That horrible journey the other day, the one that was ever so slightly traumatic? I might be in a hurry to forget that, but the destination itself was unforgettable, and completely worth the whole hideous experience…
Having never been to that part of Italy before, I had heard on many occasions that Lake Como was supposed to be quite something, but that first view of the lake may well stay with me forever, as will the smell of the car I expect.
We stayed at the very top of the lake, and it was a great base to explore the surrounding area. I loved Como itself with its grand architecture and flamboyant characters. I loved the atmosphere at Pasticceria Monti in the Piazza Cavour, a short hop from the boat terminal, where we stopped for refuelling purposes. The majority of the clientèle seemed to come straight out of an Agatha Christie novel, sporting a variety of outfits incorporating silk kimonos,walking canes and cravats. We stood out as the table with the least decorum and the normal attire, but we did enjoy stuffing our faces with tiny beautiful cakes that had to be seen to be believed. And later in the day, as the temperatures rose to around 35 degrees, I loved Como’s imposing buildings and its shady streets, all of us grateful for the coolness that they provided.
Bellaggio was another big favourite, and we spent a whole day here once we had made our way across the lake in the hazy morning sun (a little tip, park near the Hotel Britannia, buy a boat ticket at reception, cross the road and pretend that the lovely boat that takes you over the lake is all yours! Later, you can return to the same retro beach club you were dropped off at, and they will personally phone the boat and get it to come and pick you up, allowing you to continue with that “famous” fantasy for the entirety of the five-minute journey!
But while you’re there, the choice is yours as to whether you should explore the town or its famous terraced gardens, each having that certain charm of a bygone age. We chose the town option this time, and ventured along the cobbled streets, admiring shops selling exquisite hand crafted glass and silk, and stopping for lunch at Trattoria San Giacomo at the top of the hill. It might have felt like we were dining in someone’s living room, but that just added to the experience, and my ricotta ravioli with a sage and butter sauce was just delicious. Plus we were treated to around twenty minutes peace while the children devoured their lunch, a good indication of food standards. My only complaint was that the tiramisu here was far too nice, and because I was too busy taking photographs, I only got one measly spoonful.
Determined not to totally miss out in the pudding department, I insisted on a visit to the nearby Gelateria. The ice-cream was of a high standard, but the dress code was far less refined. Look.
The rest of our time at Como was spent relaxing with my Pops and my lovely Step Mother, who are in the middle of a lengthy glamping trip. Their camp site was pretty impressive as camp sites go, clean, in a good location, with plenty of amenities, and a great delivery agreement with the local pizza restaurant. But sleeping in a swelteringly hot tent, and having to navigate my way through a dark camp-site with Small Children needing the loo in the middle of the night (plus being easy pray for the huge mosquitoes) wasn’t my idea of fun, so we opted for the bed and breakfast on the same site instead, which was excellent. I think camping is somewhat of a novelty for my Dad, and he enjoys it, but I really enjoyed waving to him from my lovely cool balcony every morning as he did their dishes in the baking sun!
I would like to go back to Lake Como, sans enfants perhaps to stay in one of the beautiful old hotels and to sit and stare at the lake and do absolutely nothing. I think it’s a place to share with that special someone, and the scenery obviously inspires the romantic side of folk. The Small people even found a love letter, ripped into tiny shreds on the beach one day, and attempted to put it back together a bit like a “Dear Deirdre” jigsaw puzzle. Now if only I could read Italian, I am desperate to know what the chances are of the couple in question getting back together!
You might be pleased to hear we took a different route back! Ciao bella!