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Published: September 3rd 2015
Having arrived in Milano on Monday afternoon, we were driven through a very clean and ordered city in efficient fashion along impressively wide and modern roadways to our "home" for the next five nights in Como. (The Milan Expo is on till the end of October; maybe they have spruced up the exit road from the airport? Anyhow, it was lovely, (not the usual industrial wastelands you see).The countryside looked very green with forests and crops (lots of corn fields). The city was having a public holiday so it was ghost like. A very, very clean place. Coming from what we experienced in Palermo (which was quite frankly, filthy) the contrast is stark. The lake from our balcony is pretty but cannot match the sights we have been seeing on the Amalfi Coast.On Tuesday we had a leisurely start to the day and decided to take the slow ferry to Varenna, which is close to Bellaggio. It was a very slow boat ride with frequent stops at very charming villages which dot the shores of the lake. We got to wondering about how big this lake really is and where does it rate in terms of size. Well, it turns out,
At the castle with Artù the owl.
I was a little worried about the way he was looking at me!
it's a baby lake. It doesn't really rate at all! And yet, after three hours of slow boating, we were only half way up the lake! However, we did learn that it is apparently the deepest lake in Europe.Varenna has three important sites all of which we visited. The old castle (another big walk up another steep hill), the gardens of Villa Monastero and of Villa Cipressi. Interestingly, Villa Monastero had once been a monastery for nuns but was closed down back in the 1500s because of the licentiousness of its inhabitants. The slow boat back was equally slow and by then we just wanted to get back quickly so a little dozing happened. We were very tired that night and had an early night after having toasted sandwiches for dinner.
Wednesday, the forecast seemed to suggest heavy rain in the afternoon, so we set off at 9 for Bellaggio. This time we took the fast boat. Storms clouds were looking menacing when we got there and I saw lightening in the sky. Sure enough, after a quick visit to some XI century churches, the drops of rain started. We got to the lookout where you can see the
three arms of the lake, but it was drizzly and grey although dramatic nevertheless. I purchased a brolly, Mark said he would be fine; he had his hat! After a coffee, we decided to start a 2 1/2 hour walk around the outer villages. As Mark walked resolutely in front of me, the torrential rain soaked him to the skin and while some of me was dry, my feet were completely squelchy. The downward path we were negotiating had turned into a mini torrent and I half expected Mark to be swept away into Lake Como. Somehow I convinced him to turn back (code for "we argued").We got all the way back to the ferry landing when I put the case that it's dry inside shops and we decided to stay anyway. Eventually, the weather did clear, we had that long walk and the sun came out! We found a tiny, very modern bar italiano where we had lunch and I had a long chat with the helpful attendant who tipped us off about the local bus back. After visiting the gardens of Villa Melzi (my favourite formal gardens so far) we took the bus. Dinner that night was a
pleasant affair at Osteria L'Angolo del Silenzio. There we started off a conversation with some New Yorkers from Long Island. He sounded just like Woody Allen. Just before bed we witnessed another incredible storm from our balcony. The lightening was spectacular and the rain that followed, deafening.Third day in Lake Como. A slow start. I am feeling quite weary it seems. We walked (again) around the town today and while it was all most pleasant, things are feeling a little stale today after the frenetic pace of the last little while. So today, we took things easy and went with the slow motion feel of the day. Nothing of note to report except that the Duomo was very grand. Tomorrow is our last day and we plan to take the funicular up the mountain nearby.
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