Milan, August 28
We arrived in Milan yesterday from Bellagio. The drive from Zermatt to Bellagio on Friday, was another very scenic route. Bellagio sits at the end of a peninsula that juts into Lake Como from the south. The drive up the east side of the peninsula was somewhat harrowing. The road was very narrow, carved out of the steep mountains bordering the lake, and the Italians drove on it like it was a freeway. We felt safest in the many tunnels, where, at least we wouldn’t be pushed over the edge into the lake. We had rented an apartment in Bellagio, which was up two flights of stairs. I think we’re getting a little too old to lug luggage up two flights, but Roger somehow managed in four trips! We did have a pretty nice view.
We like to take a break from hotels on our trips—nice to make our own breakfasts, and have a little more space.
That night we ate at a restaurant on the very tip of the peninsula, and had excellent meals. Once again I had perch, fried in butter. Lake perch has to be one of the best tasting fish! I also had a green salad with greens that must have been picked about an hour before serving. Reminded me of getting lettuce from the field at my family’s farm in Imperial Valley. Had some hazelnut gelato for dessert, magnificent.
The next day we went for a ferry ride on the lake, across to a town on the east side of the lake, Varenna. We got off the ferry and toured the small town. As we were having some water (Roger) and hot cocoa (me) we decided to look at the ferry schedule to see when the next boat to a town on the west side of the lake, Mennagio, left. We discovered it was in five minutes, and rashly decided to try to race back to the ferry landing to catch it. Roger quickly paid the bill while I guzzled my cocoa, then we walked very fast back to the ferry, just in time to see it leave. As we sat down to try to figure out when the next ferry left, the waiter who had served us our water and cocoa came up with the Italian guide book we had left behind. We had tipped him, but this was certainly very nice of him.
We discovered that the next ferry to the town on the west side of the lake would be in about an hour and a half. However, according to the schedule there was a ferry going back to Bellagio in about 20 minutes, and we thought that would be fine, we would do a little shopping and have lunch in one of the restaurants recommended by our guide book. So, the ferry arrived, and as we were boarding it was announced that it was going to Menaggio. We really enjoyed going on the ferry, the views were terrific, but, after some discussion, we decided we really didn’t want to walk through another small Italian tourist-attraction town. So, we decided we would just stay on that ferry as it went back to Bellagio. When we bought our ferry tickets we were given the impression that the ferries traveled in a triangle between the three towns. As we left Managgio, it quickly became apparent that we were not going back Bellagio, we were going back to Verenna. When we got to Verenna, we asked the ferryman, how we could get to Bellagio. “Next stop,” he said. So we stayed on the ferry, reached Bellagio, had a wonderful lunch, did a little shopping, and went back to our apartment.
Somehow the drive down the peninsula to Milan yesterday wasn’t nearly so nail-bitingly scary as the drive up—knew what to expect I guess, and we were next to the land, not the drop-off into the lake.
I’ve become a fan of the GPS system. It got us to the check-in location for our Milan apartment, where we left our luggage as it was 10:00 am, long before check-in, and it got us to the rental car return, without a false turn.
Yesterday, we went to the Pinacteca de Brera, Milan’s amazing art collection, which would be more amazing if Napoleon hadn’t taken so much Italian art—which is now in the Louvre. It’s pretty easy to get around Milan by the Metro, however, we did take a taxi from the check-in site to our apartment. Just can’t hassle the luggage on the subway like the young backpackers do.
Today we toured the Duomo, after waiting in a Disneyland type line, then went to see La Scala walking through what may be the oldest mall in the world, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, built in 1877. It’s very humid here, and fairly warm, so I came back to the apartment, while Roger toured yet another art museum. Unlike Roger, I tend to get to a saturation point with fine art, especially when it hot and muggy.
Tomorrow we’ll go to the Castello Sforzesco, and other places to be determined.