A Place I Could Call Home
Lake Como, Italy
August 29 – September 2, 2014
There is no place like Lake Como, Italy. Driving away this morning, my chest felt heavy and I couldn’t breathe. You know that feeling you get when someone breaks your heart, that’s how I felt driving away from Lezenno this morning. I hadn’t felt this way in such a long time… about anyone, yet alone a place! I was devastated and torn. I knew I had to continue my journey to Cinque Terre but something wasn’t right. Me on that bus wasn’t right. My heart… was it broken? Or did I leave it behind?
As I was sitting on the bus heading to Como to catch the intercity train back to Milan, listening to Taken by Siren …”I’m one heartbeat from missing you again …” it hit me – I wasn’t ready to leave! I wasn’t ready to leave Lake Como, I wasn’t ready to leave Lezzeno! I thought about being on the boat, the wind in my hair, watching others wakeboard, Davide in the driver’s seat, Luca doing back flips, extravagant villas along the coastline, I just couldn’t go. I immediately asked the bus driver to let me off at the next stop and then woman up front asked, “did you forget something?” I said, “No, I’m just not ready to leave yet.” She smiled and applauded my decision to follow my heart. I was filled with excitement to head back to Lezzeno, to Hotel Aurora, to the nice Italians I’ve met the past four days… Davide, Margherita, Piero, Christina, Patty, Dario… to the small town where wake boarders come to ride and where everyone seemed like family. It was like a movie… Me running back for love or at least to a place I could one day call home.
After a long week of traveling from coast to coast in the U.S. for work (literally one 6 flights in 5 days, I arrived in Lake Como, Italy on Friday, August 29th. Surprisingly, the trip from Milan Linate to Como S. Giovanni was quite simple. Not knowing where to go once I got off the plane, I just followed the signs to take the 5 euro bus to Milan Centrale. From Milan Centrale the train ride was 30 mins to Lake Como and cost me only 4.55 Euros. Once I arrived in Como, I walked to the center of town without a map and jumped on the ferry to Lezzeno. The high speed ride cost me about 14.50 euros and only took about 30 mins. Once in Lezzeno, I had no idea where to go but figured my hotel had to be somewhere down the road.
When I arrived at Hotel Aurora, vacation mode officially began. I hadn’t slept in 48 hours literally but I managed to go paddle boarding and wakeboarding!!! Davide (my wakeboard instructor) was even kind enough to invite me along with a group of German guy who were all amazing at wakeboarding! Then, it was my turn and just the thought of being on a wakeboarding boat in Lake Como was like a dream come true…. even moreso than being in Greece around this time last year. Me… Wakeboarding…. In Italy!!! Lake Como?!?! What did I do to deserve this? I thought I was on the top of my world last year in Mykonos, but I outdid myself this time. I guess hard work does pay off. Lake Como is known for being such a prestigious lake where the wealthy come to vacation. Apparently, George Clooney has a villa here and Davide has taught him as well! But I think it’s also a lake for those who just love being outdoors.
Wakeboarding on the lake was unbelievable, it was a dream come true really. I boarded in front of the historic Villa de Balbianello, also where they filmed Star Wars, and watched world champion pros do back flips across the wake. I think this may even top my infinity pool cabana experience in Mykonos, Greece. The following morning I went wakeboarding again and then I took the ferry to visit the Villa de Babianello grounds in Lenno, which was so beautiful and stunning. It was simple yet extravagantly elegant and well manicured. Afterwards I took the hop on/off ferry to Menaggio and then to Varenna. Varenna was quite charming but I didn’t get to stay long. I only had 40 mins then had to catch the last ferry to Bellaggio.
Bellaggio was my favorite (2nd to Lezzeno) lake town. It was the quite the lovely town with lots of shops and lake side restaurants. If you walk up one of the long stairways through a narrow alley, you’ll find a path lined with endless shops selling leather bags and fine silk. I bought a classic silk scarf from a shop off the main lakeside promenade for 25 Euros. I also enjoyed a traditional Italian Lake Como dish – Taglioini with Lake Fish Sauce at Hotel Florence’s outdoor lake side terrace.
Sunday morning I woke up at the crack of dawn and was the first one to wakeboard. The water was pure glass and unbelievable! I could see my reflection and the reflection of the villas! Unfortunately, I had a hard fall and blow to my head which pretty much put me out for the rest of the afternoon. After sleeping and not doing much other than resting, the headache and fuzziness passed and I spent my evening on the water. Paddle boarding in front of the church tower and city of Lezzeno was breathtaking, I had to take a moment to take it all in. I even tried wake surfing with Davide and the Germans and ended my night having dinner with them.
I’ve enjoyed my time so much here at Hotel Aurora that I decided to extend my stay – at first, just one night, then two when I couldn’t leave this morning! I guess things do happen for a reason. I originally had two nights booked in Milan through airbnb (my first time using it) but then due to some circumstance on the renters part, he had to cancel leaving me homeless in Milan. It worked out perfectly though because I wanted more time here on Lake Como. I’m skipping a Milan altogether as people have said Milan is just another city and I’d be better off spending my time elsewhere. Tomorrow, I must head to Cinque Terre… That’s if I can pull myself away from this little gem, Lezzeno.