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Published: June 27th 2017
We wake late to the sound of birds outside. What a great sleep. We’re not in a hurry but we need to be on our way early because today is going to be hot again. We have seen programmes on TV pointing out that this period of hot dry weather is starting to have an effect on pastures. The Po River and its associated irrigation systems are becoming affected by lack of water. Arable land is drying up, crops are suffering, Now we realize why many of the rivers we crossed earlier were dry. Italy has been quite dry since the beginning of April.
Chores are done so we head off for our drive down the hill and on to Varenna to catch the ferry to Bellagio, a town on the point of land that separates the two arms of Lake Como. We chat to two workmen resting in the shade while having a break from tidying the sides of the road. They agree it is hot today. Looking across the lake it is hard to see the other side through a blue smoky heat haze. Already the inside of the car is over 30 degrees.
We drive the
five kilometres to Varenna and mix it with the locals and tourists all looking for a shady park. We find a park near the railway station in full sun. The local cafe refuses to change a note for some coins. We’ll remember this cafe for later. A short walk down the hill takes us to the ferry terminal for our short cruise across the lake. The palazzos that line the water front tell a story of bygone years. Today they are hotels or luxury apartments.
Today, Friday, appears to be relatively quiet. People move reasonably freely around the picturesque streets. The souvenir shops and boutique retailers are doing a roaring trade. We help the local economy by having a nice lunch in an air conditioned restaurant. What this town must be like on a busy summer weekend we can only imagine. There is cool relief in a local church. Everything about the town is picture perfect. Before leaving we sample the local gelato. We are not greedy, just a small cup and two scoops.
Time to head back across the water. This time we take the car ferry. A tour guide is acting the mother hen collecting her
chickens. She marches ahead of her brood who swamp the poor ticket collector. Why the rush, there is plenty of room. Only one car on the ferry for this trip. We are soon in Varenna climbing the hill to the car. The on board temperature reading says 44! We are not having a cool drink at that cafe.
Tonight we decide on another at-home meal. We drive the water front road to Colico and find a reasonably big supermarket. We purchase our dinner for the night and head back to the apartment. It has been a great day out. Hot, yes, but great to take our time and get the feel that this part of Italy is special. Once the tour buses depart for their overnight destination in one of the cities to the south, such as Milan, these lakeside townspeople get their towns back. All is quiet. We are finding the people are more understanding of visiting drivers and show some patience, especially when negotiating narrow streets or driving into, or out, of parks. We are feeling good about our stay in Bellano.
Back at the apartment we talk to the locals in this little hamlet about
the weather and the possibility of a thunderstorm. Yes, or no, maybe. Perhaps in the mountains. We settle down for the night. Life is bliss.
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