Edit Blog Post
Published: October 9th 2013
Train to Como via Arth Goldau. We picked up the fast train from Zurich to Como (and beyond) at Arth Goldau. 95%!o(MISSING)f the journey was in Switzerland through dramatic alpine scenery. Unfortunately, very misty so we did not bother with photography as it would not have done it justice. Absolutely magnificent stuff. The Autobahns would criss-cross our train line regularly with sweeping loops disappearing into tunnels. In one location there was however a traffic jam that went for several kilometres beside the train and we felt quite smug in our fast moving cocoon.
We are now in Italy! As the train draws into Como San Giovanni station we realise we are rather fatigued. Can we get a taxi? “Don’t be silly says Ron”. The hotel is very close and we can walk it easily.
This turns out to be untrue. 1.5km later, up hill with heavy bags and with a little help from Google maps, the intrepid explorers stagger into Hotel Como. Good one Ron! At least the torrential rain kept us cool.
Wet and sweaty travellers check
in to a delightful room and a king size bed with panoramic views of an apartment block next door, a bathroom bigger than our entire Paris Hotel room and surprisingly an extra device in the bathroom which Ron thinks is a foot bath.
After changing out of wet clothes, Ron goes downstairs to see if they have a local map; they do; they also have a bar. The barman, “Jor” has a friend in Australia – Perth. Is this near Melbourne? No Jor, it is a 4.5 hour plane flight from Melbourne. “Stupendo!” It is also still raining. Realising that we cannot possibly check out the sights of Como under these circumstances, Ron gallantly returns to the room and entices Judy down for a Prosecco while he agrees to sample a Becks for research purposes.
As the Hotel is quite a walk from the restaurant strip, we elect to eat there and it is not bad and very cheap. We chat with a nice German couple from Hamburg over dinner.
The Astall’s wander down the hill and discover that Como, like Lucerne, was
once a walled city and a considerable amount of the walls survive, creating a tightly delineated central city area with negligible vehicular traffic. History and dignified beauty permeates the entire area. Narrow laneways, overhanging buildings and dignified gentlemen in full business dress riding old fashioned bicycles. All the designer shops are there, plus souvenir shops en masse. Like Paris, there are cafes to burn.
We make it to the waterfront and despite the hazy weather the wonderful natural beauty of the lake and surrounds is immediately obvious. A tout from a waterfront café attempts to lure us in – later my friend. A bit further and we see the funicular railway up to Brunate. Up we go. Half way up we disappear into cloud. At the top we cannot see more than 100m in any direction. Nevertheless an interesting town but no view. On the way back, Ron manages some photos of Como just below the cloud. Our café friend wins the battle and in we go for a drink and some very good pasta.
People at the far end of our table do not have an accent. Yes they are Aussies; Peter and
Dianne from Albert Park. Behind us are Jenny and a friend from Ballarat. A woman walks past and Judy spots her outfit as a “Blue Illusion” number. While Judy is in the bathroom the same woman approaches Ron to ask about the ferries. Having been in Como for fifteen minutes longer than they have, Ron’s expertise is invaluable. He also remarks on her “Blue Illusion” outfit. Her husband cracks up. She bought it in Adelaide and he works in Warrigal Road Oakleigh. We all share travel stories for a while then go our separate ways. An hour later we meet the “Blue Illusions” again and we tour the city together for the next two hours. We exchange details and plan to hook up back in Melbourne.
On the fast Ferry to Bellagio. Zoom. Post card views in every direction, small lakeside villages. Hotels suspended half way up steep hillsides with dedicated funicular railways.
Bellagio is smaller than Como and seems to be 80%!s(MISSING)hops and tourist accommodation. Incredibly narrow streets, steep steps and laneways. Just delightful. Water taxis and boats everywhere. Should we retire here
and run a water taxi service? One of the boat operators was a girl from Sydney. They work seven days a week then wrap up mid October and have six months off. What a life!
Back on the Hydrofoil and a quick trip to Tremezzo and Villa Carlotta. Not too many tourists and a gentle stroll around magnificent formal gardens and a Villa full of fine art and sculpture. And also Peter and Dianne from Albert Park from the day before!
We decide to have a quiet day and wander down to town past a Pasticceria that has been catching our eye. No parlo Anglaise, no parlo Italiano and lots of pointing results in an extremely satisfactory cultural exchange and Ron declares his pastry to be perhaps the best he has ever experienced. What was it called – no idea!
Como has a Museo Civico (town museum) in two ancient buildings spanning a narrow lane. Is it open? Looks very quiet. We push on the door to surprise two lovely ladies, who are clearly not being knocked down in the rush. They
are thrilled to have some customers. At three Euro each this is an amazing bargain. Limited Anglaise but a good map and with lots of enthusiasm we are pointed in the right direction. We are the only people in this museum. Such a wonderful place. Brilliant art, Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age artefacts, sculptures, Roman ruins, an extensive military exhibition, a 500 year old lace collection and we loved it all. Plus no crowds, no pushing, and no waiting for morons to finally take a photo of their girlfriend in front of a bloody sculpture. Priceless!
More relaxed rambling around this fascinating town and it’s time for coffee. Again, no parlo Anglaise, no parlo Italiano but we figure it out nicely. When Ron is paying at the counter he notices a Koala hanging off the edge of the cash register. With pointing he communicates that we are from the land of Koalas. The café owner had this given to him by a previous Australia customer. We are his new best friends.
At dinner that night we again chat to the German couple from Hamburg. They have had enough. “Italians hate Germans and
we are going home.” This surprises us as we have had nothing but good service. Later another German couple from Munich chat to us. They are having a great time. Go figure.
Next morning, thoroughly relaxed we catch a taxi to the station.
Off to Venice. . . .
Tot: 2.525s; Tpl: 0.047s; cc: 13; qc: 51; dbt: 0.0403s; 2; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb