A day on the water….
With miserable weather forecast for our stay, we were again very happy to wake up to a beautiful, albeit hazy morning. Having been kept awake until just before midnight (more about that later), we didn’t make it to breakfast until almost 9am, so it was close to 10am before we ventured down to the ferry wharf. The ticketing system on the lake is very confusing and the timetables even more so, made worse by our sad lack of Italian. After some deliberation, we managed to choose a day pass of some description and jumped on the ferry that was about to leave. When asked by an Australian couple behind us where we were going, we happily said “no idea” and asked to look at the map they’d managed to get a hold of (we hadn’t been able to). This didn’t help much, so we decided to hop off at Villa Carlotta, the first stop on the western shore, following said couple from St Ives in Sydney.
After checking out the map and timetables – there are about 4 different ones – we realised that our day pass was of limited use as the boats are not really designed to link up. Never mind, we were happy just to be on and near the water. Following the path / road down to the southwest of the lake, we were able to follow the lake most of the way. It took us to Lenno, location of one of the famous villas, Villa Balbianello. Lenno was also holding its weekly market along the foreshore, adding to the throngs of people. That said, we were able to get away from everyone as we walked out of town and up the hill towards the villa where we enjoyed vistas back over Bellagio. We weren’t interested in paying the 20 Euro each to enter the villa, so instead we headed back to the wharf in the hope of catching the boat going north up the lake.
Now we were able to take better advantage of the ticket travelling to the most northern point we were allowed – to the town of Bellano. This turned out to be the least touristy of all the lakeside towns we visited, although some of that was bound to be because all the shops were closed for siesta.
We enjoyed a quiet wonder around the quaint streets and drank a macchiato at one of the local bars before going back to the waterfront to sit on a bench waiting for our ferry back.
The ferry back was huge and really nice and as there were very few people on board, we thoroughly enjoyed the comfort. It was nice to watch the fast ferry – a hydrofoil – coming by. We weren’t in a hurry so didn’t need to pay a premium to go on that.
On our way back to Bellagio, a brief stop in Mennagio, including a walk along its waterfront, whet our appetite to revisit the following day.