Prepping for a swim in the lake

Prepping for a swim in the lake

View from balcony

View from balcony

Invigorating swim in Lake Como

Invigorating swim in Lake Como

2013-06-20 13.02.59

Casino Royale crew

Casino Royale crew

Walk back in time

Corniga – A walk back in time

2013-06-24 09.10.16It was love at first sight for me with Lake Como.  And no, we didn’t see George Clooney (although we spotted his villa across the lake).   We’d rented a 2-bedroom home in Nesso, from a US-based college professor whose grandfather built the house in his retirement.  Nesso is a quiet hamlet about halfway between Como and Bellagio, its apartments and modest villas are built into the hillside and cascade down to the lake.  The majority of these dwellings are inaccessible by car, their access limited to steep and narrow cobblestone stairways.  No need for gyms here.  You have to be fit to leave your home.  In retrospect, we didn’t see many folks out and about.  One thing was immediately clear–the Italians do charming amazingly well.  The difference between Switzerland and Italy was immediately clear as we crossed the border.  Italians aren’t tidy and methodical.  They are more liberal with their splash of colors.  And they are even louder than us Americans.  I immediately felt at home.

Our rental was just off the main road circling Como, a 1 minute walk to the only hotel in town (Tre Rosa) which became our almost nightly dining venue.  It was here we discovered the local fizzy red wine.  Sounds strange but it really hits the spot in the heat.

The local ferry stop could be reached in seven minutes via cobblestone paths and the bus stopped right outside of our rental.  If you’re familiar with Italian roads, you know that public transport is the way to go and Como is no exception.  This point was “driven” home when Jonathan took the car down a narrow road that kept narrowing until we couldn’t move forward anymore and the only option was to reverse 200 yards with only an inch on each side at the narrowest points.  Zara and I directed while Jonathan had the hot seat.  That was fun.  We were especially grateful that we’d abstained from any wine at lunch–unusual in our resolve in that we were the only dry table in the restaurant!

Our week in Nesso flew by–so much so that for the first time in awhile I found myself wishing we’d booked our rental for longer.  Highlights from the week:

  • Our friends from Maine, the Loders, stayed in Nesso for two nights with their three beautiful children and the kids enjoyed pillow fights and kung fu routines while their parents talked late into the night.
  • Ferry to the Villa del Balbianello, a setting in Casino Royale
  • Swimming in Lake Como
  • Late afternoon drinks in Bellagio
  • Ferry rides
  • Countless hours soaking in the view from our balcony
  • A walk to a medieval village.  Jonathan is always on the hunt for spectacular views, so when he spotted a gondola cable going up a mountainside across the lake, we decided it would be a good outing for our last day at Como.  We took the ferry across the lake to Argegno and grabbed the gondola up the hill to Pigra.  A short walk around Pigra proved that there wasn’t much on offer (although the views were spectacular), so we ambled along to the start of a forested trail and then had to crazy idea to see if we could  walk to another town on the lake.  Wow–what a discovery.  The path took us through a postage stamp-sized village called Corniga, which looked like it hadn’t changed in centuries and appeared to only reachable on foot.  By the end of the nearly six-mile walk, however, we were cursing the steep cobblestone path, so much so that Zara got down on her knees and  kissed the ground when we finally reached flat pavement.
  • Hot chocolate to die for in Bellagio
  • Discovering a scorpion in Zara’s room while packing our last day!
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