Lake hopping in Italy

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After a panic-attack and losing most of my stomach I found myself sitting on a balcony as the sun set over a pristine lake surrounded by mountains in Italy. The panic attack was due to my alarm not going off and my waking up two hours late (4:15am instead of 2am) to catch various transport to reach the airport. This resulted in having to take a taxi from one side of London to the other just in time to catch my flight. Losing most of my stomach was due to being hungover – we’ve all got to travel once with a decent hangover right? Well I certainly achieved that. Ticked that off the list (never again). In my defense I’d played a really good final game of touch rugby the night before.

Menaggio, Lake Como, Italy.After a taxi, plane, two trains and two buses and decent recovery I left my hostel to stroll down to the lakeside town of Menaggio that sits near the center of Lake Como. I’d heard Lake Como was impressive a few years ago when I travelled through Cinque Terre in Italy. The great thing about travelling is getting recommendations like this from other like-minded travellers. Menaggio was a quaint little town with a beautiful lake front and paths that you can wander with a much needed gelato until your heart is content.

Menaggio, Lake Como

Menaggio, Lake Como, Italy.

Villa at Bellagio, Lake Como, Italy

Villa at Bellagio, Lake Como, Italy

90% recovered, the next day I opted to travel through five different towns by ferry across the Lake. My first stop was Bellagio (the Italy version, not the Las Vegas Hotel). It’s called ‘Pearl of the Lake’ and its no wonder. The ‘corner shop’ there isn’t you’re typical dairy (NZ) or tabacchi shop, its a jewellery shop. The lake front didn’t disappoint either, by having lovely flower gardens to please any tourist.

Villa at Bellagio, Lake Como, Italy

Villa at Bellagio, Lake Como, Italy

Villa at Bellagio, Lake Como, Italy

Next stop was further away to Lenno and an exhausting walk to Villa del Balbianello – famous for its gardens (very overrated) and the villa which featured in Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones (for those sci-fi geeks out there). The gardens were disappointing because of how small they were. It was much nicer seeing them the following day from the ferry as I travelled back to Como. However, I did have another lovely view to enjoy as I ate my Italian pizza overlooking the lake with little sail boats bobbing up and down in the port of Lenno.

Villa del Balbianello, Lenno, Lake Como, Italy.

Gardens at Villa del Balbianello, Lenno, Lake Como, Italy.

Villa del Balbianello, Lenno, Lake Como, Italy.

Villa del Balbianello, Lenno, Lake Como, Italy.

Tremezzo was next on the list, where more fancy villas were seen especially Villa Carlotta – which I wish I’d chosen to go into rather than visit the one in Lenno! Meandering around Tremezzo I found a large green park, granted it was a hot day, but absolutely everyone was in their swimsuit, or lack of swimsuit. I felt highly overdressed wandering through in shorts and a t-shirt!

Villa Carlotta, Lake Como, Italy

Villa Carlotta, Lake Como, Italy

Varenna was my final stop before heading back to Menaggio. A tiny town with lots of cute little walkways and shops hidden away (plus an excellent home-made icecream shop to boot!).

Varanna, Lake Como, Italy.

Varenna, Lake Como, Italy.

The lake hopping was a lovely was to spend a day. Exhausted and hot I returned to Menaggio to test out the lake waters, which resulted in my first European swim of the year even! As the sun began to set that evening I ate an incredible BBQ overlooking the lake and got some practice losing at table tennis with some fellow hostel people (who happened to all be Australian, as always).

My final stint on this long weekend resulted in a two hour relaxing scenic ferry trip through Lake Como to the town of Como where I caught the train back to Milan… but for that part of the adventure you’ll have to wait until next week!

P.S. Sorry this post has been a few weeks in the making. The sunshine has decided to come out in London and I’ve been trying to make the most of it while its around. Given the last few years, who knows when I’ll see it next!

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