Piacere, pleased to meet you

Following a final zoom through Switzerland (training from Zermatt at the bottom to Olten at the top and down to Lugano in a full day), we arrived at the spectacular Lake Como, where we’ve basked for the past three nights.

Breadcrumbs of colour and texture dotting the built landscape were the first signs of Italy fast approaching, and I knew for sure we’d crossed the border when conversations turned fast and loud, PDA increased exponentially, and people were shoving themselves onto trains faster than others could get off them. Buongiorno!

After drawing an unlucky hand in the hostel roommate stakes, we folded and headed up the hill to the most welcoming family hotel, where we were embraced in big, open Italiano arms and privy to a haka from Paolo at the front door (Paolo speaks no English but is very passionate about the All Blacks).

Excited to be here, we treated ourselves to creme brûlée at dinner. The waitress set them alight in front of the whole restaurant and, with all eyes on us, we enthusiastically ‘ahhh’ed the flames like the enraptured audience of a magician’s trick. Crowd pressure and performance anxiety combining to obscure our better judgment, we looked to each other and in turn ceremoniously blew out our big flaming candles like happy kids at a birthday party. This not only took the heat off us, but also out of the crucial caramelisation process so that we spent the next 15 minutes smiling through petroleum and shards of sugar, pondering how two backpackers terribly disguised could embarrass themselves tomorrow.

We’ve had the best time enjoying this easy-going paradise. Just like it’s resident celeb Mr Clooney himself, Lake Como is beautiful, classic and timeless. The towns are sleepy with the exception of tourists, and it is a delight to while the days away grazing and strolling our centre lake ‘home’ of Menaggio, along with two other favorites – the popular luxury and shopping hub of Bellagio, and picturesque clustered village called Varenna – both easily accessed by ferry.

Lake Como is mountains of lush greenery, deep glassy waters, and township sprinkles of peach and nectarine villas. It is clipped hedges, steep pebble streets, magnolia trees, stracciatella gelato, and rangy vines. It is all at once body warming sunshine and a sanctuary that soothes the hurried soul. Everything is bene and bella, and tomorrow I don’t want to say arrivederci to this sweet, sweet place.

Photos from Lake Como below. Tomorrow we head to Trieste.

View over the lake
Sorbet buildings of Menaggio by dawn
Lakeside canopies
Gardens of Villa Carlotta
Visiting Varenna
Language champ in Varenna
Perfect pastels
One of thousands of cutey patootie lanes
Back at Menaggio
Til next time Como

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