Bergamo Orio Airport is a relatively small airport with increasing popularity. Low cost airline companies prefer it as it's a lucrative alternative of the much busier (and expensive) Malpensa and Linate airports near Milan. We planned our weekend journey to cover Bergamo and Milan, and if we have time- the beautiful Como lake. That's the reason we went for the option to rent a car.
|Car hire office at Bergamo Airport|
There was another client before us so we had to wait for his documents to be handled first. It took about 15 minutes till our turn came. Our printed voucher and documents were processed quite quickly. The Italian guy behind the desk gave prompt answers to our questions although he wasn't overly polite :-) The best thing he wasn't very pushy on offering us extra stuff.
|Car rental shuttle bus stop|
Our documents were handled for less than 20 minutes and we went out to catch the car rental parking shuttle that was supposed to drive us to our car. The shuttle stop is just in front of the exit- there is an old small sign pointing it.
|Inside the shuttle bus|
We found our car easily although it was quite dark (9:30 PM). Nissan Micra @ 50,000 km with 2 small scratches, that were diligently marked on the paperwork we got from the agency. It's a good practice to take a photo of your car before getting it as there might be some hidden scratches.
|Our rented Nissan Micra|
I mounted my own GPS and we drove out. Bergamo is not a very big town so we found our hotel quite fast (thanks to that precious GPS of mine!). Bed & Breakfast Ciliegio has some great ratings and reviews at Booking.com so it was an easy choice. The owner, Philippo, welcomed us in the late evening and even managed to recommend us a fine restaurant in the neighbourhood. He was complaining he was still waiting for an Italian (yes, native!) couple who got lost depending on public transport and couldn't manage to the hotel. That was another proof for us that getting a car hire was the right decision. Grotta Azzurra, the restaurant recommended by Philippo, was just a kilometer away. It was full to the brim, we hardy found parking place. (Parking is located in the inner yard of the restaurant- it had at least 60-70 places). Food was very delicious, the "old-school-non-english-speaking" waiters brought in even more charm to the situation- great final for our Italian evening.
|Via Rosato in Città Alta|
|The famous Funicolare|
Although it was cloudy and raining from time to time, we had a great time in Bergamo. Once again- we recommend summer time to visit those charming cobbled-stone ancient streets with marvelous churches and cozy restaurants.
My next article will describe our visit to Milan- the centre of Lombardia and the main goal of our journey.
For conclusion, a few words on returning our rented car. We had to return our car with full fuel tank in the early morning when was our flight. In the contract, the fuel tank was divided into eights- 1/8, 2/8…8/8. I also noticed at the beginning, the Micra fuel gauge had 8 levels when completely full. So the night before return, I filled the tank to the brim and again it showed 8/8. In the morning, we managed to get to the parking lot.
|Full tank fuel on the car hire receipt|
We were a bit worried if there'll be a shuttle bus that early in the morning (6:30 AM). A guy at the parking lot showed us a direct walking path to the airport and we were about to go on foot when the shuttle bus came.
The car rental office wasn't opened at the time of our arrival but there was a hole in the window and a lot of car keys on the floor. So that's what we did- filled our return document and dropped the key and the yellow paper through the hole to the floor.