Thursday, May 26, 2011

Report from Bellagio

(click on image to enlarge)

Lake Como
Watercolour postcard triptych
©2000 Charlene Brown

On May 27, 2000, we visited San Gimignano, a pretty little Medieval village between Florence and Siena, where they claim to have invented skyscrapers eight hundred years ago – and there they all are, still standing! The stonework and architecture are really wonderful to look at, but an amazing number of people seemed to have found out about the place since I’d first seen it in 1988 – we had to deal with an awful lot of world class competitive parking professionals.
Our next destination was supposed to be the Ligurian Coast – Cinque Terre villages and Portofino, then on to the Toulouse area, via the Riviera. Here is what happened instead…
Somehow we missed the Pisa exit from the autostrada, and I was still looking for it when I realized we were a third of the way to Bologna – non-stop viaducts and tunnels and, as far as I know, no turning back (remember these were the dark days before translation-apps). By the time we got to Bologna, then west to Parma where we were going to turn south to get back to the coast, I had remembered that the best parts of the Cinque Terre are only accessible by rail and that driving to Portofino might now be about like Sorrento (well no, nothing could be that bad!) and we decided to go to Lake Como instead.
We picked Bellagio as it looked nicely situated at the north point of the peninsula between the two branches of the lake. Eventually, after a short drive straight up from Bellagio, we found the ultimate apartment, with a 180-degree view of about 15 villages along the shore and up the cliffs, backed by the snow-capped peaks of the Swiss border surrounding the north end of the lake.  It took me these three postcards to fit in the whole panorama!