'Just a touch a touch of paradise...'

Trip Start Apr 23, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Italy  , Lombardy,
Friday, November 18, 2011

La perla del Lago di Como... couldn't agree more! Bellagio certainly lived up to the claim, being every bit the jewel of Lake Como. 
Sitting at the intersection of the three branches of Lake Como, Bellagio separates the lake's two southern arms. The result is some cracking views out to the Alps and expansive views down the waterways taking in numerous lakeside villages. It was almost impossible to take a bad photo in Bellagio, the scenery was draw dropping. The Autumn colors added to the spectacle with splashes of orange and gold in amongst the cobblestone streets of the village. Coupled with the sense of calm and peace massive expanses of water always seem to bring, Bellagio was simply divine. We had to wonder at times whether we'd stepped onto a canvas because surely this wasn't real?! 
For all it's beauty, the drive up to Bellagio was....let's call it, 'interesting.' 
It's no secret that Italians like to drive fast cars fast. What we didn't know is that absolutely no allowance was made for narrow roads with overhanging cliffs that are barely wide enough to fit a single car. Yep, you can imagine how it played out on the lakeside road to Bellagio. Despite being the most incredible scenery we've seen since visiting Lake Wannaka in NZ, we spent approx 60mins stressed out of our heads, sucking in our stomaches and leaning to the side of the car as we narrowly missed the oncoming traffic that refused to move over. Apparently if you're local, there's really no need to drive on your side. 'No male!' 
Inevitably our frustration at staring death in the face on every corner translated into some serious stress. After several heated exchanges debating whether driving or being a passenger was worse, and a close call on a key throwing incident - a relationship saving roadside stop and coffee ensued. Breathe it out kids. 
Our accommodation, Borgo Le Terrazze, (village terraces) was situated just outside Bellagio with the most spectacular views you can imagine. Lying on the bed gazing out the window was like staring at a painting. Pulling the curtains back in the morning with the mist starting to lift off the lake, a loan ferry motoring across the water and the mountains looming in the background was simply captivating. It's hard to describe Bellagio without sounding contrived but it really was just a little slice of Italian heaven. Easy to see why the likes of George Clooney chose Lake Como to set up a home away from home! 
With very few people around, we pretty much had free run of the restaurants, wine bars and coffee shops that were still open outside of peak season. True to form, we ate pizza and pasta and drank local wines from one end of the town to the other. All in the name of supporting local business of course! Aperitivo et al provided so many free aperitifs with our drinks that we felt the need to keep checking whether a food order had been placed by mistake. Salami, olives, chips, toasted cheese thingys, 4 different types of risotto - unheard of generosity! Salice Blu was exceptional and the young chef Luigi, blew us away with his personalized approach to taking orders and creating masterpieces from local produce.

                                             It would be very easy to spend weeks moseying from one town to the next around Lake Como. A ferry ride to Menaggio that stopped at Verenna on the way gave us a glimpse into the pockets of lovely little villages that grace the lake. You might come home with ill fitting pants due to the volume of food, and a migraine from the drive up there but even the most cynical tourist couldn't deny the sense of peace and wonder that Bellagio brings over it's guests.  


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