Lake Como, Italy
This morning I decided to risk my life going for a run along the streets of Como. In parts there is nothing dividing you and the cars passing, therefore a 7am start was in order. As Hugh watched over our apartment, in his sleep, I managed to get through my run unscathed and was thankful for the little towns that had footpaths. I was also thankful that the lightning and thunder had subsided long enough for me to get through my run. Back for brekky before heading to our favourite wine bar for coffee and WiFi before driving to Menaggio. Here we actually took the time to start shopping, something we have been restrained with until we were nearer to the end of our trip. A few purchases later and suddenly the skies opened up and the rain came tumbling down. The change in weather today has been a welcome relief from the heat. A respectable 24 degrees with a light breeze, yet still warm enough to enjoy. As we took shelter in a cafe and ordered 2 coffees, along comes Pete, drenched from head to toe, looking for some respite from the rain. As we called him over we sent out a text message to Maddy and Co to join us, which they dutifully did. As the rain decided to set in we stayed for an hour and had lunch before departing again on our separate ways, with the rain now passed. Hugh and I headed to Villa Del Balbianello via a taxi boat as the walk is closed on Thursday and Friday…typical!! the Villa is made famous not only for its history but also for the movies that have been filmed there, such as , James Bond – Casino Royale, Star Wars II and a Vanessa Redgrave movie which Hugh and I cannot for the life of us remember the name of and without the luxury of WiFi cannot look it up!! The Villa is set above the lake and as you step onto the portico that looks out over the marina you are welcomed by a motto engraved into the floor that reads, ‘Fay ce que voudras’ which means “Do what you want”. Not sure the Trustees would want us taking this motto literally!! We booked a tour of the Villa for 3:30pm which gave us an hour to explore the gardens. From every point you are met with amazing views of the lake. The gardens are so well maintained and manicured it was a delight to walk amongst it and marvel at how sculptured it was. Some parts of the garden are over 150 years old. The last owner of the Villa was Guido Monzino, who upon his death bequest the entire Villa to Italy’s National Trust, and also left enough money to maintain its upkeep to his strict specifications. After the Villa we headed uphill towards a Monastery/Church, but soon discovered the road would only allow for one car and as we rounded a corner and saw cars approaching we decided to back up and cut our losses. Headed towards another church and found the place to ourselves. With no candles to light and not a great view with which to take photos, we headed back to the apartment and awaited a reply from Maddy and Co on what they were up to for the night. With no reply, we headed once again to the wine bar for our daily Spritzers and free WiFi. Just as we were finishing up we revived a text from Maddy advising of their plans, but as we had already settled in for the night, we exchanged text messages as our final farewell, before heading back to the apartment again. But only for 5 minutes, as we couldn’t bare the thought of leaving tomorrow without bidding Maddy a proper farewell. So off in the car to Tremezzo we went, to interrupt their dinner and say our final farewell. True to form, Maddy had tears and was ever so grateful to us for making the effort to come and say goodbye in person. How could we not?? Back in the car, fortunately we found another car park for the night, a rarity in Sala Comacina, cooked our dinner, enjoyed another red from the Piemonte region, before catching up on some more reading (running out of time to finish our latest books), then headed to bed for another early start tomorrow. Venice the next stop on our journey.