Thursday, June 23, 2011

My first overseas trip: a year on- Lake Como

Lake Como  23/06/2010

Hello all..
I had such high expectations for lake Como and they have been surpassed !!! I cannot describe how beautiful it is here and to do the place justice.

I left Zurich on a cold and grey morning. The train trip was lovely through the Alps or mountains, I have no idea! Because of the weather, clouds hung low, hugging the ground. Every now and then there were moments where I was given a glimpse of snow covered peaks. Those brief moments were amazing!!
The discman was on, Smog's Lp 'Knock Knock', played its alt country/ alt rock loveliness. Bill Callahan sings 'lets move to the country, just you and me', and the train passes postcard perfect houses which lay in valleys, by lakes, or on the side of mountains. Yes!, lets move here,  just you and me! The train seemed to be travelling at great heights and there were times that trucks and cars were far below and looking very, very tiny. There were occasions where I was a little scared, especially as the train tilted to one side and I saw the steep rocky drop. But then the music distracted me from my fears. Caribou's lp 'Swim' plays. It is electronica that worked in the grey air that seemed to cover us….then... as we seem to reach the Italian side of Switzerland something amazing happens. The clouds part and the sun comes out !!!

It is as if the country of my fathers birth, knows I am coming and comes out to greet me, to welcome me in its arms. The views become more amazing and the sunshine through the window is warm. It is the first lot of sunshine I have seen in more than a week!!!. To the left of the train, water cascades down a mountain side, forming a series of small waterfalls... simply magnificent !!!.. The grey and the wet of Munich and Zurich are behind me.. Italy comes forth to kiss me welcome on both cheeks!!
The old city is lovely. I walk the narrow streets and sit at a café. I watch people walk by. They ride their bikes past and constantly stop and chat. It is so relaxed and sociable, such an indescribable atmosphere. After a while, I walk about and come across The dome of Como. It is a lovely church. I buy a set of rosary beads for my sister and go to the confession booth and ask the priest to bless them !!. He kindly does so and my little Italian is enough to say Mille grazie Padre. I keep going to say Danke!! But I am not in Germany anymore.

My first night in Como I ate at a Trattoria. The food was nice, and the lady serving me was great, she reminded me of my Zia Carmen! She kindly corrected the Italian I attempted to use and when I ordered my coffee and dessert together she chastised me, letting me know that dessert comes first, then after that I order and have coffee !!! For some reason I am finding that everyone is talking to me in Italian and when i reply in english or say I don't understand,  they just repeat what they have said, but louder and with arms swinging about more aggressively!!  I have no idea why they would think that would make me understand  LOL...
I am using a quick guide for basic Italian that was given to me by a client, amongst a few other books, as a going away gift from where I worked. Very lovely and thoughtful of this kind lady!

The next day, I took a ferry to Bellagio. It was one hour trip there and 2 hours on the way back. The trip on Lake Como was so lovely. Just when I thought 'oh this is really nice', the Alps come into view... WOW!!!!  Slightly capped with snow they became the lakes own backdrop. I can see why George Clooney is said to have a house on the lake. It is stunning.... Upon arriving at Bellagio, I walked up and down many steep steps, looked at the local shops and then headed off out of town searching for a restaurant that my dad's cousin had recommended. After what seemed ages, I asked a local for help and they said i still had about 20-30 mins walking to go!! Bugger!!, So I headed back and stopped off at a hotel I had passed earlier that had a terrace restaurant overlooking the lake.. Ah, Clear Blue Skies, warm day, glass of crisp white wine in hand and a gentle cooling breeze set the scene as I looked out over the lake. Being a little removed from the town of Bellagio, the area was quiet. The silence was broken only by the sound of birds chirping and locals chatting. After a while I headed back to Como and to a pizzeria for dinner.

I know I mentioned bike riding earlier, but what struck me about Como was that so many people rode bicycles, older people, younger people, dressed up people. One lady I spotted had her high heels on! Whilst in Como I had been going to the same internet cafe and having an espresso whilst checking my mail. The owner was an older Italian man, who had a permanent expression like you had just insulted him…anyway, on my first visit I asked to use the internet and then casually asked them to bring me an espresso as well (I’ll pay when I am done). This shocked the Asian lady working there and she looked to the owner quite fearfully… he gave my a thorough check out... and then gave me the nod of approval  LOL. Since then I ordered espresso when checking my emails and had no problems. On my last night in Como I took a picture of the Asian lady and Italian owner. The lady was excited and I think the owner was a little as well... On my last morning in Como as I quickly checked my emails before catching the train to Milan, the owner actually gave me a bit of a smile as he said boungiorno.  Wow! I think I was now ‘in’ with the locals!! shame I was leaving !!!

If I lived overseas... I might live in Germany, but would certainly holiday in Como, one of the loveliest places on earth!

Next Milan!

 The wide streets of Como:

The mostly Narrow Streets of Como:

 And the pink carpeted streets of Como-Just for me?: 

Como, The old city:

 Looking out across from Como at the very steep tram track/cable car!

 On Lake Como- taken from the boat:



Next: Milan!!


  1. wow, what stunning scenery. photos are very good and your description so interesting. <3 thank you

  2. Good story and gorgeous photos, Matthew!

  3. So jealous never been to Lake Como and always wanted to go, it looks amazing!