For the love of Lake Como

We take advantage of the strong wi fi connection which has been so hit and miss in some countries and book our accommodation for the next week ahead. Feeling a little more organised we begin to make tracks for Italy. Before we do though, we drive to the Lion Monument (or the Lion of Lucerne) for a quick look as we missed this on our adventures yesterday.

Once we knock this off our list we head through the Swiss Alps to Lake Como.

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Oh my gosh, we are heading for Lake Como (Insert: Squeal). The drive is seriously incredible, by far the most scenic leg we have driven so far, the mountains, lakes and waterfalls make it the best stretch of road that I have ever seen.

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It’s as though we are driving through one big art gallery and our surroundings are pictures hung on the walls. The water is gushing from the top of the mountain peaks as the snow melts and it feels like we are on top of the clouds.

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What a special piece of nature these mountains are, everything about them is picturesque.

We drive into the Italian part of Switzerland, via the motorway that cuts through small towns, the eloquent homes with the uneven terra-cotta roofs all have smoke exiting the chimney to cater for the cold weather.

Hard to believe that we left 28 degree heat less than half an hour ago, it’s similar to the temperature drop that occurs once you hit Ballan en route to Ballarat from Melbourne ~ all of a sudden the heater and wipers go on. We embrace the crispness and the views knowing that it won’t be long before we reach the beauty of Lake Como.

I should let you know that chocolate we bought from Lindt, umm well, yep.. it’s almost gone!

We arrive at Como, crossing over the Italian border of Switzerland and Italy and head straight for the lake. I can see Anton’s eyes start to glow as he reaches his parents homeland, (there is something so satisfying about landing on the home turf of your parents), automatically the connection can be felt. It brought me back to the first time I landed in Northern Ireland with my mum and Cyprus with my dad, it’s a soft, subtle tickle to the heart.

Ok bringing you back to Lake Como ~ I’ve heard lots of rave reviews about this place, both written and from those we know who have visited here.

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It’s a well known destination for the rich and famous, I wonder whether George Clooney still wants us to pop in for a vino..

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We walk to the lake, it must be siesta time as couples and elderly lay resting on park benches and by the lakes edge enjoying the early signs of the European summer.

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The lake is stunning and the water as still as glass, I wish I had photos to give this lake the credit it deserves. The Swiss Alps surround our horizon and each mansion built all the way up the slope has it’s own view over the lake.

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While in Italy, I guess we should eat pizza, pasta, tomato and onion salad and drink home made vino rosso from jars or spritz from a long stemmed glass.

We stop by an eatery at the lakes edge and take in our magical surroundings with a spritz and a margarita pizza (the first of many). I’m still dying for this home made salad and have some hope that my craving will be satisfied here. It’s about a 7.5/10 so I’m pretty happy. I know the 10 will be the one I make as soon as I get home!!

We have time to walk around the city of Como and admire the class and sophistication this place offers.

Continuing onto Milan or Milano as the Italians say, I’m beside myself with excitement to be at the fashion capital of the world. I’ve been saving my pennies since day dot to do nothing but treat myself – Geezzz I can’t wait to do that!!

We make our way into the city, at first glimpse it appears, old, run down and somewhat neglected. It’s reasonably early, about 1pm, sex workers parade the main road and at every set of lights a beggar, either on crutches, without a limb or older and fragile.

Unexpectedly we arrive at the San Siro stadium – the home of AC Milan but if you’re an Inter Milan supporter- the Stadio Guiseppe Meazzaand. We feel the urge to go into the grounds for a sticky. We got ourselves into the stadium and had a tour of the grounds, change rooms and the media centre.

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Anton sat in the seats of AC Milan legends Franco Baresi and Paulo Maldini and imagines himself getting ready for a major match like these superstars did. Would I be a WAG then?

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Both of the change rooms are very different in their presentation and layout, the AC change room has individual, allocated leather seats, similar to those of a luxury motor car. While Inter Milan just have benches with no allocated seating as the team ethos is for players to mingle and interact as they please.

As we drive into Milano centre to our hotel, we notice we haven’t had any striking signs of Tom’s presence like we had earlier in the trip. By this stage, Tom was planning on heading off doing a tour with a travel group. I wonder if he is doing just that now.

We eventually get to our hotel, it’s central and a bit flash, Italian style flash, looks similar to a hotel you would expect Franco Cozzo to style. The difficulty for us has been requesting the extra amenities: car park, wi if and breakfast are all a must in our searches and this dramatically narrows the options. Of course booking this last leg so late hasn’t helped either.

Rick Steves and trip advisor have been put to serious use on this holiday. Our hotel is called hotel Vittoria a four star hotel in a brilliant location. Rooms are small but not as small as we were expecting from reading reviews. There isn’t enough room to swing a cat but really, who needs to swing a cat in a hotel?

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We settle in and manage to score an Italian adaptor from the concierge, it’s just “on loan” -note to self: must remember to give this back when we leave but might just accidentally forget too (adaptors have been like trying to find gold).

We take a yonder around the streets, close to where we are staying and learn that Milan’s specialty is risotto and cotoletta. Each region of Italy is famously known for it’s own cuisine and the concierge recommends a cosy, traditional restaurant to enjoy a big plate of risotto.

The meal is yum just like a home cooked one, reminds me of my mother in laws cooking, she is one hell of an Italian cook.

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It is when we stroll our surroundings that we learn Milan’s style is all it’s talked up to be, there is not a crease to be seen on any of the materials worn by the clean cut locals.

Regardless of age, the men and women are flawless, the long thick luscious locks (men and women) flow around their chiseled tanned faces and their pearly whites are blinding, they have perfect bods to match the look too.

The men look most dapper in white or navy suits, with pocket squares and shirt buttons undone to mid chest. The women equally exclusive, dresses and stilettos appear to be part of the everyday wear. How expensive the up keep would be to stay on trend in this city. The people watching doesn’t cost us a cent though.

We find ourselves stopping by some of Milan’s bars for a few nightcaps. I was intrigued to see why Nottingham Forest Cocktail Bar was rated as one of the 50 best bars in the world.

The ambience and drinks menu alone is worthy of the award. It’s pretty cool to get an accessory with a cocktail; I nabbed a lipstick with one of my drinks. Off we roll home on a balmy night ready for a fun day exploring Milan tomorrow.. X

Anna Owens is the founder of ownsit! A mama working in Community Development and Partnerships Education. Anna is a colour crazy, creativity enthusiast who loves to design, collect shoes, eat & travel.. x

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