Our overnight flight from Miami to Milan was perhaps our easiest long flight ever. We got a $291 r/t flight (+$ for seat assignments) on Air Italy. International airlines often feel more luxurious than domestic airlines. There is just a certain level of je ne sais quois about them. Even Cara felt it as she pronounced her approval and wondered, “This seems like we are in first class!” The thing she loved most? The purple fabric seats. Go figure. The thing she liked least? Having to get off. Anyway, it was an easy flight where we all slept at least adequately.
We got our rental car, which wasn’t the Alpha Romeo I reserved, but a tiny Jeep box that rattled and wouldn’t keep air in the tires. Our hotel was cool and the inexpensive breakfast would also be considered a first-class experience at home.
We took a nap for a few hours and then tried to make it to our evening tour on the roof of the Duomo di Milano. We would have made it, but getting into the parking lot at the train station took about 3 tries around the block. In the end, we missed our time. Considering we had come from the other side of the world and only missed our time slot by 15 minutes, I’d say that’s almost perfect logistical planning on my part…but not quite good enough haha.
This was the one place on our entire trip where we felt a little uneasy about encroaching pickpocketers, but we escaped unscathed. Nate nicknamed them The Rainbow Bracelet Gang.
We could have revisited before leaving town but that time was taken by needing to switch out our car for another. The rental car tried giving us a tiny Fiat…for all five of us…and all our luggage. Not going to happen. We lucked out and scored a medium-sized Romanian Dacia. Perfect.
The next day we headed north to spend the day at Lake Como…but first we needed to get our car out of the underground garage. You see, we were down 2 floors and were happy to see plenty of parking spots. Then we realized why so many were available. We had to get from a level surface, around a 45-degree turn just wider than the car, and up a 50% grade ALL AT THE SAME TIME in a manual transmission with no guts nor glory. That was fun. Pretty sure we lost some rubber and woke up the building next door in that effort.
Okay, Lake Como. Oh, how idyllic. Doesn’t the below picture look like Cary Grant could be on board, turning his back to you and saying, “Well? Are you coming or not?” I’m not sure why that just came to mind, but everything here (and all over Italy) was just.so.romantic! PS. You’ll hear me use those words a lot.
Now, I don’t love having my picture taken, but this guy… He just adores me taking the camera and telling him where to stand.
Nate loved this day so much that it ended up being his favorite overall from the entire trip (other than the Lamborghini factory tour).
Oh, I spot another of Cary’s boats! On this one he’d at least take your hand and help you aboard.
Well, we did get to ride in a boat after all. We took the ferry across the lake from Menaggio over to Varenna where we spent the rest of the afternoon.
We took a long walk up into the foothills to explore a grotto. The grotto wasn’t noteworthy by any means but the walk was fantastic.
Cara started to feel jet lagged toward the late afternoon and after our long walk.
But she fueled up along with the rest of us at a delicious lake-side restaurant where we determined ham and cheese sandwiches have a different meaning in Italy…meaning, delizioso!
On our way back to Menaggio our ferry passed by Bellagio but we didn’t have time to get off. No worries, we were completely overjoyed with our time in Varenna.
And yes. The sky really was this purple at sunset.
On our drive through the mountains back to Milan we needed to get air in our tire again (this was before we switched cars). All the service stations were closed. In fact, everything was closed. Finally we happened upon a gas station that was closed but doubled as a tiny bar, which was open. Rob got to go inside and try to ask for a way to get air. The translation app didn’t translate adequately and so Rob resorted to charades. Just think of how to act out “I need air to fill up my tire.” I could see him through the window and I was laughing so hard because he looked like such a crazy person! The lady inside enlisted the help of 4 other men to try to understand what he was saying. Finally, with a big smile, one of the men pulled a detached hose from behind the bar counter, took it outside, hooked it up, and filled up the tire for us.
Such a funny memory.
Since we are on the subject of lakes, I decided to throw our evening in Sirmione into the mix. This town is on the tip of a tiny peninsula jutting out into Lake Garda.
The town was super busy and Rob had to drop us off, drive way out to park, and then jog in to catch back up to us. Later that evening we found out what the fuss was all about. Suddenly and to our surprise, opera music blared and fireworks went off over the lake. We had front row seats and boy, was it a SHOW! My jaw literally dropped for minutes at a time and then the biggest smile swept across my face. My heart felt amazing. Rob just kept saying, “Wow. Wow. Wow.” After the FANTASTIC grand finale and all went quiet, Nate shouted, “Happy October 12th!”