Lake Como—June 25-26th, 2008
We left Lake Maggiore on Wednesday afternoon and drove to Lezzeno. I had printed out driving directions from each hotel to the next on Google. These were useless. It’s so American to want to know the name of the road and when to turn left. Instead we learned to navigate the Italian way: find the name of the town and follow the signs.
Lake Como is an inverted Y; I always think it looks like someone running. Como, on the toes of the extended leg and the city where George Clooney, the movie star, has his villa, has Big City feel: traffic, noise, chaos, but it’s where a glimpse of the stunning vistas begin.
The road up to Lezzeno from Como is a Thrill Ride, particularly if you’re the passenger keeping track of how close the side mirror is to the buildings/cliff wall, as Dave will attest. Lots of gasps from his seat and a few from mine as a large city bus nearly took out the driver’s side mirror. I came to a dead stop, kind of winced waiting for the impact of the bright blue bumper into our tiny car, but the bus swerved past us–the passenger side mirror was about 2” from the cement pillar of the building next to us.
I learned to pull over to the let the local, crazier drivers past me and tried to enjoy the scenery. I also tried to convince Dave to not white-knuckle the door handle and enjoy the scenery as well.
Where Lago Maggiore’s hills (where we stayed) rise gradually from the shore to their heights, Lago Como’s mountains are more sheer in their slope, much taller. It’s stunning in the contrast between the flat lake and soaring mountains.
View from our hotel window. The white roofs are the dining pavilion where we had our dinner.
We could also hear the cheers and groans from the bar (underneath our window in the front corner of the hotel) as the football game progressed. They take their soccer seriously in Europe. We heard it all because we had no air conditioning, only a ceiling fan, and Italy’s been very hot and humid, “calda tropica” as one older woman put it to me.
On our walk after dinner, we saw this house with decorative painting under the eaves. This was one of the better-kept homes in this lakeside town. Lezzeno is kind of like those beach resort towns in New Jersey. A sneaker, wear-your-swimsuit kind of place, with enough regulars to keep the place going and things interesting.
Bellagio. This town is further up the coast from Lezzeno, and with Dave’s Parking Karma we found a parking place speedily. We walked into town, and maybe because we were tired from the lack of sleep (a hazard of travel), the heat and humidity, we didn’t stay here long. It was very touristy–lots of shops–but with the exchange rate of 1.50 euros to 1 dollar, it cools the shopping passion very quickly. I think if we had stayed in town, and could discover more about it without the legions of tourists (like ourselves), it might have been more charming.
Villa Cipressi Gardens
taken by David Eastmond
taken by David Eastmond