

In this post you’ll learn about towing trailers on the A22, read about my love affair with stube, learn how to say sunny in Italian, see a statue that has been touched too much in its private parts, and discover how life is like a ski jump. What are you waiting for? Keep reading.

Sign on the A22 Autostrada
Sign on the A22 Autostrada

Divieto di sorpasso per veicoli trainanti i rimorchi – No passing for vehicles towing a motor home or trailer
This sign was one of many we saw on the A22 Autostrada del Brennero as we headed north reminding drivers that vehicles towing a load cannot pass. (The rules governing passing are more complicated than shown here and depend on tonnage and location on the road.) The interesting words here are rimorchio / rimorchi meaning trailer or load and trainanti from trainare, to pull or tow.

BTW: If you are driving north from Italy into Austria, don’t forget to purchase and affix an Austrian vignette to your windshield. You can buy them at many spots before you reach the border. If you don’t have one on an Austrian highway, you will get a ticket.

Left: Stube in Albergo Signaterof. Center and right: Sign for Stube aus Caldes bei Malè example in Tiroler Volkskunstmuseum
Stube in Albergo SignaterofSign for Stube aus Caldes bei Malè example in Tiroler VolkskunstmuseumSign for Stube aus Caldes bei Malè example in Tiroler Volkskunstmuseum

Left: Sign indicating location of stube in Albergo Signaterof. Center: Canederli (knödel) with chanterelles (finferli) at Albergo Signaterof. Right: Dish of testina at Albergo Signaterof.
Sign indicating location of stube in Albergo SignaterofCanederli (knödel) with chanterelles (finferli) at Albergo SignaterofDish of testina at Albergo Signaterof

Stube al 1 piano – The stube is on the first floor
I am fascinated with stubes, a type of traditional living room found in the Tyrol area. A stube is room lined with wood, with a low ceiling and usually containing a stove. We first experienced them in 2008 (see Ladin Mugums and Stuas) on our first trip in the Dolomites. To me, the rooms are like cozy studies where you can immerse yourself for hours reading or hiding from the world.

While we are dining at Albergo Signaterhof (above Bolzano) on our way north to Innsbruck, I see the sign and I remember the feel and smell of stubes. After a lunch of testina and canederli (knödel) with chanterelles (finferli), we check out the stube at Albergo Signaterhof. It’s satisfying, but even more satisfying is the fascinating collection of recreated stube we would see a few days later in the Tiroler Volkskunstmuseum in Innsbruck.

Weather for Innsbruck

Prevalentemente soleggiato – Mostly sunny
Switching the language on your phone is a good exercise to learn new words. Here is a screen capture from the weather app on my phone showing the weather for Innsbruck. (Perfect weather for a hike that we did: Hike in Innsbruck: Hafelekarhaus to Pfeishütte.) I was in the habit of saying c’è sole to indicate it was sunny out when the better way to say it is with the word soleggiato.

Sign at Albergo Signaterhof asking customers to chip in some money if they are just using the bathroom.
Sign at Albergo Signaterhof asking customers to chip in some money if they are just using the bathroom

Se si utilizza il WC senza consumo vi chiediamo di pagare € 0,50 al bar (carta, corrente, acqua). Ringrazio per la vostra comprensione – If you use the bathroom without buying something we ask that you pay 50 cents at the bar (for paper, electricity, and water). Thanks for your understanding.
We saw this sign at Albergo Signaterhof (above Bolzano) on our lunch stop during a trip north to Innsbruck. Resources are precious here and while it’s nice that you can use the bathroom (for example as a biker just passing through), you should contribute a little to keep it running if you aren’t buying something.

Sign and statues in Hofkirche, Innsbruck.
Sign and statues in Hofkirche in InnsbruckStatue of Rodolf I of Germany, Hofkircke

Si prega non toccare le statue – Please do not touch the statues
It’s hard not to want to touch the statues in the Hofkirche (Court Church) in Innsbruck. They statues depict historical figures that are bigger than life in both senses. One statue in particular, Rodolf I of Germany, has been touched quite a bit in his private area judging by how polished that part of his body is.

Bergisel Ski Jump in Innsbruck. Left: Sign describing the judges' tower. Center: View of ski jump from below. Right: View of ski jump from the top.
Bergisel Ski Jump: sign how ski jumps are judgedBergisel Ski Jump: view from the bottomBergisel Ski Jump: view from the top

Portamento, stile, lunghezza, e atterraggio – posture, style, length, and landing
This sign was at the Bergisel Ski Jump (called trampolino in Italian). The sign describes the judge tower and the criteria on which ski jumpers are judged.

The jump is located just south of the city, an easy 45-minute walk from center and was used in the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics held in Innsbruck. The ramp and stylish tower that is the launch point, and today contains a restaurant and observation deck, was designed by Zaha Hadid.

Philosophical musing: life is like a ski jump. You get judged on how you behave (posture - portamento), your style (stile), how long you live (lunghezza), and how you die (stretching it a bit, your landing or atterraggio).

Trash can  in Innsbruck with a play on Italian and German words.
Trash can  in Innsbruck with play on Italian and German words

Mülle grazie – Trash, thanks
Mülle is trash in German. In an effort to make trash cool, catchy slogans, often a play on words, are being used in Berlin (BSR) to make people think about their trash and disposing of it. Mülle grazie is a take on mille grazie, or thank you very much. Perhaps, Innsbruck seems to have adopted a similar approach, which might explain why we saw the phrase there.