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    • Day 18

      Mennagio - Lake Como

      April 28, 2018 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 70 °F

      Slept a long time making up for yesterday. Sunshine and warm this AM but weather report shows rain for later in the day. Finally time to do a wash!!! Very exciting. First one since we left more than 2 weeks ago.

      Lazy AM catching up on "life". Out around 11 with plans to drive to Argegno - down the coast about 10 miles. Check out the town - lakeside piazza, shops, and restaurants. Then a walk "up the hill" - which Kay thought went to a church - :-( did not. And it was quite the +up". 37 flights of stairs according to our Iphone App. Then to check out the medieval bridge in town and a plan to take the funicular/cable car to the top of the mountain. However for some reason, closed for yesterday and today. :-(

      So Plan B was to take a short traghetto (think small boat ferry) to an island in Lake Como called Isole Comacina. A very short ride, less than 10 minutes - and we arrived at the uninhabited island. It is small but just lovely with lots of green spaces, wildflowers in bloom - yellow, purple and white Some ancient Roman ruins and a church. Just a great place to get lost for awhile.

      Back to the mainland around 5PM, then another grocery stop (more wine) and back to our condo by 6ish. Kay made pasta for dinner, Illene made the salad. Cocktail hour and dinner outside - still warm - in the high 60s. Watched the clouds come in, the lights of all the places across the lake come on as well as some lightening in the distance. Storms in the forecast for tomorrow.

      Miles: 5.6
      Flights of stairs: 56!!
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    • Day 27


      May 7, 2018 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 68 °F

      A morning to get chores done. Purchased a large box and filled with what we do not need anymore to send home. Sealed and mailed after an interesting half hour at the Italian post office. Then to the TI with questions, the grocery store and another stop for sandwiches for our hike Phew!!!!

      Finally on our way for our hike by 1PM. Chose what looked on paper to be a relatively easy hike through a valley close to Menaggio. However "looks are deceiving". First hour spent getting to the starting point from our parking place in Menaggio. Then an easy first couple miles through a wooded area and down the the river Sanagra that runs through the valley of the same name. Made wrong turns a couple times but fun "conversations"with the locals to get back on track.

      Decided to go the longer route as the scenery was so spectacular. In a narrow valley but occasional houses, a trout farm and tiny hotel. Lots of dogs. Reached our destination - spot called Sass Corbee - the bottom of a deep gorge rising rather steeply on both sides. We should have figured out we were our of our league when the was a ladder attached to a monolith to get you up 2 stories to the next level. We were looking for our connecting route to go back but the climb kept getting higher and drop off to the gorge significant. So we turned around and retraced our steps back to the next area to catch a loop trail back. More down and up and we finally found our way back to our starting point - btw - clouds arriving from all angles,thunder in the distance on both side. :-) Just a bit of rain on the last quarter mile in a race to our car.

      Home for wine and an early night.

      Miles: 8.9
      Flights Climbed: 76
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    • Day 17

      Santiago to Mennagio, Italy

      April 27, 2018 in Italy ⋅ 🌙 68 °F

      An early AM start - a 6:40AM flight from Santiago to Madrid to Milan. Picked up car in Milan and drove to Mennagio. Lunch (our first pizza in Italy) at a cafe in the center square of town right on Lake Como. Then a trip to the grocery store to get supplies for the condo. Always fun to Lots of "fun" trying to find the rental office - back and forth along the coast, up and down the hill, etc. Finally the GPS came through and we arrived around 5PM. Further up the "hill" (aka mountain), we arrived at our condo for the next 2 weeks.

      When not raining we will be living outdoors here. Spectacular view of the lake and surrounding villages/hamlets. Picture attached is from first night but it was pretty cloudy. Will post better pictures when it clears. Can see snow covered mountains in the distance, think Southern Alps), white churches high on the hills, Bellagio, the most famous city on the lake, and Lake Como in all its splendor as far as you can see in both directions. All the little villages on the Lake are available by boat. Hiking will be very "up". :-)

      Condo is an 2 story with bedroom and bath on a lower level and the rest on the entry level - another bedroom and bath and a combination kitchen and living room. Still no English TV stations - we have not had one on this trip yet. Nothing really matters except the outside area for us and it is spectacular. Just wine and snacks for "dinner" and to bed early.

