Ocean’s 11! The fans of George Clooney must’ve understood what I am talking about. And not the Bellagio casino – I came to the real Bellagio – the “Pearl of Como”. Charming place and hence, super touristy. Reminded me of a village in the Bay Area that I visited long ago. Now I understand what the people who emigrated from Europe to US were trying to recreate.
But, first things first. I started from my hotel in Milan this morning – missed the train that I originally intended to take because I didn’t check my painstakingly collected information the previous night. Then proceeded to the station after having some breakfast. Sadly it wasn’t the same friendly guys at the reception as yesterday. The ones today couldn’t find all the gluten free things that I had yesterday. So I got just some rusk today. Better than nothing!
Reached the station, tried my hand at the first ticket machine that I saw and couldn’t find my destination listed. So I proceeded to the ticket counter. They charge about 1 Eur more per ticket as the fee! And I didn’t want to take a chance – so I booked both back and forth tickets. And then just a few steps ahead I found their self-service machines..the first one I had checked was not from the same train operator, hence no ticket! Mystery solved.
Alright then, I needed to change the train at the next station. I was deliberating whether I should go via the Metro there and then board the connection or just go as per the schedule. In hindsight, I should have gone via the metro. Yes, you guessed it right – I missed the connection – by 1 minute despite all the running, as the first train was late. But I was not the only one. An American family came huffing puffing behind me. Then we looked up the chart and found that the next connection would be 1 hour later. So we went our separate ways to pass the time. Suddenly while I was in a shop, I had the thought of going to the ticket counter to ask if the same ticket could be used or not. So I went there and found the younger members of the family also just right before me in the queue. The lady there told them that there was one more train that was leaving in 10 minutes and we could use the same ticket. We proceeded to that train.
That train also started about 6 minutes later than the scheduled departure. But no complaints there as it was still about 20 minutes before the one we were waiting for. After that, no further incidents and we reached the destination.
We parted ways once more and I walked towards my hotel. It was a hot sunny day. When I reached the hotel, they were cleaning the room (I was early). But they told me that I could leave my luggage. I was preparing for that (getting camera, putting away other unnecessary stuff..) but by then, they made the room ready before I left so I could even relax a bit in the room before starting.
The Cathedral of Como is beautiful – I haven’t seen one like it. It has a mix of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles as it was built over a long period of time. In general it is free to get inside the cathedral but they ask for a little donation like a Euro or two, and also give a pamphlet in a few languages – English, German, Italian.., explaining the church. That’s quite alright for the opportunity to learn about the church.
I reached the Piazza Cavour – the place from where the ferries start towards the other towns on Como lake. Bellagio being the hot favorite, everyone was buying the ticket to go there. It was a long queue and super hot day. I was sweating so much that I wondered if I was in the plains of India in peak summer. Finally got the ticket and had enough time to grab some lunch. Tried searching for an Italian restaurant which could serve gluten-free options but failed. Then found a small charming cafe. Had a nice salad there and moved on towards the harbor to catch the boat.
The boat journey was quite nice, albeit long. After taking tons of pictures, I gave up. But then doing nothing and getting a nice breeze made me feel so sleepy! But you know you just can’t sleep on a ferry like that in front of everyone!
Upon reaching Bellagio, I first checked what would be the way to return because the folks at the ticket counter in Como said something like they cannot issue a return ticket because they don’t know how full the return ferry could be. I found that there was a bus C30 that would take half the time and the ticket could be purchased at a bar (ya, I was surprised too). I took the ticket, noted the time and went to explore the place. Later I found that you could also pay directly to the bus driver instead of buying at the bar (but better safe than sorry as the frequency of the bus is once per hour!).
Found a church – San Giacomo. It was quite interesting from inside.
The shops had really nice things but I was in no mood for falling into the tourist trap. That doesn’t mean I didn’t do window shopping. Here’s a little glimpse. A shop selling glass ornaments made in Bellagio and Murano.
Upon reaching Como, I went back to the cafe from the afternoon and had a cappuccino as I had a terrible headache. Then refreshed, I went towards the last attraction that I wanted to finish. It was the Funicular connecting Comp to Brunate. I had seen it from the queue for buying the ferry ticket and wanted to be on it. It was nice. But when I reached, the sun was giving just the last colors to the sky. So it wasn’t so great for taking pictures. Doesn’t matter because I couldn’t find a good place to take pictures from anyway. Then after strolling a bit and taking a few pics, I returned to Como.
Until next post..Arrivederci!