Final day on the lake….
Before jumping on the ferry to Mennagio, we took a walk to the tip of the promontory called the Punta Spartivento, which literally translated means the point where the wind divides. It is the point where Lake Como divides into the three branches: the Lecco branch to the southeast, the Como branch to the southwest and the Colico branch to the north. Sadly, it was even hazier than the previous morning, so we missed out on the spectacular lake and mountain views for which this spot is renowned. That said, there was a serenity created by the combination of sun and haze over the water.
From Menaggio, we took a long walk into the mountains behind – towards the border with Switzerland – and over into the lush green valley beyond. Some of the walk was on an old converted railway track. Again we were fortunate to come across a little local bar where we could have a break and a macchiato. Rather than take the ferry directly back to Bellagio, we headed right across the lake to Varenna as we’d only been there on the first day when we arrived.
Having seen a castle way up on the hill and wondering whether it could be reached, when we discovered we could walk up there, we figured we may as well do just that. The walk up was a little steep but not nearly as much as the near vertical “quick” option we chose to go back down.
As we had done every other night, we made sure we were back in our room well before sunset so that we could watch the changing sky reflect over the water. Each night was breath-taking but totally different to the others. Given we’d opted for half board, each evening was much the same – after watching the sunset, we had a shower and meandered downstairs for a feast in the hotel dining room. The food was not top notch but tasty and there was certainly plenty of it!
After dinner drinks….
The first night at the hotel, we had a short walk after dinner then made our way upstairs to bed, expecting that we’d want to be up early the next morning to go out on the lake. Little did we know that we’d be subjected to loud music (think Italian karaoke) blaring from the garden terrace of the bar next door and just below our window. So the second night, expecting another bedtime a close to midnight, we decided to go out for a glass of wine after dinner. And boy, were we glad we did! We found a little wine bar alongside one of the steep cobblestone streets and sat outside sipping on a glass of one of the best red wines we’ve had in a long time! We enjoyed it so much that we decided to do a repeat the following evening – even though by this time we’d found out that the tasteless music was having a night off.
The second time around, we chose to sit inside the bar, listening to the jazz style music and enjoying the elegant décor. Roberta, the owner came over and we had a lovely chat about Bellagio, her vision for the bar and about her husband – named Walter! By the end of the evening, we felt at home – and this was reinforced when we bumped into Roberta the following morning on the waterfront as we were waiting for the ferry taking us away from Bellagio for the last time.
Farewell Bellagio….hello Florence….
The rain on our final morning made it a lot easier to say goodbye. We jumped on the 2 hour long ferry to Como, which enabled us to see the section of the lake we hadn’t been to. As we ventured closer to Como, there seemed to be an increase in the number of enormous villas on the waterfront. Even George Clooney’s Villa Oleandra didn’t look as impressive as in the photos after seeing some of the others nearby.
The rain put a damper on the rest of the day. It was too wet to walk around Como, so we opted to get an early train to Milan instead. Unfortunately we weren’t able to get an early train out of Milan, so had to keep ourselves occupied until our departure at 8:30pm. Milan is the home of the apperitivo buffet, so we were able to get ourselves a drink and an “eat as much as you like” spread for 8 Euro. Dessert turned out to be a chocolate slice at McCafe – in addition to the sweet treat, it gave us somewhere to sit and a toilet until we had to leave.
After the 1 ½ hour trip on the fast train to Florence and the ½ hour walk from the station, we were very happy to get home, unpack, shower and drop into bed – exhausted but happy.
Filling the fridge….
As we had no food in the house, Friday was market day – we spend the morning moving around the stalls buying meat, prosciutto, cheese, pasta, pumpkin, bananas and other fresh food.