      Miles: 2.9
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    • Day 21


      May 1, 2018 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 59 °F

      A sun and cloud day. We planned to do a 6.5 mile walk from Colona which is South of Menaggio about 5 miles. Decided to park our car in Griante -the next town South of us and take a bus to our starting point. This being May 1 and a holiday in most of Europe (their Labor Day), the buses were running on a Sunday schedule. :-( So we spent a lazy hour in a cafe watching the world go by in a beautiful place and waiting for the bus.

      An exciting bus ride. The road by the Lake is very narrow in spots and we have driven it more than and had to wait while a bus and another vehicle try to decide who goes first. This time we were in the bus. Came around the corner and there was another bus about 30 feet away !! Only room for one bus in that road so our bus driver gets out of the bus, organizes all of the traffic in back of us to one side of the road, gets back in the bus and backs that huge bus about 200-300 meters with not 6 inches on each side. It was amazing. The other bus goes through and we are on our way. Must have been 50 cars in back of us until all that was over. No wonder the buses in this area of the world do not run on time.
      Our hike/walk was great. Lots of uphill but not too bad. Much of the trail above the lake followed old Roman roads through fringes of towns and some meadows and lots of wildflowers. We found 2 geocaches along the way, one took awhile but we finally found it. Left our trackable found in Bodega Bay from Germany in one of the caches! Geocaching is so amazing by how it brings the world together. The trail led us down to lake level in time for lunch by the water in Lenno. A lovely lido and since it was a holiday, all the restaurants there were filled to capacity and we had to wait for a table. Great salad and pizza. Continued our walk to the end where we had parked our car.

      Home for left overs dinner and an evening of E-mail and quiet.

      Miles: 9.4
      Flights climbed: 59
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    • Day 22

      Menaggio, Italy

      May 2, 2018 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 57 °F

      Our first rainy day in over 3 weeks!! We have been so very lucky with weather. Decided to go to a market and explore the area North of us as we have not yet traveled that way. The market was (supposedly) in Gravedona, about 30 minutes North. Looked all around the area, towns before and after, and never found a market. :-( While looking around we saw a sign that said 71k (44 miles) to St. Moritz. (Switzerland). So we decided to go there for lunch. :-)

      The scenery changes pretty dramatically at the North end of Lake Como. The mountains get higher, more snow and steeper sides. Kay loves the mountains and loved every minute of this drive, even in the rain. While only 44 miles, most all was winding mountain roads with the exception of one beautiful valley in Italy right before we reached Switzerland. In that valley, we saw a spectacular very long waterfall on the side of a mountain. As luck would have it, we turned off the road to take pictures and there was a park there so we parked and were able to walk almost to the base of the falls. Not quite the same as the waterfalls in Norway last year but impressive.

      Arrived St. Moritz and checked out town. The Olympics were held in St. Moritz in 1928 and 1948 and will be held there again in 2020. Lots of construction going on so they are clearly getting ready. Check out trip advisor for a restaurant suggestion and ended up at a very good one overlooking the Alps and the large lake below. Food was great and a nice break from pasta and pizza.

      Back "down the hill" (ask Illene about the ride through the pass). A grocery store stop to last us most of the rest of our time here. Fresh trout for dinner. Dinner and another quiet evening with E-mail and planning for tomorrow's hike - weather dependent.

      Miles: 1.5 :-(
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    • Day 23


      May 3, 2018 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 64 °F

      Another mostly cloudy day but some warmer. Off to do our planned hike/walk from Menaggio to Porlezza which is from Lake Como to Lake Lugano. Distance is 12.5k (8 miles) in the hiking tour book but we always manage to want to see something else or make a wrong turn.

