Trip Start Aug 30, 2012
Trip End Oct 19, 2012

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Flag of Italy  , Lombardy,
Monday, October 1, 2012

Leaving the States behind, it’s Monday morning in Italy by the time I land in a humid Milan. My family has been here one night already, and mom and Tash are holding down the fort while dad collects me from the airport. I’m not as wrung out as I thought I’d be, though I’ve been awake since early Sunday morning. I’m in one piece. My luggage is here. I have gum. And these three clowns? They know me. They know my make.

I’m no stranger to hitting the ground running, and it’s straight on the road together to make it up to beautiful Bellagio, Lake Como in time for a late lunch. Lake Como is in the very Northern part of Italy. It’s shaped like an upside down ‘Y’. The stem, with the town of Sorico at its point, is closest to Switzerland while the two prongs face back down into Italy - Como at the end of the Western prong and Lecco at the end of the Eastern.

We come in via train to Como, then catch the hydrofoil to Bellagio. If you imagine the part between the two prongs of the Y as a little triangle shaped piece of land, Bellagio is at the apex, with views of both ‘sides’ of the lake as well as the Northern stem. While the name sounds like it might have come from the words ‘beautiful lake’ (Bella and Lago) it actually comes from the Latin for ‘two lakes’. There is actually a bit of an obsession here with being able to see both ‘lakes‘ or sides of the lake. It’s possible to get a great view if you’re high enough, or if like the Villa Serbelloni your house is right out on the point… but there’s a guy here who has a villa on one side of the triangle… and bought all the land in a strip between it and the other side, clearing a way through buildings and trees so he can ‘see’ the other side of the lake. He’s nowhere near high enough. He can probably just see the masts of tall ships when they go past. And they go past… oh… never. Good one.

So yes, we get the hydrofoil up… a taxi from Como to Bellagio would cost you approximately 80 - 100 Euro (or more depending how desperate you are), and the water taxi would cost you more. We’re meeting old family friends Kyle and Judy here, and they’ve been delayed by flight connections so badly they’ll miss the last hydrofoil and the last bus over to Bellagio. Arriving in Como the only place open is the Tabacchi (tobacconist - but also where you buy everything useful… bus tickets, stamps etc), staffed by 3 Chinese youths. Kyle and Judy don’t speak a lot of Italian… the youths don’t speak any English… but Kyle does speak Chinese. Imagine the luck.

The youths are pretty assured that a taxi will come by the deserted station at some point, so Kyle and Judy wait… and are picked up not long afterward by a taxi driver named Erica. Imagine that. Who gives them a good price. Cos we’s good people. Word.

So we’re all here! And thus begins three days of breakfasts at a place we’ll soon come to know as ‘our café’, strolling beautiful villas and gardens in the sunshine, and dinner and ‘spritz’ (cocktails) all over town. We also take a 20km hike through the Italian Mountainside… but I’ll save that for the next blog. The only downside to Bellagio? It’s full of Americans, which I normally don’t mind in the least but really grinds my gears right at this particular moment. Understandably, I say.

I don’t know if it’s that they don’t want to scale the steps up to where we‘re staying, that they think it’s fancier down by the water or something else entirely… but as Kyle points out, “the Australians are all up here. The Americans? They’re DOWN THERE.”

I took that comment to be representative of the situation on a number of levels.

Ciao Bella Italia

Your B. x
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