Lake Como and Milan

Ok. For real this time.

I was distracted by some work I had to do for Barnard (shocking, right?). But now all is well.

So where was I? Right, Lake Como.

Now, this is not Lake Como the neighborhood in Orlando.

lake-como

Nor the elementary school where I went to gifted one day a week in 2nd grade.

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This is the Lake Como that was the basis of the Naboo lake country in Star Wars EpII where Padme and Anakin fall in lurv.

naboo

However, before we could enjoy its radiant beauty, The Team and I had to get there. It was supposed to be a simple 1 hour train ride. But as we all learned from EA!P1, there is no such thing as a simple train ride. First, the automatic ticket machine would only let us buy one ticket at a time. Then it wouldn’t take JP’s euros. Then it spit out tickets with this mysterious instruction to “Validate” before getting on the train. At that point, the train was about 2 minutes away from departing, so we ran like crazy, all the while frantically trying to determine how and where to “validate” the ticket. We got to the train and just decided to get on, throwing validation caution to the wind.

So a few minutes into the trip, Mr. Conductor comes through. When I give him my ticket, his brow furrows, and the following exchange occurs.

MR. CONDUCTOR: I am speaking in Italian, so you can only understand what I am saying from body language and context clues based on what you learned in that little pocket guide to Italian. I’m shaking my head and pointing to where it says Validate on the ticket.
ME: Yes, oops, about that…Also, I am not sure what you are saying.
MC: Kids these days. I shall now pull out a large notebook that contains the Naughty List. Babbo Natale will be hearing about this one.
ME: Mi dispiache?
MC: Here is a carbon copy of your Naughty List entry. Now give me 5 euro each. Which is the fine. For not validating your tickets. Even though you bought them from a machine that seems like it would dispense immediately usable tickets.
THE TEAM: (pays).
MC: Now, don’t you ever not validate your ticket again. This is a horrible crime. You could be fined 50 euros! Though there seems to be a hole in my logic because I did not take any identifying information from you that would in anyway lead to a record of this offense. Now I shall say something probably at your expense to the Italian lady sitting next to you and be on my way. Ciao!

And then we almost missed our stop because I didn’t see the sign and The Team was sleeping. Save for a little Italian lady who probably asked me how many more stops to Chiasso (the only word she said that I recognized), we would’ve ended up in Switzerland (this we didn’t learn until later, upon consultation of a map). So we lept off the train at the last moment.

After a bit of wandering, we found some food, an ATM, the Tourist Information (my new best friend) and, most importantly, THE LAKE.

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Lake Como is shaped kind of like an upside down “Y,” and Como is the city at the bottom of the left “/” We took a bus along up to Belaggio, which is the town where the “/” and the “\” parts of the lake meet. More or less.

On the bus, I had to stand at first because there were no seats, but then I kept standing because it was kinda fun to hang my head out the window and take pictures during the hour long drive along windy narrow cliffside roads.

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Dogs: You are definitely onto something with this head out the window of a moving vehicle idea. We should talk.

From Belaggio, we took a short ferry across to Varenna.

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And climbed that GIANT hill of hugeness. At the top, we found both a castle and stunning vistas.

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It was truly incredible. The Team and I marveled at the fact that we were just chillin on top of a hill in the middle of Lake Como in Italy. I had lots of “OH EM GEE REMEMBER HOW I’M IN ITALY RIGHT NOW??” moments during the trip. Also, after we saw the little tiny village at the top of the hill, with the three old ladies on the bench chatting up a storm in Italian, and heard various churchbells from all of the mountains chime 6’oclock, I tried to explain “life romantic” to The Team. It was a life-romance-explosion.

We had a bit of gratuitous sleeping in the next day, due to post Lake Como exhaustion, and got a late start in Milan. Still, I managed to summon the strength to climb on top of Il Duomo.

And that was pretty cool.

Milan was interesting. It wasn’t my favorite city of the trip; it’s a lot more like a commercial/business center for Italy rather than a tourist havin, but I was glad we went.

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