      The way was mostly paved. We started from where we parked our car in downtown Menaggio and walked up quite a bit on roads and steps through town. Finally caught the trail above Menaggio. The trail is also a bicycle trail and was mostly paved or gravel. After we reached the top of the hill it was mostly flat the next 7 miles. The trail follows an old railroad path that has been repurposed. Lots of green everywhere, trees, meadows and hillsides. Went through a few small towns and a Nature Reserve around a good size lake, Lake Piano. There was a trailer campground there so we were about to get a Coke Light to go with our sandwiches that we brought. Sat by the lake and watched the ducks.

      During the last stretch, decided to try to find a geocache and were successful, found in a drain spout near a castle. Always fun to find one. Made our way the last 3 miles to Lake Lugano where we sat by the lake and Kay had a beer and Illene had ice cream. Into Porlezza to catch a bus back to Menaggio. Fun hike and so pretty.

      Back to condo for a bit of clean up and feet up. Then out to dinner just a mile down the hill to the #1 TA rated restaurant in Menaggio. La Vecchio Magnolia. Good, not great. We both had pasta of different types. I had a curry pasta, interesting but would probably not order again. Another good day.
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    • Day 24


      May 4, 2018 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 63 °F

      A great day. Off this AM via ferry to Bellagio - the pearl of Lake Como. (according to the tourist information books). Bellagio is situated just across the one arm of the lake from us and we can see it lights every night. And, yes, George Clooney lives nearby. Bellagio is the more upscale area of the Lake and probably the most touristed place. We made a quick stop at the TI and got a walking tour of Bellagio and set out to see the town. Highlights were the tip of the town that juts out into Lake Como - the scenery spectacular with views of the Swiss Alps at the North end of the lake, the lake on both sides of you and the lovely Como coastline on both sides with villages dotted in the green mountains. We checked out a couple local churches, the town hall, and Villa Serbellino - a Rockefeller resort ! Then time for lunch by the Lake and on to the next ferry to Villa Carlotta, back on our side of the Lake near Menaggio.

      The Villa Carlotta is one of the more well-known of the many villas in this part of the world. It is right on the water. The villa is now a museum but best known for its terrific gardens. They are extensive and it being early May here, so much in bloom. Magnificent rhododendron, azaleas, and many smaller multicolored bedding plants. The gardens are really an aboretum as well. Trees from all over the world, including a bamboo forest along with a Japanese garden. We walked for an hour and have many flower pictures. Then a quick trip through the museum where there was also an art exhibit of an Italian artist who did a lot of tree art. We had arranged this time so as to be able to attend the concert at 5PM - a piano forte and sax/clarinet duo. It was great, loved the music that they played. Some light classical and some jazz.

      Then bus to our car, "grocery" shop for wine and home to make pork tenderloin for dinner. Then the power went out as we overloading the system with both the over and washing machine going at the same time. After an hour of back and forth with the management office, the lights finally came back on which it is now almost 10:30PM and the washing machine is still not finished!! Planned our Switzerland hike for tomorrow soon to bed.
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    • Day 26


      May 6, 2018 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 70 °F

      A sunny warm day with a lazy start. We were both tired after yesterday's escapades so we slept in and did not rush into anything this AM. Finally out the door around 11 for a ride over to Lake Maggiore. Lake Maggiore is a large lake in the Italian lakes chain, larger than Lake Como to the West of us. As with Lake Lugano it is partly in Italy and part in Switzerland. We decided to drive to Locarno, Switzerland on the Maggiore lakeside.

      Lovely Sunday for a ride, clear skies and spectacular lake and alpine scenery as we left Lake Como, drove by Lake Lugano and then to Lake Maggiore. All of this with steep tree covered mountains rising out of the waters and occasionally a really high mountain still snow covered peaking through. We saw cable cars going up the mountains, paragliders sailing above us and lots of boats, yachts and paddle boats. (The paddle boats in Locarno has 2 seat to paddle and 2 other lounge chair seats for passengers to sun while the other worked!)

      We walked the extensive Lido - went for miles. Watched all the families out for picnics, sports and water games. Ate a great lunch at one of the lakeside trattorias. Temperature climbing to over 80 today! Summer temps without the crowds. Then tried to find the Old Town - finally found it after we went back to get the car. Trying to find a castle that was supposed to be in the Old Town we found ourselves in a pedestrian only zone being followed by the Policia. :-( After a brief "discussion" and a threat of a 200 Swiss franc fine, we were on our way. No money paid, we have decided it was because we are so cute.

