Monday, July 23, 2012

Ferry Ride to Bellagio

We had a fantastic weekend, full of activity, but none of it too far from Como. It was a great opportunity to see more of the local sites. There really are a lot of beautiful scenes right around Como, which has been one of our favorite things about the location where we're living...

It all started Saturday with a short walk to Villa Olmo and Eva's first time in the swimming pool... poor baby. The water was pretty cold, and they require swimmers to wear a cap. After awhile, she got used to the temperature.  She wasn't necessarily crying, but just sort of complaining loudly the whole time she was in the water. She definitely didn't enjoy the pool like she loves her time in the bathtub. Once the cap was off she was a happy girl once again. It cost 14 euros to enter the pool, plus the purchase of our lovely souvenir caps. Cole's co-workers later told us that this was actually an inexpensive pool! We were surprised... with the exchange rate, that equates to about $20 USD for two adults. We're used to pools in the states costing only a few dollars apiece. Maybe this is a method the Italians use to keep their pools from becoming a daycare center during the summer months like US pools so often seem to become... :)

Just in case you saw the first picture and considered reporting us... she really is a happy girl, we promise! :)
Saturday evening we enjoyed a dinner cooked by Cole's co-worker, Marika. We met her husband, Max and their five-year-old daughter at their home. Unfortunately, I didn't take any photos, but I'm sure we'll get together again - we had a really nice time. Truly, we dined in Italian style. The meal began around 7:30 and ended after 11! Max doesn't speak much English, so the entire dinner was sort of like an enjoyable lesson, with Marika translating and Cole and I asking lots of questions. It was helpful for us to learn more Italian words and discuss the differences between our countries. We started with a delicious antipasto (appetizer) of bruchetta, followed by a primo (the first course) of pasta with clams and the secondo (second course) was mussels. Cole and I had never had mussels before - I guess that's partially because we are from the land-locked land of Oz. Marika and Max were happy to demonstrate eating them for us... We didn't realize that you can eat them straight from the shell, prying them fully open and using your teeth to eat the meat. (Another option is to use one empty shell as your utensil, pinching and pulling the meat from another shell.) It was such a fun experience.We finished dinner with the dolce (dessert) of watermelon and ice cream. Then we each had a serving of limoncello, a sweet, strong lemon-flavored liqueur served in small glasses. Although they looked like shot glasses, limoncello is really meant to be sipped slowly. Yum!

On the way home we gassed up the car... and then just barely made it back to Como. Unfortunately, we unknowingly put diesel into our "unleaded-only" vehicle, which didn't work out so well... as you can imagine. It was one of those mistakes that just makes you feel so silly and just sick to your stomach. Today Cole picked up a new rental car from Avis and they towed off the old one, hopefully with no permanent damage. Lesson learned.

It's amazing to see the towns along Lake Como - they appear to grow straight up out of the water! 
The shoreline along Lake Como just before Isla Comacina. One of my favorite pictures of the lake so far...
Sunday we took the ferry from Como to Bellagio. The locals have told us that this route is really popular with American tourists in the area - thanks to the Las Vegas resort. We paid about 20 euros each for the scenic round trip ride. It took about two hours to reach Bellagio, stopping along the way at many small towns. Lake Como is shaped like an upside down Y, with Como situated at the southwest tip of the Y and Bellagio at the instersection of the three legs. Cole's co-worker Giovanni and his new wife, Anna, met us in Bellagio. We spent the day walking thoughout the picturesque town and, of course, eating pranzo (lunch) and some of the best gelato yet. It was a really enjoyable, relaxing day and for me it feels so nice to be meeting people! I love spending my days with Eva, but adult interaction is necessary for my mental health!

Ready to explore Bellagio! 

Our new friends, Giovanni and Anna! 
July 22, 2012 - Bellagio, Italy