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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Lake Como, Italy

May 5, 2010

Oh Lake Como, how I love thee....

Lake Como  is one of my favorite places I have visited in Italy so far.
It is a massive lake surrounded by mountains and small intricate Italian villages.
It was the description of a real vacation. The kind where you can relax and see, and you are in an amazing beautiful atmosphere at the same time. There we were, just wandering and taking in the views of the lake and mountains while walking through an Italian village that has existed for thousands of years. There has been villages that have been around this lake since the paleolithic period (about 30,000 years ago) It is said that the Roman's used Lake Como as a holiday resort. There was letters found from 1st century AD written from Romans describing long periods spent in an Bellagio villa.

I found my children with smiles while visiting here. The only challenge was we were visiting in the Spring time and the rain would come and go. The first evening we were there we were surprised to find ourselves in a flash flood rain. We quickly were racing back from just eating at this restaurant. I had just told the kids to stand back from the road because they could get splashed when.....SPLASH!!..I was hit with a bucket of water as a car sped by. I was soaked to the bone. I stood there for a moment in shock. The kids had just gotten over towards the wooden pathway that was surrounding the lake and now giggling at me. Trying to laugh it off, I pressed on. Luckily we were heading back to the hotel anyway and awaiting was a hot shower and dry clothes.

In the days after, we explored all the villages we could find by car, and following the road to where ever it took us. When we saw something of interest, we stopped parked and walked. This is the kind of vacation I enjoy. To make our own adventure.

(All the photos below are a handful of my favorites from Varenna, Bellagio, Malgrate, Bellano, and Sonico. they are not all in order just put in a random order as my experience was)

I knew I would love it in Lake Como after seeing this waterfall on the way there.
This was a waterfall just coming off the mountain right behind someone's house.
Could you imagine this as part of your backyard?

My oldest daughter was 14 when she wrote this journal entry
 about first day in Lake Como in the town of Malgrate.

My sloppy hand written journal entry for our visit to Bellagio and evening trip to Milan

View near our hotel
      in Malgrate

These next set of photos is what happens when you leave the camera with your 3 daughters for 20 minutes while you run back to the hotel to get the map you forgot. They were left at the edge of the water in Malgrate just down from our hotel with my mother-in-law and father-in law, who must of had alot of  fun watching them while they took these :)

My journal entry and notes recalling Varenna, Bellano, Sonico,
The jewelry maker I met who talked about just meeting Rick Steves
 the week before,  the Castle on the top of the hill in the town of  Varenna,
and my husband backing into someone's car.
(where the arrows are, goes to the next page below)

Opa and Omi taking a break on a bench in Varenna

This was up on a hill near a castle in the town of Varenna. With a view of Lake Como behind us.
 You can see where it splits to make a long V shape.
 (We are at the point, there are some more pictures below that you can see this better)

On a pathway in front of the lake in the town of Malgrate

Swings on the shores of Varenna

View on the way up to the castle. To get up there you had to drive on a
 very narrow windy road. This was an adventure in itself.

Some pictures of the roads wrapping around the lake that we had the pleasure
 to drive on  within an inch of our life. Lets just say, Italian drivers seem to have No fear.
Besides the fact that we were  in a minivan and it was huge in comparison to most of the little
 sports cars we saw. It also didn't quite make the turns as easy or at least, as fast.


Stopping for Gelato in Italy is an everyday need.

Most of the photos of these narrow pathways
 with cobblestones are in Varenna

Walking on the bridge of ..The Castello Di Venzio

Some of the many tunnels and underpasses around the lake. The streets were very narrow and the Italians drive fast. Luckily my husband had lived in Italy at one time, so he was accustomed to the drivers.
Examples of the narrow walkways between buildings

These trees were at the edge of the water in the town
of Malgrate. This is the town our hotel was in .

Bellagio: The town was a little more modern and touristy. Although still fantastic!  

Varenna: Such an amazing and original town with a castle up on the hill behind it.
"Original" meaning, It seemed to have the original buildings from when the town began. It was like
 a tropical paradise with palm trees, giant plants and flowers, trellis's of vines filled with fragrant flowers.
 It also was filled with cobblestone roads and steps up narrow paths.

This is the bottle of wine that was given to me by an owner of a jewelry store in Varenna.
He not only made beautiful jewelry he made wine as well :)..I actually don't really drink but I wanted the bottle for decoration. Too bad it never made it home, only the label did.
We couldn't take it onto the plane so my mother-in-law
 took it to her cousins house and enjoyed it.

For more info on the Lake Como area here are some websites that may be helpful.

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