Category Archives: Como

Lake Como and Bellagio

Il Grand Hotel di Como Il Grand Hotel di Como

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This morning I woke up singing the praises of the coffee machine at breakfast. After a bit of sleep, we were all able to regroup over cereal and yogurt, looking ahead at the rest of our day. It was decided that we would take a 2 hour boat ride to Bellagio. This style of transportation was developed initially as a water taxi, but proved to be a great way to see the sights. However, I felt like when I wasn’t looking through my viewfinder, I was staring at my feet with a bout of sea-sickness. This begged the question: People actually go on boats…for fun?

DSC_6272

The lake was stunning; the water was an emerald shade of green, and the ridges and tiers of the mountains seemed to go on forever. There were clusters of terracotta colored homes that ran vertically up the mountains: a style that reminded me of the Tuscan countryside. I imagine that higher up the mountain, the incline becomes steeper, so almost every village is built from the water level, up. This privatized water access reminded me of the alleyways we found ourselves wandering down in Venice four years ago. Apparently the scenery wasn’t enough for some, because Rachel and I received an authentic Italian cat-call from one of the men in the boats below ours. DSC_6241 DSC_6238

 

We finally arrived in Bellagio, and my feet couldn’t have fled to dry land more quickly. The town was built upwards, like most of the other towns we had seen. Between the cafes, upscale clothing stores, and tourist hot shops, we settled on a Gelateria. I cannot believe that we survived Italy this long without gelato: it’s almost criminal. The trek up and down the stairs of the coastal town grew tiring after a while, and DSC_6302when we decided we had taunted ourselves enough with fine Italian fashion that was out of our price range, we returned to Como on the “Servico Rapido” boat. An hour later, we were back at our hotel, ready to spend the rest of the day relaxing.

Rachel and I parked ourselves pool-side, and with the help of a young (and slightly over attentive) cabana boy, collapsed the umbrella by our chairs with the sole hope of catching mid-day rays at their full potential. Much to what will be my mother’s dismay when she reads this, we fell asleep in the sun for hours, without sunscreen.

I can’t remember the last time I felt a truly relaxed calm sweep over me like I felt this afternoon, but it was enchanting. Some may attribute it to the fact that we are in one of the most beautiful places in the world. And, I say that as an avid traveller who has seen and experienced a lot of beautiful things. Others may attribute it to the incident today where I inadvertently sat up straight in the midst of tanning, forgetting that my bathing suit top was, in fact, undone for the purpose of tanning. After a horrifying mishap like this, one can only laugh it off, relax, and accept that the worst has already come to pass. Whoops.

While trying to push this from my mind, and settle into a state where thoughts couldn’t penetrate my calm, I stumbled upon this bit on knowledge: “Relax, because the worst is over. You are more prepared to deal with whatever life sends your way, than you ever thought possible.” This can apply to a lot more than my embarrassing moment: relationships, new beginnings, college. As a practicing over-thinker, sometimes pushing the hyperactive planning and analyzations aside for a day or two can actually lead to more clarity. Hmmm…

After our time by the pool (which was frigid, in stark contrast to the air temperature,) we got ready for dinner. The sun was dipping behind the hotel, and Dad seemed peeved that the cabana boy was not quite as helpful towards him. Weird, right? 😉 Thankfully, we are now on Italian time, and dinner at 8:30 seemed like no problem. We drove to Cernobbio, to eat at Della Torre. We had an exquisite view over the lake and lights of Como. Everyone ate Italian faire, except for me. Wiener schnitzel was on the menu, and what more can I say? I’m a German girl. Rachel let me try some of her pizza though, and I can attest to its deliciousness– just as great as one might expect Italian pizza to be. Our night wrapped up with dessert, and we began the dangerously fast descent into Como, as Della Torre is located on one of the taller hills in Cernobbio.

And now, I am here in my comfort zone: a public place, in my pajamas, on my laptop. Tomorrow’s plan is unwritten, just as it should be, with one minor detail: the next time I write to you, I will be in Switzerland.

Buona Notte!

Advertisements

European Excursion

Dear readers, it’s that time of year again where I embark on a new adventure and take on a new city, country, or continent. This summer? Northern Italy and Switzerland. I’ve been up for 31 hours straight, so if my writing tonight is incoherent, I apologize.

***

Welcome to Milan, Italy: the fashion capital of the world! Where graffiti is abundant, and every day for a pedestrian becomes a struggle for survival. Speaking as both a taxi cab patron, and pedestrian, I can attest to this. 😉

Our flight landed in Milan-Linate around 10 am, and after being on-the-go for collectively 12 hours (including our stopover time spent in Amsterdam), it felt nice to stretch our legs. We took a taxi to what we thought was the home of Da Vinci’s “Last Supper.” However, due to a communication error with our cab driver, we wound up at Piazza del Duomo, home to THIS work of art instead:

Milan Cathedral Milan Cathedral

We spent a few hours perusing the square, and re-caffeinating before we began our trek on foot to the Convent of Santa Maria della Grazie: the real home of Da Vinci’s original fresco. It was amazing to see this work of art in person. We were only allowed to see the painting for 15 minutes, but that was just enough time to take in it’s vast size and historical significance. I’m surprised I was even able to appreciate what I had the pleasure of seeing, mainly because only 30 minutes before, I was in the process of falling asleep on my backpack in the square in front of the convent.

Da Vinci's "Last Supper"

After that, we all agreed we had had enough. We took a taxi back to the airport, picked up our rental car, and made the hour and a half drive to Como, Italy. Our hotel, Grand Hotel di Como, is gorgeous, and I’ll have to post pictures of it tomorrow. Unwilling to succumb to the drowsiness that had been nagging us for the past few hours, my dad and I set out on a search for food. Keep in mind, we began the hunt around 5:30 pm. However, we had forgotten a lesson we learned from our last trip to Italy: When we are ready to turn in, the rest of Europe is just waking up. Of every restaurant we scouted for food (in and around our hotel), none would serve dinner until 7:30 at the earliest. Our stomachs hated us for it, but we decided to make the most of the beautiful weather and pass the time by walking around Lake Como. The architecture and landscape of this sea-oriented city is gorgeous: just unbelievably stunning.

Eventually we returned to the hotel and ate course after course, trying to control the impatience that boiled within us as a product of our lack of sleep and beyond empty bellies. Our poor waitress was much more accommodating than we probably deserved.

And now, I am here: sitting in the hotel lobby mooching off of the free Wi-Fi they skillfully place in “public” areas of the hotel. When I travel abroad, it’s nice to have the language barrier sometimes. No one here is willing to ask the quirky American girl why she’s lounging in the front lobby of an exquisite Italian hotel… in her pajamas. I’ve taken refuge in my laptop screen, so I don’t have to look up and meet any of their disapproving glances. Like I have reflected in earlier posts: Most Europeans are nocturnal. Their activities, lives, and interests operate around the time the sun dips below the horizon. For someone such as myself, I’m lucky if I can even keep my eyes open beyond 11. With added sleep deprivation? Fuhgeddaboutit! This is bed time for me. And with that, I’ll say goodnight and sign off.

Buona Notte!