En route to Varenna, Lake Como

 

[July 9, 2010]

Day 2

A quick breakfast, a stop at the local bodega for provisions and we are on the road—Lake Como or bust!  It wasn’t long before we hit the Swiss border and we could sense the Italian Lakes getting closer.  While August is typically a busy month for many Europeans to take holiday, it was quite obvious several were getting a jump start in July.  Nearly every other vehicle from The Netherlands, Belgium, or France had in tow either a camper, a set of bicycles, a roof box, or all of the above.

Once through the queue and across the Swiss border, the scenery was lush and mountainous.  Quite a change in topography having come from the Dutch “low lands”.  Driving through the Swiss Alps also meant navigating long dark tunnels (usually backed up with traffic) in order to slice through the terrain.  Day 2 of this stop-and-go traffic was again unkind to G’s feet enduring several crawling hours of clutch-brake-gas-clutch-gas-gas-clutch-brake-clutch-brake-gas-clutch-brake.

As signs for Lugano were appearing, we were soon rewarded with our first glimpse of the Italian Lakes with sunny views of Lake Lugano.  Lake Lugano splits the Swiss/Italian border and soon after crossing we had some extremely narrow and winding streets with high stone walls which no U.S. SUV would have cleared and retained both side view mirrors.  Continuing east-ish, we wriggled down the hill to reach the ferry landing at Menaggio on the western shore of Lake Como.  G brought the car to the queue while I purchased a ticket to cross the lake on the next ferry to Varenna.  Having been sheltered in the cool A/C of the car for several hours, I nearly melted when I went to the ticket window.  WOW, it’s hot here.

We were the last car to squeak in on the ferry and the cool breeze during the ride across was more than welcome as we stood on the deck and soaked up the panoramic views as we crossed the heart of Lake Como.  In about 15 minutes we arrived in Varenna.  Our next challenge was managing 10 hairpin turns (G calls them switchbacks) to whirl up the hill and reach our apartment.  We were both a bit nauseous from the twists and turns; but when we walked in, the views to accompany our home cooked meal were more than worth it.

Ciao,

R&G

*pardon fuzzy fotos from moving vehicle*

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On the road again…

[July 8, 2011]

Day 1

We have hit the road for our long summer holiday. Long both in length and driving distance. This trip brings us again to a few picturesque areas (with great food and wine of course!) in a country we’ve yet to explore together…Italia! First stop is Lake Como, followed by Florence, and wrapped up with a weekend in Cinque Terre. Fortunately there will be a lot of walking and biking to burn all the wonderful calories we plan to consume.

Friday afternoon began our traffic filled stop-and-go drive to our half-way point:  Strasbourg, France. Strasbourg is just over the German border and well known for their Christmas markets. Spending barely over 12 hours in Strasbourg, we managed to squeeze in a great meal, a post dinner walk through the center, and a few winks of sleep.

Hopefully I’ll stay a bit more timely with updates about this trip than I did with our excursion in northern Spain last summer. Here are a few shots from Strasbourg. More to come as we eat our way through Italy!

Ciao,

R&G

Crossing the bridge into "Petite-France"

Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-Strasbourg

Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-Strasbourg

Walking off dinner