Buon giorno tutti!

Today I'm travelling back in time to a world pre-toe fracture, when I spent my days wandering around the beautiful sunlit towns of Lake Como.

That's kind of a lie. I actually spend most of my days behind a desk in an office like most people but hey. One day...

Anyway, I thought I'd have a look through the photos from the other weekend seeing as I always have these great ambitions to get everything online as I do it and to keep the blog relevant and on the ball, so to speak. 

But it just never happens. I still have posts from back in... a month earlier this year... when we went to Piemonte (which was amazing amazing amazing, a bit like Tuscany's plainer Northern sister, where I ate A LOT of cheese. A lot. And I discovered that certain cheeses go perfectly with honey and hazelnuts. You will never turn back).

So before I start reminiscing about Piemonte, I thought I'd finish up in Lake Como over the next couple of posts.

It seems that I've been spending a lot of time up there recently as the two weekends after this little minibreak, we went hiking in the hills nearby.

Speaking of hiking, my toe is doing fine and is hardly hurting at all (until I forget and start walking normally.. ouch.) This morning though I was squatting down in front of the fridge when I lost my balance a bit - usually I'd just swing forward onto my toes to keep myself up but this wasn't an option so back I went, on my arse. Charming. I will get used to this soon. Shopping on crutches will be an adventure this afternoon though...

So Lake Como!

We started the day off in Lenno which was the first place we could find a parking space. We didn't see much of the town which looked really pretty as we were heading straight to the ferry for a day of cruising around the lake.

Lenno is home to the famous Villa Balbianello where apparently a wedding scene was shot for a little-known film called Star Wars...

Unfortunately, despite being Italian, Magro is a little sensitive to the sun so we spent all of our ferry rides below deck much to my dissatisfaction.

Our first stop wasn't too far away though: the world famous town of Bellaggio.

It certainly photographs well.

I really wanted to stop and have some lunch at this beautiful little lakeside restaurant but a) we were in tourist territory which in Italy generally means crap food for ridiculous prices (in Taormina earlier this year I saw pizzas for €15 - in SICILY people! You can have a whole meal for a fiver in Sicily!) and b) we had absolutely gorged on breakfast which was lots of homemade cake, fresh jam and steaming scrambled eggs out on the patio (ok, I had some fruit as well..)

Bellaggio was a real tourist hotspot with the whole town buzzing with people. We avoided the main streets at first and went in the opposite direction to the crowds, following the path until we came to a little harbour beside the lake.

There was a restaurant here too with lower prices and I was so jealous of all the people sitting in the sunshine beneath the wisteria enjoying a slow lunch with that mountain view.

But we were still full.

So we tried to walk it off by having a look at the windy little alleys that appear on so many postcards.

It's real "typical" Italy in Bellaggio - until you come across this crazy building. We thought it was a church but it seems to be somebody's custom built house? I was tempted to put a note through the door and ask them to email me to tell me more about the building's history.

Below is a little sign that made me chuckle. "I'm a wine tasting machine, baby!"

After that we wandered into a church and spent a few minutes looking at the architecture.

It reminded me more of the churches back home in England than the extravagant Catholic masterpieces we normally see here.

But it was nice and peaceful and quiet and it felt nicely strange to find an unadorned pocket in the middle of one of the busiest towns on the lake.

By that point we felt we'd seen everything Bellaggio had to offer.

It wasn't the most exciting place I've ever visited and I think I prefer the Borromee islands on Lake Maggiore or the little towns surrounding Lake Garda.

It was pretty though, I'll give it that at least.

And if you're thinking that this post has been distinctly food free, it wasn't my fault. It was Magro and his ridiculously absent appetite's fault.

After a little while, the ferry glided into Varenna.

Which Magro was happy about as he gets seasick too. No sun, no sea, no sand. He is a terrible Italian.

I have to say that I liked Varenna a lot more. It was quieter and plainer and slightly more real to me. It was still full of cafes with tacky menus and bad ice cream but it was calmer. I like calm on holiday.

We followed a group of people around a lakeside path and into a little collection of buildings and streets.

Magro thought it would be hilarious to take a left off this path up some massively steep steps which left me huffing and puffing. It did lead us to the centre which felt like returning to civilisation again but there were lots of pretty little streets to explore as well.

Finally, 4pm was lunchtime. But not proper lunch as dinner was only a few hours ahead. Grr. I can't do this not eating thing, can you?

No, thought not.

And would you just look at what Magro got for lunch.

Yep, a huge ice cream sundae. With an Italian flag shiny plastic thing stuck in the top. It made me laugh a lot.

Not that my giant bruschetta was that much more sophisticated!

By this point we decided it was time to go back to the hotel and make the most of the little chairs in the garden so we jumped back on the ferry and disappeared again.