      Drove back to Menaggio and spent some time drinking wine and eating ice cream in the piazza there. It too was filled with families and tourists all enjoying the beautiful weather outdoors. We ordered a pizza to take home and off we went "up the hill" to home. Had an exciting cocktail hour in our back yard. Could see and feel a huge thunderstorm coming right up the lake from the South. Everything got dark, could not see across the lake, thunder and lightening - and just like that it was over. Got a couple sprinkles and that was it.

      Miles: 4.6
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    • Day 28


      May 8, 2018 in Italy ⋅ 🌧 63 °F

      A day of R & R after our strenuous hiking escapade yesterday. A morning of breakfast on our terrace and lazy conversation about what to do today. Have not been to a market yet so off to a market day in Lenno, a town a few miles down the coast. Turned out to be a large market and fun to poke around. Since we just mailed a large box home yesterday the only purchase was fresh trout for dinner. Back to condo to refrig fish and a little nap on the terrace in the lounge chairs borrowed from the condo next door.

      To the local pizzeria for lunch - pizza with rocket salad. Just OK. Some "running around in Menaggio - trying to get nail appt, no luck as they do not do gel, grocery store, and, of course, gelato on the piazza. Home to find that the electrician had really (after several aborted attempts) been here today, fixed the light in Kay's bathroom {not working since arrival}, and more importantly installed a Roku for the TV. First English speaking TV we have had on the trip !!

      Workers working on the upstairs deck all day today. Went up tonight and they are filling the infinity pool! Therefore late this afternoon reading and planning and cocktail hour on the 4th floor deck with all of Lake Como and the surrounding Southern Alps for scenery. Pretty impressive.

      Trout, roasted potatoes and fresh green beans for dinner and, the first for this trip, TV after dinner. Amazing Roku channels here from all over the world. Saw a wonderful contemporary dance troupe from Israel. And the news that the US has pulled out of the Iran Nuclear Agreement. Hmmmmmm All of this interrupted by a significant thunderstorm outside. Most rain we have had on the trip. Amazing lightening storm lighting up the entire sky and thunder all around. Impressive is mother nature!!

      Miles: 3.3
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    • Day 29


      May 9, 2018 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 63 °F

      Our last full day in this area of the world. Wanted to do one more hike so after some morning "planning and getting organized" we were off for a hike over towards Lugano, Switzerland but still in Italy in an area called the Valsolde. Lots of traffic on this road as the road that goes down the coast of Lake Como is closed due to a landslide. If it does not reopen it will effect our getaway day tomorrow as we will have to go to Milan via Switzerland.

      Could not find the turn off to the starting point of our hike so drove up the mountain a bit farther and found a parking spot at Loggio where we joined the trail. (also cut off about 500 ft of "up" too :-) A long way up, about an hour and a half of up - gradual but never
      ending. Amazing scenery on the way as we drew closer to the huge mountains all around us. Finally reached the top after losing the map for the rest of the way! :-) We had been warned that after the top it was a steep downhill and it was but we "pickd" our way down to a wonderful waterfall area where we stopped for our picnic lunch. Beautiful spot. Came out at a hamlet named Dasio. Tried to find our trail without a map and after several failed attempts (but some pretty walks) ended up just going back down the road to our car. About 7 miles today. Our last hike in the area and it was fun and a sense of accomplishment.

      Home to get cleaned up and out for a nice dinner. Planned on the Hotel Royal in Loveno but not yet open for the season. So back to the Vecchio Magnolia and had a very good dinner - Illene had perch and rice and I had beef (thin sliced and very tender with Polenta Taragna. Very different and terrific - Farina with cornmeal and buckwheat. I am not fan of polenta but this was very good - and different. One more trip downtown in the rain for our last Menaggio gelato. Home for some English TV and the end of our last day in Menaggio.

      Miles: 8.0
      Flights Climbed: 63!!
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Calcio, کالچیو, Կալչո, カルチョ, Кальчо, Calzum, Cals, 卡尔乔

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