A Day Trip to Lake Como

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May 4th 2015
Published: May 5th 2015
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We were up early this morning so that we could catch the 8.23am train to Varenna which is approximately half way up the eastern side of Lake Como. This regional service departs from Milano's Central Station so we had to take a Metro train from our B&B early enough to make the connection. Although we arrived at Milano Centrale yesterday and caught the Metro to the B&B to familiarise ourself with how to get about on the trains we still thought it best to allow plenty of time to get confused (or lost?) doing it in reverse.

Our early start also meant that we missed the 'and breakfast' part at the B&B this morning. They do breakfast from 8.00am, but Bernie wanted to leave by 7.30am so we ate the fruit, etc that we bought at the supermarket yesterday afternoon before we headed off. Both of us were convinced that the route we took yesterday afternoon between Garibaldi Station and the B&B was longer and more circuitous than it needed to be so we headed for the station in the opposite direction from which we arrived yesterday . Phew, our internal compasses were not wrong and we made it to the local station easily and rode the three stops to Milano Centrale and found the train to Varenna without any trouble.

The regional train travelled via Monza (the home of one of the most famous F1 racetracks) and Lecco before arriving in the small town of Varenna where we disembarked. Following the signs to the Lago we made our way from the station down to the waterside. Unfortunately it was VERY foggy and the surface of the lake was shrouded in mist. We couldn't even see Menaggio on the other side of the lake!

We bought a day ticket for the ferry down to Como and took a couple of photos of Varenna while we waited for the next slow boat to Bellagio. It only took a few minutes to cross to Bellagio where we hopped off the ferry to spend some time in the picturesque village of Bellagio which is located on the point between the two southern 'arms' of Lago di Como.

It was quite cold and gloomy and we only had a light breakfast, so we took a table at one of the restaurants on the waterfront and ordered ham and cheese omelettes for brunch. After eating we explored the beautiful lanes that wind their way uphill from the waterfront. As we were poking around Bernie spied a bottle of Kahlua in a shop window. With the supply of Kahlua (for my pre-dinner drinks in our room because I don't drink beer!) brought from home running low we had been on the look out for Kahlua for a few days. Who would have thought that we would find it in a little place like Bellagio when it has not been available in the cities?!

With the weather steadfastly refusing to clear up we caught the 1.30pm ferry to Como. Even though it would have cost only €4.00 each to upgrade to the fast boat we stuck it out on the ferry figuring that we would see more of the villages between Bellagio and Como as the ferry service called in at each of them. The hydrofoil service only stops at the main towns and skims past the rest!!

And so we meandered our way down the lake on a gloomy and overcast afternoon. At least the fog had lifted from the surface of the lake and we could see all of the pretty little villages that cling to the shoreline. Even though I had two layers of merino AND my lined Gore-Tex coat on I was wishing that I had brought my down vest with me today. Of course I could have sat inside, but I'm sure the fresh air laced with diesel fumes out on the stern deck must have been better for me than the over-heated lounge?! I'm sure I read somewhere that being cold strengthens your immune system and I haven't caught an upper respiratory tract infection yet despite close encounters with plenty of people coughing, sniffing and sneezing.

After two hours and 23 minutes we arrived in Como at the southernmost end of the lake. From the ferry terminal we walked around to the monumental building that we had seen from the lake. We thought that it looked like a Shrine of Remembrance, but it turned out to be a monument to Alessandro Volta, the inventor of the battery, who live and died in Como.

From the lakeshore we walked to the station and would have to say that this area of Como was not particularly attractive. Perhaps if we had more time to explore Como we would have found it to be quite charming? Anyhow, once we reached the station we purchased out tickets for our return trip to Milan. Although it was a bit warmer in Como than it had been on the lake I still thought that it was far too cold for gelato so settled on a hot chocolate from the station cafeteria instead. Bernie didn't think that it was too cold for a beer!

We were back at Milano Centrale around 6.00pm and made it back to Le Favia by about 6.45pm which was just in time for drinks on the terrace. Catherine made us feel very at home providing us with glasses of white wine and crisps on the B&B's verdant terrace.

We ate at another local restaurant tonight that had been recommended by our host. This restaurant was Trattoria Ferrelli which was bit more up-market than last night's restaurant. Once again the menu was only in Italian so we let our waiter choose our meal for us. We started by sharing a delicious red onion tart and followed that with spaghetti carbonara and a really tasty beef dish. We shared a chocolate pudding for dessert. With no service charge included (really have to watch out for them sneaking a 12% service charge on!) we left a €10.00 tip for the waiter. He chased us down the street to give us our change and seemed genuinely delighted when we told him the €10.00 was for him. That makes a change from waiters who work at establishments that add a service charge as a matter of course and then hint very strongly that if you are pleased with their services you should tip them. What's the service charge for then???

Steps for the day 16,844 (11.47 km)

Additional photos below
Photos: 16, Displayed: 16


5th May 2015

Where's Stephen?
Loved the colours of the plants in the garden at Cadenabbia - brilliant overlooking the lakeside. And, despite the dull day your photos are still remarkably clear. That mansion may also belong to Johnny Matthis, if you remember him. I've been in love with his music all my life. Cheers. Caroline
6th May 2015

Spring flowers
Hi Caroline, The rhododenrons and the azaleas seem to do very well here in northern Italy as we have seen some absolutely beautiful examples of both ... in gardens and in pots. Cheers, Tracey.
6th May 2015
George's House?

looks like george's house
Checked some images on the internet and the house you have photographed looks like it is George Clooney's home, going on many features pictured. It is a different angle but I am certain you are right.

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