Lake Como is so amazingly beautiful.
When we first arrived, we were a little confused about where exactly our hostel was. We found a misleading sign which said our hostel was 50 meters away. 200 meters later, we popped into a nearby bar to ask for directions. Luckily for us, it turns out we had already found the place! Our cute little room, just above the bar and restaurant below, is about five minutes away from the water and seemed like the perfect place to lay our heads for a couple nights.
After dropping our bags, we wandered down to the water where we were able to window shop, watch the local fishermen and eventually grab some dinner. We ended up making it an early night and watched a movie (well, at least the first part) before falling asleep.
The next morning we woke up ready to explore the lake. After speaking with a very helpful woman at the information center, we felt as if we knew the area like the back of our hands. In fact, we're considering our futures as tour guides to Lake Como. Anyone interested?
Our first adventure of the day was a boat ride to Bellagio. We arrived at Bellagio in the early afternoon and explored the steep and winding streets that lead through shop after shop. We stopped for a bit for lunch inside a cute little restaurant, with servers full of jokes (not surprising at this point). Heidi and I both had ham, cheese and lettuce wraps grilled in flat bread – we both agree, delicious! We hopped back on a boat to Varenna and started to feel a little sleepy. We figured that we needed to get out and do something active or we were headed to laying around and doing nothing all day long.
We used the information that the tourist center had given us earlier and headed up the mountain to the medieval city and castle above Varenna. The hike was quite steep, but beautiful, and even more so when we topped it off with popsicles. While up there, Heidi and I wondered just how long we would have to wait before someone would come find us. We figured we could live on popsicles and hide in the growth around the castle at least until we missed our plane. Don't worry mom, we decided to come down...
On our way back to our hostel after the hike we stopped by a store and bought bread, cheese and wine. We sat in the room for a while, sharing with each other our short and long term goals (really, I'm not joking) and then went downstairs and played cards while drinking our wine. I taught Heidi a card game that Eric and I had learned in Ecuador. Although it has an alias, the more appropriate name is “Loser Face.” Heidi picked up on the game quickly (except for those sevens) and by the time we made it to dinner we were tied, though I'm hoping to show her who's boss (And we all know, I'M THE BOSS) next time we play.
This morning we woke up early to hike around the hills of Lake Como a little more. We headed back up the castle and then walked to the next town. We ended up splitting up for a little while, Heidi hiking further and me enjoying the views of the city and the mountain. As I waited for Heidi to return, several people approached me and started talking to me in Italian. Heidi and I have decided this is because the tanner I get, the more I look like a local. This might be, but I am sure they realize the truth once I return their questions with blank stares and “I don't speak Italian” sometimes in Spanish and sometimes in English.
After our hike, it was time to leave stunning Lake Como. Since we had several days left, and only question marks in our itinerary, Heidi and I decided to head back to Monterosso for more hiking, more time on the beach and, of course, more Fast Bar. On our way, we missed one train, caught two and met a family in the meantime. Leslie, Shane and Conner were a blended American family vacationing in Italy. Leslie and Shane were adorable, interesting to talk to and seemed very much in love. Conner, Shane's 16 year old son gave me some great pointers on how to improve my blog, from branding to advertisement. Good looking out, Conner! The train ride became even more interesting when our car (and only our car) filled with smoke. It must not have been anything major, because after a few panicky looks we started up and again and the smoke finally cleared out. We arrived in Monterosso in the evening and checked into our little apartment on Via Roma. Yes, that's right – Apartment! Really, it's more like a tiny studio but it still manages to squeeze in two beds, a bathroom and even a kitchen. Not to mention that when I hesitated at 70 euro a night we were quickly offered 50. Far and away, the best part of our Italian apartment is the proximity to Fast Bar; you can literally throw a rock from our front door to theirs. I wasn't sure we wanted to take the apartment (we had previously had a bad experience with a drunk, apartment wielding woman with a dog) so in a moment of panic I said my name was Stephanie. What?! I'm not sure what happened, but I do know this was a total Alicia moment. We're crossing our fingers that one passport will be enough to check into the room and for the rest of our time here Heidi is required to call me Steph.