We took a mini-break to Lake Como on the weekend and it was lovely. It’s great to have places such as this within easy striking distance (3.5 hours by train). I feel a tad guilty that we haven’t explored more of Switzerland itself yet, but there’s plenty of time for that. The train journey is amazing. The same route as I took to Milan a few months ago. And it was good practice for entertaining a toddler in a confined space for several hours (result: not great, the 12-hour plane trip on Sunday without HI’s help is going to be nasty).
Lake Como is spectacular. I was actually unprepared for how beautiful it was. According to Wikipedia, it’s been a tourist destination since Roman times and it’s easy to see why. Very dramatic landscape with steep mountains rising on all sides of the lake, which is quite large – it took us nearly three hours to putter on a Ferry from end to end (almost). We stayed in a tiny town called Carate Urio, right round the corner from George Clooney’s house. Mr Clooney was getting married on this same weekend in Italy, in fact. Our invite must’ve got lost in the mail…
Wow it was steep though – there was a road for cars but the easiest access to the water from our AirBnB apartment was via winding staircases down the mountainside between other houses. These little cobblestone walkways seemed quite medieval and were somewhat confusing, especially once it got dark and was raining! Luckily we found our way home on the first night (after eating one of the town’s two restaurants Il Filo d’Olio) without overshooting the mark by too far. Next day I completely misjudged the timing to get down to the ferry dock and ended up having to run for it. As there’s only 3 ferries a day, I was very glad to just make it in time! My baby belly didn’t thank me for the exertion though. Phew. I was quite glad the ferry trip itself was a couple of hours so I had time to recover.
We had lunch at Bellagio – a really pretty town complete with requisite stone staircases up the hill, loads of restaurants, salumerias, gelato shops and souvenir stuff. Because the ferries back were few and far between, we didn’t hang around too long, and were rewarded for our punctuality by discovering a “rapido” ferry departing to Como (the town) at the same time as the one we were planning to catch back to Carate Urio. So we hopped on that and spent a few hours exploring Como as well, gelatos in hand. Headed back on a tiny ferry, which was lovely – stunning scenery all round. (Actually, a lot of the lakeside towns reminded me of Mosman Bay back in Sydney! Maybe Mosman is not quite so impressive…)
So it was a fantastic day that was only marred by the realisation when we got back to the apartment that we had lost Mimi, P’s favourite soft toy. Aaargh, not again!! This is the second Mimi we have lost since moving to Switzerland 😦 😦 But good news, the Ferry Company just wrote back to HI’s email to say they found her, so she will be returned… maybe not in time for Aust, but all good!
Heading back on Sunday, there was some confusion with the trains (an Italian rail strike? hard to tell) but once again, our luck was in and we caught a direct train to Zurich within half an hour of arriving at the main station in Como. Trip back with toddler was again somewhat trying but fine. It was interesting to arrive back at Zurich Hauptbahnhof (HB) and realise it’s starting to feel like “home” – or at the very least it’s very familiar and actually quite comforting. It is a nice station after all, quite large but fairly open and airy and SO EASY to walk right off the platform onto a tram home. I hope I still feel this way when we return from Aus, although not sure Zuri Flughaven is quite as lovable as the HB. (Then again, Tyler Brûlé is always raving about it in his FT column – hmm another local we’re still waiting to get an invite from. I wonder if he attended the Clooney nuptials?)
So that’s the mini-break… now for the maxi!