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    • Day 6

      Bellano first full day

      June 10, 2023 in Italy ⋅ ☁️ 15 °C

      Well, we woke up to a wow view of Lake Como and after a quick breakfast on the edges of the lake we took a wander through the town, stopping at various little artisan shops, and generally getting our bearings. Most of the time we spent was looking out over the lake and at the mountains and small villages in our view.

      We spent the morning planning our itinerary for the next few days. After lunch at the apartment of cold meats, melon, olives and tomatoes we ventured to the waterfall Orrido de Bellano and although the walk up the hillside was steep and it was a warm day what a spectacle it was. Perhaps not for folks who had trouble with heights as the walkways were over the river, but beautiful. One of the highlights of our two weeks.

      The trip down from the waterfall through the town was great too and after the now obligatory stop at a chapel (the bells would ring out four or five times per day). We found the small beach on the lake and went for a paddle too……we the headed back to the apartment for an evening meal and to chat around the table again…with more vodka and wine.
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    • Day 8

      Lake Como day 3

      June 12, 2023 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

      This was a day when Team Disabled (aka Andrew and Adia) decided to spend a day in Bellano with Team Walking Tour ( aka Jacqueline and Michelle) wanted to visit the town of Bellagio. With the longest travel day of the two weeks the following day it was important that the two disabled travellers took some time to regain some strength before the epic days travel over the Alps. So with Team Walking Tour out of Bellano, Andrew and Adia had a lovely day of walking around Bellano, window shopping, getting groceries and having coffee in cafes and people watching. Often just stopping to take in the beauty of the lake and being happy in each others company. Talking about the future and the past and having a father/daughter day in the Italian sunshine. A day that neither of us will forget.

      Andrew waited on the boat coming back from Bellano to catch up on what Jacqueline and Michelle had been doing and we all had a take away dinner of pasta and pizza at the apartment. There may well have been wine and vodka consumed too!!!!
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    • Day 5

      Day 5 arrival in Bellano

      June 9, 2023 in Italy ⋅ ☁️ 19 °C

      When we arrived in Lecco and a scene resembling the Normandy beach landings played out in front of us, with the hundreds of passengers from the train descended on a car park full of taxis, buses and cars. With none of the buses having destinations on them, but with Trenitalia staff standing near them it was time for the big lad in the group to take control. Andrew started muscling his way through to speak with the staff….ultimately it was fairly easy to get the right bus…and having triple checked we were all on the right bus, we relaxed into the wonderfully air conditioned bus for the 60 mins trip to Bellano.

      The trip was pleasant- the hairpins down the Bellano on the shores of Lake Como were “interesting”. We arrived and made our way along the streets of Bellano to meet our host coming to meet us, this was wonderful and after he showed us the Casa Rosa we relaxed into this apartment. It was older in style to the Verona apartment…but was comfortable, but not air conditioned.

      Pizza for a late supper (which was ok but not as good as Verona pizza) and we went to bed after a busy day.
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    • Day 15

      Italy, Lake Como

      June 22, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

      What a difference two days makes. We left Zermatt the same way we arrived, by train. On the way there we had our faces glued to the window, oohing and ahhing at every glimpse of the Matterhorn. On the way out, I don't think we looked out the window once. Ready for the next adventure. It was a big day's driving, over 300k's to get us here. We took some time at the station to try and rearrange the luggage so that the back seat passengers weren't squashed up with a suit case as they had been on the way to Switzerland. After much jiggling and creative puzzle solving we managed to make it all fit in the back.
      The drive took us over the Swiss Alps, mainly on freeway, with two border crossings. We got through without a hitch but every truck was stopped causing a few delays. All things considered, the GPS served us well today - there were a couple of moments where road conditions or design had changed and it took us a wrong way. But with Roge on the trusty iPad using maps we got ourselves right.
      We stopped at the very beautiful Lake Maggiore for lunch - John and Sharon's first glimpse of the this beautiful region. We stopped at a restaurant right by the waters edge had a great lunch watching the local wildlife and their baby's paddle by. Two lots of ducks, one with 11 eleven ducklings and swans and signets.
      We are staying in two separate apartments in the same building at Bellano - a smallish but nice village that has everything we need, bu most importantly we have a parking spot! This is almost unheard of around the lakes because of the steepness of the so close to the water. We are lucky that Bellano is reasonably flat for a distance from the edge of the of the lake. Both of the apartments face the lake.
      I am sitting on our verandah watching the first ferry of the day go by...we are quite close to a small ferry terminal - it's within walking distance, I can see it from where I am sitting. The weather continues to be perfect and today we plan on getting a ferry timetable and start to do some lake exploring.
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    • Day 21

      Italy, Lake Como. Last day.

