Ending my Summer in Lake Como, Italy


Lago di Como, Italy

September 4 – 14, 2015

When I lived in LA, I typically jumped on my white Electra Beach Cruiser and biked to the beach every time I needed to press my rest button. Since I moved to New York, I have developed a little more expensive habit of flying across the Atlantic to Lake Como in order to press that same reset button. I don’t know what it is but for some reason being on Lake Como helps rejuvenate my soul and reminds me to reflect on what it is I want in this life.

Lezzeno, Italy is a small town on Lake Como and the only place in the world I have visited that has made me want to come back – even if it means not going to other places on my world travel hit list like Portugal, Iceland, Thailand, New Zealand, the list goes on! It’s not just the place, it’s the people who are genuine and kind, the community who supports one another, the friendships I have made, and the relationships I have built.

When I’m back in New York, I can’t stand being still. I’m always on the go either flying from one coast to the other or swamped past normal working hours in the office. I get antsy if I’m not doing anything, upset if I sleep in, and annoyed if I’m not productive on the weekend. However, in Lezzeno, I can let myself sleep in until noon for a day only to lay on the sundeck and do nothing. As the afternoon passes, I may get on a paddle board or wakeboard to get my energy going but it all depends on what I feel like doing and NOT what I feel like I am supposed to be doing.

My trip back to my ‘home away from home’ this past September was an awesome way to close out my European Summer – I had spent 5 weeks traveling across Europe in June. This was the 3rd time this year visiting Lake Como and, although injured, I managed to land my 360 and brought back a legit marble-based trophy from the 2015 Wakeboard Tour di Lario.

The first couple days I spent on the water, along with a morning trip to Bellagio on Saturday. I was supposed to go to Varenna Sunday but the moment I saw the glassy water I decided to stay in Lezzeno – it turned out to be one of my favorite days! I spent my day drinking aperol spritzs, boating, reading, and writing. The restaurant was busy so there were plenty of people visiting by boat, Devid and Simone were working so I just hung out with them most of the day on the sun deck. Despite my knee injury, I decided to go wakeboarding… well, I had to because September 6th was an especially rough day emotionally and I knew wakeboarding would bring an instant smile not only to my face but also to my entire being… and it did.

Monday, I went to Switzerland, and on Tuesday, I made it back to Varenna, another stunningly beautiful lakeside town straight out of a fairytale! Varenna is the home of two famous villas – Villa Monastero and Villa Cipressi. After having lunch in Villa Cipressi overlooking the gardens, I returned to Lezzeno just in time to tag along with a few of the young pro wakeboarders during their training session. The remainder of my week was pretty chill since I couldn’t do much because of my injured leg. At first I was a little frustrated but after accepting that every step I took hurt and that I couldn’t go hiking, I embraced doing nothing during the day for the first time and spent my nights having dinner in the bar with Devid, Cristina, Margherita, or Piero. My days ending up being quite relaxing, calming, and rejuvenating. They were restful and I should be doing more of it!

While majority of my days were spent hanging out on the sun deck and going out on boat rides, I will have to admit that I went wakeboarding more than once…. but still not as much as I would have if I hadn’t been injured. The inspiration to ‘just do it’ was ignited by going on a boat ride with a nice family from England. The husband is a famous motorcycle racer, Leon Haslam, and his wife Oli was super sweet along with their two kids who were absolutely adorable! As I watched Leon attempt back flips, I couldn’t help but think about being on the water wakeboarding. I had to do it! So I did. I guess that’s the best thing about being an adult – you can do whatever you want. You can go wherever you want. The world is your oyster! I also saw Max and his family again as well. I believe they live in Switzerland but spend their summers on the lake – quite the life. It is comforting to see friendly familiar faces when you travel, it really makes you feel like you are apart of the community.

A lot of my friends and family have seen my photos from Lake Como and I only hope to share my special place with all of them one day, perhaps on my wedding day. I was fortunate that two of my friends who now live in Prague came to visit. They arrived Thursday evening and we had dinner at Ristorante Aurora. I wore my long blue dress that night and may have turned a few heads, one in particular. I don’t really dress up on the lake but this was the perfect and rare opportunity! Plus, my Italian isn’t that good (although I am taking lessons now), so being able to have a full conversation in English was refreshing. Friday was another relaxing and chill day. I took them to Bellagio and we had lunch at Ristorante Barchetta, recommended by the two New Yorkers I had met during my last trip in May.

Fast forward to Saturday, the day of the competition – one of the main reasons why I returned to Lake Como this past September. After waiting a few hours for the multiple categories to compete, my turn was finally up! I was even more nervous this time because of my knee injury but excited to be competing. I competed in the first competition of the Tour di Lario held in Lecco earlier in the summer and this was the finals! Although I placed 1st in the first competition, I placed 2nd in the finals which is pretty good considering the last time I wakeboarded was in May, I didn’t have the summer to practice like the others, and I was injured! I didn’t go crazy but I was successful at completing my 360 at the end of my competition ride – my fist may have gone up as soon as I landed it too :).

Afterwards, I ran up with excitement to see if my wakeboarding dad Piero saw – he did! He was so proud. It was a small accomplishment in the scheme of wakeboarding but a big one for me personally. My injuries this year have been one after another and its felt like a constant battle to get my body back into a working condition, yet alone back into shape. So landing my 360 despite all of my injuries was a huge accomplishment! It reminded me of the greatness I am capable of and not to let anything (including my injuries) get in the way. Life throws us curve balls but we just need to keep powering through them.

That evening, we also celebrated Stefano’s anniversary of winning the World Championship 20 years ago. It was a fun night with both my Italian friends and Kiwi friends from Prague. While lived music played, we danced, drank beer and aperol spritz’s, and I even had an Italian fairy tale kiss. Ok, it wasn’t really a fairy tale but there was something magical about it. Alongside the lake, looking at the lights glistening across the water, it reminded me of my very first kiss at Disneyland. Until the next time Lago di Como….

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