Immigration wasn’t much of a deal – they stamped our passports and sent us on our way. Finding the car rental office proved to be a bit more difficult. Walking around for about a half hour, stopping in two different places and we FINALLY found the offices. They were crowded and we had to take a number and wait… and wait… and wait… Italian time must run on its own clock, as we were there for well over an hour waiting to speak to someone. Finally our number was called and Francesco assisted us into a small Peugeot with a portable wifi hotspot and we were off.
First thing we both noticed as we headed out of Milan and towards Lake Como – it looked remarkably like home. Green trees everywhere, some mountains in the background, and the highway was more like one that runs through our mountains, versus a major one. Here is our route that we took:
The drive was fairly uneventful until we hit the town of Como and started the drive north to Bellagio. We knew to expect small streets while driving here, but TRUCKS driving small streets with you really puts a new spin on white knuckled driving. It wouldn’t have been bad if the streets were straight, but we headed through these hairpin curves that were completely blind to have trucks barreling at you at 40mph. There was a rock wall on the right side of the car, so you had to find the right spot to not hit the wall and not hit the oncoming truck or car. Jeremy did a great job navigating it, but it was stressful. There was one area that had a stoplight that was red and we sat there for a bit, trying to understand what was going on and then decided to go. BAD MOVE. We came around a corner and just barely had enough room to get over as this giant truck came barreling towards us. I think we both were about to throw up from it being such a near miss. After that we found a lunch spot about a half hour from our hotel where we could calm our nerves. (I got video of the drive … no photos though)
We spotted il Pescatore mainly because it had easy parking and what looked like good views of the lake. We were the first to arrive at the restaurant, not sure if it was open or not. They led us to the lower level of the building and as we entered the room, there were panoramic views of Lake Como. A wood burning fireplace sat offset in the back of the room to heat it and they had just made a fire and the smell of our childhoods came rushing back to us (both our parents have wood burning stoves). The glass in the eating area were oversized sliding glass doors that could open up if it was warm out. Today the winds were whipping through Lake Como, so everything was closed. Jeremy ordered a prosciutto ravioli and I ordered a prosciutto & Mozzarella pizza. We each had a glass of Pinot Bianco and all of it was delicious.
Our journey continued and Jeremy was getting better at navigating the streets. We finally arrived at our hotel, Borgo Le Terrazze, hoping we could check in early since we were there. Luckily our room was available and oh my gosh it is lovely. We are on the third floor overlooking Lake Como with a giant terrace and huge glass doors on two sides. Unfortunately the wind was so high, that staying outside for more than a few minutes proved to be uncomfortable.
At this point, we are exhausted and ready to fall asleep. Knowing we needed to get over the jet lag, we showered so we could head into Bellagio and walk around for a few hours. We drove into town, found parking fairly easily (very glad we are not in high tourist season) and without a plan, just started walking. The waterfront was busy with ferry activity and people shopping or grabbing a bite to eat. We strolled along the main promenade, watching the ferry and different boats trying to dock. It was amazing to watch the ferry – it would ram into the piling and then use that as leverage to get the boat to turn in the wind, so that it could dock. There were alley ways with shops that we slowly wandered.
We found a wine shop called Enoteca Principessa with an auto dispense mechanism for pouring wine tastes – it was really neat. After speaking with Lorenzo about the different Italian wines available, we bought a bottle of Ripasso to bring back to our room tonight, knowing we would not last long enough to be there through dinner. We walked around a bit more and then ended up at Bar Senremo for a glass of Prosecco and a charcuterie plate while watching the water traffic. We met a nice couple who was on holiday from Brazil and chatted with them for a bit before heading back to our room to try to stay awake one more hour. At this point we are past the 36 hour mark of being awake and it was starting to get funny.
Everyone we have met so far has been so kind and helpful – the people are truly lovely. Not sure what’s on tap for day three, other than getting a really really good nights sleep so that we aren’t so tired. Last time I remember being that tired was when Carter was a baby! And I will end the post with a sunset view from our room.