      June 28, 2017 in Italy ⋅ 🌧 17 °C

      A slow start to the day...the storms of last night continued into the morning and we had planned to just explore locally around Bellano today. Eventually got out of the apartment when the lightening and rain eased and walked into the village for a coffee. Bellano has a pretty impressive gorge which we had planned to see but weren't keen to walk up to given the weather conditions. Turns out that we stumbled across it as the best views of it were quite close to town. There is a very accessible boardwalk that runs along the side of it and after all of the rain we've had it was a pretty impressive sight. From there we wandered around the narrow little back alley ways of the village and discovered the most amazing little cake shop and several small little mini supermarkets, a deli and few other stores it would have been handy to know were there! Still don't know why we didn't explore the village earlier - could have been eating those cakes daily.....we stopped at a little cafe hidden away where the locals were eating for lunch. Had a great meal. This evening we drove into Varenna for drinks and dinner...perfect spot looking out over the lake. Looks like the umbrellas we bought are going to get a work out....Read more

    • Day 20

      Italy, Lake Como

      June 27, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

      It was a good thing we decided to eat in last night. We had bought some ham, cheese, olives etc to have for dinner as we'd had a pretty decent lunch in Bellagio. We'd settled ourselves on the balcony and we're watching a storm build down the lake from us and we watched it make its way up to us. We only just decided to move everything in side just in time. It was pretty ferocious and we had a bit of trouble closing the doors against the driving wind and rain. Now I know what those external shutters are for!
      We decided to drive to Varenna and catch the ferry port there for the days exploring. Leaving from a bigger ferry terminal gives us more choices and we can stay out longer. We had decided to visit Castello Di Vezio and a 40 minute pretty steep walk saw us to the top of a small mountain where it is located above the township of Varenna. It was a defensive castle and not too much remains, some rampart, the tower, some impressive olive groves, but it is definitely worth the visit. The views from the top were spectacular, having uninterrupted views of the three arms of the lake. From here we took a different path down to the ferry terminal and crossed over to Bellagio. We spent the day there starting off with a short walking tour that led us to the point of the promontory that Bellagio sits on. Found. Great restaurant here where we had lunch that was away from the frenetic tourist activity that characterises Bellagio. We visited Villa Melzi after lunch, lots of lawn and more of a spring garden by the look of it. The rest of the day was spent wandering the steep little alleys that make up Bellagio and a little retail therapy.
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    • Day 19

      Italy, Lake Como

      June 26, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

      Yesterday was a great day. We managed to fit quite a bit and still not feel like we'd over done it. The weather after the storm was perfect (I've decided to stick with the regular weather theme. Have just read that the western Europe heat wave is on its way to Eastern Europe. Can't wait.) took the car yesterday and used the car ferries to cross the lake to explore. First stop, on our side, Verenna and Villa Monestreo. We visited last time we were here and it really is too good to pass up for a second visit. Perched right on the edge of the lake the gardens are spectacular. Thin wedge that spread from the Villa along the lake shore. I'll let the pictures tell the story on this one. From the Villa we went down to toward to the waterfront through the Sunday market, stocked up in bread, strawberries and other fresh yummy stuff. Back in the car to the ferry for the crossing to Menaggio. From here our plan was to have lunch along the way to a visit to Villa Balbianello. Visiting this Villa was great choice (we are spoiled for choice). It is located on the top of a rocky mini peninsula that juts out into the lake. This fabulous Villa is quite famous having been used in movies such as Casino Royale where Daniel Craig is seen recuperating on the lawn, and Star Wars episode two. It has quite an interesting history having been original occupied by Franciscan monks who built the original church. It was then owned by the same family for over a century, changing Hands in the early 1930's to an American who used it as his summer house until the 1950's. at this time it was bought by an Italian man who can into immense wealth following the death of his father who had a supermarket chain. Business sold, Villa Balbianello bought. This man was an explorer and collector, the Villa filled with interesting relics that he had gathered along the way. He died relatively young in the 1980's and left the Villa to the Italian National Trust with enough money to ensue it's on going maintenance. Must have been plenty as they're still using that money today. A really very gorgeous place to visit. Can't imaging how spectacular it would have been to live there. We found a lovely little restaurant for lunch, great food, wine, ambience. What's not to like about sitting on the waters edge enjoying amazing views?Read more

