Tanya has mentioned that in her readings, a day trip to Lake Como is very special and she suggests we should do that. As we only have one full day here in Milan , I think it’s too much but then in the morning I look at a few photos of the lake and scenery and suggest maybe we should. Tanya finds a good, doing it differently day trip, starting in Varenna then Bellagio and finishing with Como, combining train and ferry travel. It sounds like fun, it will require great logistics so let’s do it! It will be a massive day as we still want to visit the Duomo of Milan as well.
Due to our timing it is not possible to visit the “Last Supper” by Leonardo de Vinci but we feel the Duomo is a must. It has taken 600 years to build, we can’t quite imagine how you pass an architectural project of this magnitude from one generation to the next but it is a magnificent structure.
We have a very tight schedule as due to our slow decision process we don’t leave the apartment till 10.10am and our train for Varenna is at 12.20. Of course when we arrive at the Duomo there is a big line up for tickets but find a Fast-Track line which will allow us to jump the queues , get the elevator to the roof top and we might just get to see it all before we have to race to the train station.
It is quite remarkable that they allow thousands of people to wander on the roof of this incredible cathedral, Tanya is modeling the flimsy balustrade that separates the roof edge from a plummet down to the piazza below. Because of the Fast Track ticket we get an elevator ride to the top but they channel people in a way to get them to take the steps down, that is not going to work for us as it is a narrow little stairwell with snail pace descent, so I get Tanya to start swimming up stream with me against the flow of the crowds back to the elevator ride we took. We manage that and there is still just enough time to visit the cathedral inside. A quick metal detector to our packs and we are let in after saying we are not carrying anything dangerous in them. Only later we remember the Epi-pen and my penknife , ah well.
We make a rapid bee-line for the Metro, three stops, fly into Milan Centrale train station and we split, I go get the tickets and Tanya sources the platform for our soon arriving train.
The decision to do this trip immediately pays off ( yes we did get on board), scenery with snow capped mountains comes in and soon the lake appears. Varenna is a cute little town and hardly any tourists. We explore the little streets and stairwells and hone in on a little restaurant that will make a Pizza marinara for us to go. As we wait, it becomes clear that we are cutting it pretty fine to catch our ferry to Bellagio. Pizza ready we launch to the ferry terminal me doing mighty strides and Tanya keeping up.
As we round the last corner we see the ferry pulling away from the dock 5 min, early, our hearts sink. Luckily it proves to be another ferry and ours is 5 min late. We eat our pizza in the sunshine and on board.
We still have not seen George but maybe in Bellagio. It’s only a 15 min ride but just gorgeous.
Bellagio is much more touristy but still very pretty, all the hills surrounding the lake are covered in fresh , spring green. We have a good little visit and this time we don’t leave it to the last minute to get to the terminal. As we approach we are told that the fast 1hour hydrofoil ferry has broken down and the slow 2 hour ferry is waiting for us to board. This will blow our plans of coming back into Milan before dark.
It is such a beautiful day that we actually don’t mind the extended travel. It’s that perfect afternoon light on the small towns we pass and Tanya, has not needed a Travelcalm, and is just enjoying the ride.
It is going to be touch and go for our connecting train to Milan. It is a 19min walk to the train station from the ferry terminal and we arrive at 7pm , train departing 7.19pm. We have not been to Como before, so Mr Google steps in to guide us there. We are going at an amazing pace , just at the last 300m the road veers away from the directions we have, I quickly recalculate and it’s through the park finishing with a flight of 70 stairs. Same team work, Tanya gets the platform job while I race to get some tickets from the machine. The train is leaving at 7.13pm!! It is 7.12pm we made incredible time. Tanya is back, it’s Platform 1, machine slowly printing tickets, train late 2 min so we manage to get onboard. Phew, turns out to be a super new express train and gets us to Milan well before dark.
This deserves a special dinner. We had spied a cute little tapas place not far from home. We go there, get seated next to a rather loud child ( actually screaming), so I request a change of table, perfect opposite end of the restaurant. Tanya spots a whisky sour cocktail with organic lemon , ginger and a tiny splash of vodka purely for medicinal purposes to get rid of her cold.
It apparently tastes awesome. We order some funky tapas and are having a great time , having pulled off a pretty amazing day. It just all flows really smoothly and Tanya feels one more of those will definitely help the cold.
This one tastes just as good ( notice now held in left hand). We giggle all the way home, I am in an equally jovial mood after my litre of aqua minerale. We get home , Tanya turns left out of the lift and I go right to the apartment, we laugh.
The only thing that is missing from this perfect day is that George Clooney did not join us for afternoon tea 🙂