We left Venice on Saturday and stopped in Milan on our way to Como. Milan is a busy city with 2.2 million people. Since spring had winked at us that weekend I believe all 2.2 million were out in the city square. Okay, maybe only 2.1 million.
We walked from the Castle to Duomo de Milan, the second largest cathedral in the world. Our guide helped us get tickets to tour the church. Afterward we had a little bit of time to explore the square. There were so many people though we didn’t get far. It was a little disappointing to be that close to Da Vinci’s Last Supper and not get to see it. Especially since this is the 500th anniversary since his death and the city is getting ready for quite the celebration – in a week or so after our departure.
There were citizens and tourists mixed in the square. It is hard to say what the proportion was and how many citizens avoid such a touristy area. Is it similar to Times Square in New York? Maybe. The beggars were there and little old ladies seemed to target RH.
To get back to the bus our tour guide got us taxis. We were divided up into groups of four and each placed in taxis with the tour guide giving directions to the driver before the car pulled out. I had the dubious distinction to sit in front and get a good look at the route. We drove on train tracks, and through narrow places. Our driver even pulled out his phone and seemed to scroll through something on it. Perhaps he was getting directions? Maybe. Or perhaps he was making dinner plans because from what I could see it did not look like a map. I could be wrong because it was in Italian but all I know is it didn’t look like a map to me. He dropped us off and I gave him the money the tour guide had given me and asked for a receipt. Whew! My one job for the day accomplished.
The drivers dropped us off a little off mark so when our tour guide arrived in the last taxi and none of us were at the bus she panicked a little bit. But we found each other and climbed back on the bus. I don’t think I ever need to visit Milan again. I definitely don’t need another taxi ride in Milan. Ever.
We arrived in Como and settled in our new hotel for the next four nights. Our new location overlooked a harbor to Lake Como and my room even had a view of the lake. I paid what I called a “single tax” so that I could have my own room the whole trip and it was worth it. Other rooms members of the group had didn’t have a good view.
That night we had dinner with the group again. On the menu? Fish.
Now, there’s one thing most people know about me and that is I don’t do fish. I don’t fish. I don’t eat fish. I don’t like anything fishy. But when in not-quite Rome, I had fish. I ate the whole thing just so I could have the full experience. The result? I learned fish don’t like me. All I will say is it was a bit of a long night.
A little surprise we learned that night. Italy’s Daylight Saving time was to begin that weekend. We were going to lose an hour that night. Not only did I lose an hour for our Daylight Saving Time in the states but I got to experience it again. Now that’s an example of my luck right there.
The next day, Sunday, we took a boat to Bellagio with a most enthusiastic guide. All our step guides (local guides) were knowledgeable and had an apparent love or spark for their area of expertise. But this one surpassed them all with pure energy.
On our way to Bellagio, she was sure to point out George Clooney’s village. Eh.
We set foot at Bellagio and she assured us it was “impossible to get lost in Bellagio.” Huh. She didn’t know who she was dealing with. Challenge accepted.
We crossed the lake in a boat and then climbed on a bus to get back to our hotel.
A few blocks away from our hotel was a tram they call funicular. It takes passengers up the mountain. We took it and had dinner on the top. Then we stood in line for an hour and a half to get back down.
The next day was an optional excursion that I opted out of. Instead, I took a little nap. Enjoyed a bath (since I don’t have one at home). Went for a walk by the lake. Bought a wrap from a vendor in the park that had some kind of special delicious sauce. Wrote in my journal. Went back to the hotel and the group that went on the excursion weren’t back yet so I ventured out again. I bought some souvenirs. I decided to head out again in a different direction. Let me just say I ended up getting utterly lost. It’s one thing to be lost, that’s happened to me before, it’s quite another thing to get lost in a place you can’t even ask for directions. I walked and walked. At one point, I expected I would see the harbor and instead I saw apartment buildings and traffic. Obviously, I was not going in the right direction and backtracked. I tried finding the hill with the funicular or the harbor to get my bearings. I couldn’t find either. I walked and walked.
Finally, I started to recognize sights from my previous walk. Somehow I started off heading right from my hotel and I ended up coming at it from the left. Not on purpose. But I found my way and I made it back before the excursion group so no one was the wiser. I had a bit of an adventure and all was well. Whew.