    • Day 18

      Italy, Lake Como

      June 25, 2017 in Italy ⋅ 🌧 19 °C

      There is no umbrella. I have checked every nook and cranny in our apartment (there aren't many) so it looks like we're just going to have run for it today. I know that like an old person I keep commenting on the weather, but it has been really bloody hot. I was starting to think that it was just that we didn't have time to acclimatise but we know what hot days are like. We're having 2-3 showers a day just to cool down. Is it that we've gone soft from having air con everywhere? Domestic aircon in Italy is pretty much nonexistent. It doesn't really cool down at all until the sun sets behind the mountains on the other side of the lake, about 9pm. Last night the threatened thunderstorms finally hit. This morning I can't see across to the other side of the lake, those big mountains make for a pretty ferocious storm. Maybe it won't be quite so hot today. Now, to yesterday. We decided to jump in the car and head north (actually I have no idea if it is north. It is the opposite direction to that in which we usually go though) to a town called Colico. Colico is much closer to the really big mountains we can see from Bellano and at the top end of Lake Como. In fact you can drive around to the other side of the lake this way. John had been recommended a small local restaurant in an out of the way place to eat so we decided to head to that for lunch and see a few other sites while in the vicinity. The cafe for lunch was pretty good, if a bit tricky. It was down a small dead end lane sandwiched between a river and the rock wall of mountains. From my poor translation of signage in Italian it seems that there are grottos in the mountain that lead to a glacier under the mountain and there are places where very cool air is released. There was one next to the cafe. Very pleasant. We were the only non Europeans there and it was a extremely busy, we waited for an hour for a table and weren't disappointed. The food wasn't fancy by any means but was simple good home style Italian food. Yum. I think I could be converted to polenta. We stopped at monastry in Piona that we had thought we might like to see last time we were here but just didn't get to it. Up a few narrow windy roads to get there, worth the visit. A lovely cloister. Next stop an old fort: Forte Fuente. Who knew the Spaniard's were once in Italy? This fort was apparently built back in the Beginning of the 1600's, there's not a whole lot left to see since Napoleon gave it the once over but it was built to stop the Protestants from coming across the mountains from what is Switzerland today, and corrupting the Catholics of Spain / Italy. We had an unusual guide for this visit. A tabby met us in the car park at the bottom of the hill and walked with us all the way to the top of the hill where the fort is located.Read more

    • Day 17


      June 24, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

      Today we decided to head into Como. A bit of retail therapy and to look at the large impressive Villa Omo. Where we are at Bellano we don't have the number of ferries that the 3 primary ports get so the earliest ferry into Como left Bellano at 11.15, getting us into Como at 12. Same situation for the return journey, either catch the 4 pm ferry back or the 7pm. Turns out we weren't going to be done in time to catch the earlier one so stayed on til evening. Another hot day so walking to the Villa didn't seem far but proved to be quite sweat-inducing!!! Along the way we passed several other Villas - all apparently vacant having been purchased by the local administration back in the 1950's and now don't seem to be occupied or used for anything. We finally made to the Villa only to discover it's only opened on Saturdays. Damn. Back we walk into town. God, its hot. We find an air conditioned bar and for once none of us order anything alcoholic. It was home made lemonade with mint to cool us down. Spent a bit of time wandering the shops, of course who could pass up the opportunity for Italian shoes? Not us. We found a bar with a good gin menu, spent a bit of time there, then moved two down where they had good bar food. Funnily enough the hours til 7pm went quite quickly.Read more

    • Day 16

      Lake Como, day 3.

      June 23, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

      You really know you're in Italy when you need 3 different adapters joined together, balanced precariously on the lid of a small bin to make the connection just right to get the charge going into the phone.....not to mention the dodgy internet connection.

      Today we're having a leisurely start to the day and taking the 11am fast ferry into Como for the day. Yesterday for our first day after arriving we decided to explore by ferry. We are located quite close to the Bellano ferry terminal so we have no need to get the car out. We decide to go across the lake to Menaggio, then to Bellagio, and back to Bellano. The weather continues to be quite hot, mid 30's each day threatening thunderstorms in the evening. These conditions mean that we really have to find a nice bar or cafe with lake views at every stop for a refreshing drink. Luckily there are plenty of such places and Menaggio was no exception. The little tourist info office provided us with a map of a small walking tour around the town. Highlights being the place where Mussolini was shot. Apparently this town was the bolt hole for wealthy Milanese during the war and also a hidey hole for the resistance.
      From Menaggio across the Lake to Bellagio, ready for lunch now. It's going to take a day or two to get the ferry timetable right. Not too many ferrys come up the lake to Bellano so by the time we finished lunch we had to get back on the ferry or wait until the next one at 6pm. We'll have to come back and wander Bellagio on another day. What a hardship. Lunch was great, a nice restaurant right on the waters edge, enjoying the pasta! Back at our apartments Roger wandered up the road to one of the very few beaches for a swim.
      We can see a restaurant from our balcony that is only open at night and is quite busy. We went there for dinner last night had a great meal. The prices are so good after Switzerland. What an expensive place that is...last nights meal cost $35 per couple, pizza's, mussels, wine beers, in Switzerland we were paying well over $100 per couple for our meals.
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