A direct flight from Copenhagen, took us to Milan. We picked up a rental car at the airport and despite a slight temptation, we decided not to make a stop in Milan. I’m sure by train it would have been easy, but we didn’t want to deal with the typical Italian chaos of finding your way around the city by car. We didn’t escape complete chaos, however. We made our best attempt to navigate around Milan, but ended up driving through it anyway. Our eyes were mostly on the road or on a map, but it was enough to notice some beautiful architecture and some fashionistas walking on the streets.
Upon finally finding the correct freeway, we drove to Menaggio, and took a short ferry across to Varenna. After gelatos, cappuccinos and some hug-filled reunions, we headed to our rental house, which we shared with my sister’s family. It was a four bedroom house, located high above the town. Besides having a bit of an ant problem (ick!), it was perfect for the 8 of us…with a rickety, old swing set with an amazing view.
The weather was uncharacteristic for Italy this time of year. To be more specific…we were told that it was the coldest May in a century! Oh my! Of course we were hoping for a bit more of that Italian sunshine, but really, we weren’t here for sun. The main highlight was catching up with family we hadn’t seen in a long time. We still ate plenty of gelato, but a bit of rain was a good reason to duck inside for cappuccinos or a glass of vino. Some of us also took an Italian cooking class, which was great fun!
The girls (all 4 of them) were obsessed with collecting sea glass from the lake. For some reason Lake Como is full of beautiful sea glass. I have a vase here at home full of pieces we lugged home!
Later in the week, we visited the Castle of Vezio, located in the hills above Varenna. The castle tower provides a striking view of the lake and mountains. Further below the castle is a little walk with a bird’s eye view of Varenna. The castle has a falconry of owls, hawks and other birds-of-prey who are raised and trained on the grounds. In the vicinity of the castle is a small, medieval-style hamlet, where about 20 families live. We enjoyed its charm on a coffee stop on our way out.
Leave it to my mom (leopard-print bag and all) to make friends with all the locals.
To be continued…