Blogs from Lombardy, Italy, Europe - page 3


Europe » Italy » Lombardy June 29th 2018

We thought we were flying cheap to Milan until the small print revealed that Milan ‘Bergamo’ airport is a good twenty miles north. So, we weren’t really going to Milan at all; it felt like travelling to Preston for a night out in Manchester, they aren’t very near each other. It was only a three night break anyway so, rather than waste time on more journeys, we decided to see what pleasures Bergamo had to share. It’s a big place with a lower city (modern Bergamo) and an upper city (tourist Bergamo). The two parts are quite separate, though connected by steep roads and a funicular railway. The old town, the Città Alta, has the things to see and do so we stayed within walking distance of there. We were in a nice spot with ... read more
Our hotel, 15 mins walk into Citta Alta
Good restaurant
A street in town

Europe » Italy » Lombardy » Lezzeno June 29th 2018

We being back in Lake Como mean there is no driving required for three days (well very minimal anyway). On the first day we all go up to Bellagio for lunch and a look around. The afternoon brought some rest time, swimming, reading and a afternoon nap with dinner at a lovely little restaurant on the lake just a ten minute walk from home, great place to watch the sun go down. Yesterday we rented a boat and went cruising up to the top of Lake Como and found some new towns we would like to stay in next time that looked like there were no tourists. As we were coming down the opposite side we picked a secluded bay to stop and have lunch before continuing on and returning the boat mid afternoon again afternoon ... read more

Europe » Italy » Lombardy » Lezzeno June 26th 2018

Yesterday we left Etoy and traveled to the other end of Lake Geneva (originally called Lac Lemon) where we stopped to visit Chillon Castle, this is a 1000 year old castle that sites on rock in the lake. Access was across a modern bridge, but once in the castle the was a lot of history. Its prison once held Lord Byron and has been bombed and rebuild over the centuries. After leaving the castle and stopping next to the lake for a picnic, we headed for the mountains and Italy. We rose from 400m to 2000m and back down to 250m all in the space of 2 hours. The longest tunnel was over 6km long and seem to take for ever. Once in Turin we found our hotel the Allegroitalia Golden Palace right in the center ... read more

Europe » Italy » Lombardy » Como June 23rd 2018

Friday morning, we departed the Splendid Hotel for a ride to Lake Como, a place frequented by the very rich and very famous. He we find the homes of George Clooney, Bridget Bardot, and many others whose fame and fortune far outweighs the rest of us. Today the optional tour was a boat ride around the lake to see where the other half lives. Cathy and I have done that several times, so we chose to stay in town and visit the churches and the shops. Como is famous for silk and many of the shops featured local silk clothes such as ties, scarves, shirts and suits. Many bore the names of famous designers. We were able to buy some ties, scarves and some smaller items for those we left at home. We perambulated all around ... read more
View of the Alps
Watch Tower turned into Pirate Restaurant
The lucky travelers

Europe » Italy » Lombardy » Milan June 21st 2018

Today we leave the beautiful city of Venice and head to the city of fashion, Milan. It was a long day but well worth it. We rose fairly early and hit our private water taxi for a last look at the Grand Canal and the beauty that is St. Marks as we made our way to the ferry landing. Our bus driver, Andreus, drove the bus to the ferry and arrived at the appointed stop just as we landed in our taxi. Perfect timing. Since it was a long ride to Milan, I settled onto the bus for a much-needed nap. Both Cathy and I slept for the first leg of our journey. At about 10 AM we had a “comfort stop” at the Auto Grill. Now for those who have not been to Europe the ... read more
Our Venice Hotel
Milan Designer Shopping Mall entrance
Milan Basilica

Europe » Italy » Lombardy » Franciacorta June 15th 2018

We left Tirano June 13 and drove to the Franciacorta region via Aprica (ski resort) and Edolo. Franciacorta is a wine-producing area near Lake Iseo, famous for sparkling wine since 1961. We had an hour walk through vineyards to the Berlucchi winery, where we had a private tour through the cellars and heard the whole process of putting the fizz I sparkling wine. Basically, after the usual fermentation, a mix of yeast and sugar are added to each bottle, and it is sealed up, to let the gas and pressure build in the bottle. Eventually the yeast dies and the bottle is turned regularly to let the yeast settle out. Finally, the bottle is left upside down, so all the yeast is collected in the neck. Then the neck is flash frozen to get the yeast ... read more
Machine for harrowing between the rows
Bottles of Franciacorta in the cellar

Europe » Italy » Lombardy » Tirano June 11th 2018

On June 10 we left Milan to travel by bus with our OAT group to Tirano via Lake Como. We made a couple of stops on the way near the beautiful lake where George Clooney, Johnny Depp and some other celebrities have villas. The first stop was at a village called Bellamo to see a flume ("l'orrido di Bellamo"). The second was at Varenna, a town that was overrun with tourists and weekenders from Milan on this perfect Sunday afternoon. We had gelato and a light lunch by the lake and toured some botanical gardens. Everything grows here with a mild climate year-round! We continued on, turning into the Valtelline (a valley region known for wine and apples) and ending at Tirano, a walkable small city split into a modern half and a 17th century half, ... read more
Lake Como and Varenna
Castle Nuovo ("new") near Tirano
Petroglyphs near Tirano

Europe » Italy » Lombardy » Milan June 10th 2018

We arrived in Milan at about 9 am on June 8 and had a transfer to our hotel, Sina Hotel de la Ville, right in the center of Milan near the duomo (cathedral). There we met Paulo, our Overseas Adventure Travel trip leader and fellow traveler Pam from Florida. Paulo took us on a brief walking tour to get oriented, and then Wayne and I toured the duomo terraces (roof), interior, and museum. It is a must-see in Milan with over 100 spires and thousands of statues and gargoyles. The interior feels like a forest with its giant columns. Best of all, someone was playing the pipe organ, something that I had always wished for when visiting other cathedrals in France or England! Back at the hotel, we met the other people on our tour. We ... read more
On the roof of the Duomo
Inside the Duomo
Water is safe to drink

Europe » Italy » Lombardy June 7th 2018

After another restful day we decided to take a ride to Lake Lagano, a shared Italian Swiss stretch of water. Set off was 10:30. It was already 19c and getting hotter. A lesson we learned last year was that the turnoff to Lagano is in a short gap between tunnels and SatNav’s only work with line of sight to the satellite. When the SatNav says 17 km turn right, set the odometer because once in a tunnel the SatNav has no idea where you are and makes an uneducated guess, based on your speed when you entered. Seriously the gap with the exit was 150 metres, the SatNav was out by a kilometre and if I hadn’t set the trip we’d have missed it. Out of the tunnel and climbing a miniature spaghetti junction of switchbacks ... read more

Europe » Italy » Lombardy » Milan June 3rd 2018

Last entry from Italy!! We’ve taken it easy a bit here in Milan as Florence was quite full on. We are much further out. A 2k walk in to the Duomo which we did yesterday in extremely hot conditions, 28 - 29 degrees. The heat radiates off the pavements and buildings. At least with tall buildings there is always a shady side to the street. On our way we cross a beautiful park filled with people lying on the grass, children playing, and families having picnics or barbecues. No cafes. In a couple of areas there are fun activities for children’s to do, pedal cars and merry-go-rounds As well as the usual playground equipment. One piece we did see that we thought was brilliant - a huge blue bucket-like structure, actually like a cow’s udder, with ... read more
Kids having fun
Some very skilful soccer players
A couscous city

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