Como was a regular road sign I was used to, making its debut as we first drove down from the Malpensa airport in Milan to Chiasso. Our taxi driver had pointed out Lake Como to me as we drove down to Chiasso, and had insisted we visit the lake. I had made a mental note of this, however would end up visiting the lake only 4 days later!
Como started marking a regular attendance, in the form of a big road sign, in Ponte Chiasso, where I’d often go for my meals. The first day of exploration had already introduced us to Como, as we had a scrumptious dinner there, famished as we were from the day trip, seeking castles and scaling mountains. Italy, I thought to myself, was made of piazzas, restaurants in the piazzas & waterfront pavement cafes. My first encounter with beautiful Como was after dark. Lake Como glistened in the city lights, surrounded by mountains. Different types of boats were docked and danced along as the evening breeze romanced the lake’s waters.
The first encounter was rather stagnant. It was just dinner at a restaurant next to an Armani boutique. The lasagna and tiramisu were delicious and I helped myself to some spaghetti as well.
The first week had commenced and it gobbled up the first three days in one gulp. Lake Como was introduced to me by a 24×7 super / convenience store! One day at dinner, I got talking to the crew at a diner and asked if there was any store open beyond 6 pm? Since everything in Switzerland shut off early. We were guided to Como, to a 24×7 superstore – Carrefour. The bus to Como left from Ponte Chiasso, a 5 minute walk from our workplace. A grocery list was prepared, now that we had a fully functional kitchen, and menus were discussed. I had no idea, what Como had in store for us…in daylight, that is.
The bus driver was a kind man and tried his best to guide me, as I stood in front talking to him. He told me to check out the lake before doing anything else and not worry about Carrefour as its a 24×7 store. “Grazie!”, I said as we got off. Twilight was soon upon us and I was not expecting to be taken aback by the beauty of Lake Como,due to the fading daylight, but “by George! – I was spellbound”. Walking briskly in the direction the bus driver had pointed out, and wanting to make the most of the daylight available, we passed Carrefour and a parking lot of sorts, to finally see the lake. The lake was a picture perfect set up.
What a marvelous view. It looked like a postcard. Surrounded by hills & mountains, sat this beautiful water body with a solitary swan swimming by. The wind created tiny waves that lapped up the edge. Steps leading towards the waters had gathered enormous amounts of moss. What I was looking at, however was not the entire water body. Lake Como is huge and the further you explore, the better it gets. Lake Como is of a glacial origin and you do get a glimpse of the snow-capped Alps and beautiful lakeside Villas as you explore further. If you are in Como, a visit to the towns of Varenna & Bellagio is a must. (Thank me later and do share your experience :))
What I encountered was only a part of Lake Como. Lake Como is big and has a unique three armed shape. This makes the lake look like an inverted “letter Y”. The waterfront housed some restaurants and a park. It also had a dock with different boats and ferries.
An hour away by train if you are visiting Milan and have time on your hands, Lake Como is part of Lombardy’s seductive lake district and plays a favourite to many travellers. Italy meets the Alps here, and its great for communing with nature.
The many lakeside villas will take you back in time to the aristocratic old days as they line up the lake, with beautiful mountains in the background and the water body busy with little ferries and tourists aplenty.
While some palaces are now converted into Hotels and Restaurants!
Lake Como will offer you the best mix of accessibility, scenery and a laid back attitude perfect to while away and savoring it to the fullest. Tourism is driven by the lake and the towns by its side.
Lake Como will compel you to toss your itinerary into it and relax and enjoy. It will help you in taking a break from the turnstile sightseeing of the more urban lands elsewhere in Italy.
Lake Como became an instant hit with us and its proximity to where we were based out of in Switzerland was an icing on the cake. Often times, we’d find ourselves by the lakeside sipping beverages made from barley ;). The townside had other things to offer as well. Multiple piazzas with pavement cafes and restaurants. It’s own cathedral (Duomo) and a shopping area. Couldn’t shop as the shops would close by the time we’d get there in the evening and weekends were reserved strictly for other explorations. Given a choice, I wouldn’t mind dedicating an entire weekend exploring the entirety of Lake Como along with the many lake side towns.
If you’ve been here let me know of your experiences. And if you are planning a trip, let me know if this helped you in any way! 🙂