Our long awaited weekend away at Lake Como was finally here. After catching a lunchtime flight from Luton on a glorious clear sky day, 2 hours later we had crossed the rugged snow covered mountain tops of the alps and were heading for Malpensa airport in Milan. We were met by our dear friends Jan and Ross and getting used to the strange feeling of driving on the right hand side of the road, we wound our way through small villages to Lake Como.
Nestled at the base of the Rhatian Alps, it has to be one of the prettiest places we have seen so far on our adventures to the continent. Dropping the backpacks at our apartment, it was a 10 minute stroll down to the lakes edge, dotted along the way with beautiful historic old buildings and cafés everywhere. The sun was just starting to sink, so we found a spot looking out over the lake, ordered beers and a bottle of Prosecco and toasted to catching up with old friends. What a great start to the weekend.
The sun starting to set over Lake Como
Myself and Jan in the old part of Como town
The next morning, we set off in the car along the lakes edge making heading towards Bellagio. Stopping in the small village of Torno, we parked the car and meandered our way down cobbled steps towards the water. At the bottom of the steps we walked right into a film shoot and were quickly approached by someone talking very rapid Italian. At first we thought they wanted us to be 'extras' then realised they just wanted us out of the way so they could continue filming "damn tourists"! We opted to stop and watch the proceedings whilst enjoying a coffee. We tried to asked for a latte, but it was totally lost in translation - cappuccino they could understand.
Coffee down at the film shoot in the village of Torno
Back on the road and heading for Bellagio for lunch. This little town has such a reputation and we could see why. A lovely tree lined waterfront where the ferries arrive and depart across the lake, a network of stepped and cobbled lanes rising up the hill, full of classy boutiques, cafés and jewellery stores with their famous handmade Murano glass. Whilst the guys lingered over a coffee, Janice and I decided it was time to shop for a souvenir of our trip and couldn't resist the Murano pendants. Thankfully it was not peak season, so it was easy walking amongst the tourists that were there. I can imagine this little town would be inundated in the summer and packed with all nationalities - such a popular destination. You could spend hours walking up and down the lanes, window shopping and just soaking up the atmosphere. And of course hoping for a sighting of George and his new wife - but not this time! Heading for home back along the narrow winding road and the breathtaking views around each bend never stop - mountains and water are such a lovely combination. While in Italy, it had to be Italian for dinner so pizza and of course more Prosecco.
Looking north towards Bellagio from Torno
Pete meandering down the cobbled steps to the water
Stopping for a breather - its quite a steep climb
Janice enjoying the boutique shops of Bellagio
Sunday we decided to do a leisurely lake cruise zig zagging our way up from Como and making for Menaggio, almost directly across the lake from Bellagio. Taking 2 hours to reach our destination, it was certainly a relaxing way to travel. Once there, we found a beach side cafe looking out across the lake, and settled down for a lunch of risotto and pasta, and of course more Prosecco.
A lakeside villa along the way
Calling in at Bellagio, across the lake from Menaggio
The view from our little restaurant looking south
Pete and Ross looking relaxed
How is this for a small car!! A Fiat 500
As we had an evening flight out of Malpensa, we took the faster trip back to Como on the hydrofoil, taking only an hour. A last walk around the town and back to the apartment to pack our bags and say our farewells to Jan and Ross. We caught the train from Como to the airport and it was a very simple trip, one change at Saronno and we were there. Lake Como should be on everyone's bucket list - it is a little piece of heaven. And of course all the better for sharing it with good friends.