Sitting high in Northern Italy are two absolutely wonderful scenic gems – Lake Garda and Lake Como. There are a few other lakes but the past week we have explored just one small part of Lake Garda and spent more time in Lake Como.
Lake Garda was a very short stay of two nights at Agritourism Al Lambic at Tignale on the north western side of the lake. We heard about it from a lady at Frame and she was correct in its description and had the most superb restaurant for miles around. Unfortunately, they also had even better wines and rose’ in particular was our choice of destruction. Our first major celebration since we left home. A nice place to rest while nursing a slight hangover and to catch up on the washing of the smalls.
The front of the B & B. We had the room on the top floor, the last two windows.
This is the view from the bathroom window. On the right, the bedroom ceiling.
The view was spectacular from every window. The smell of horses was wafting through. Gotta love the smell of horses on a breezy day – takes one back to being a kid on the farm.
It was a lovely old building. The first part was built in 1400 and then the front section was added in the 1700’s. All made of brick and very thick walls to keep it cool in summer and warm in winter. The upstairs floor to our room had the centre walked away over years of feet traffic. Next door was the horse stables and it has been converted into apartments. One of the family still live in the little villa that joins it. It seems the whole family still live in the big house and help out with the B & B.
Mumma was wandering around snipping off the odd dead rose and replanting pots as she wished. The roses were magnificent. Sometimes 12 buds on one stem and the size of grapefruits. Wish I could grow them at home like this – just stunning.
They still make Gruppa just next to the restaurant. It is still distilled the old fashioned way and tasted to us like ‘rocket fuel’, but people were coming to buy it while we were there.
This is the garden where dinner is served. All sorts of interesting people popped in. A couple of girls who were into bushwalking from Amsterdam. A fantastic spot for walking.
A couple from Germany Frank and Elizabeth with little girl Merlina were just delightful.
A couple who were walking past and needed a nightcap popped in to say hello.
Ella found a swimming pool just down the street, so she was occupied and cool. Spent some time down there with some other kids.
From Lake Garda we drove to Lake Como to meet Louise for a few days and to stay in a renovated horse barn in one of the villages – Menaggio. Menaggio was a lucky choice for all sorts of reasons and only happened by chance, much the same as all the places we have stayed. It is a bustling village with loads of restaurants and bars selling great expresso, nice clothes shops and everything else you need. Just on a side of a steep hill, so narrow cobblestone roads and mad people of vespa’s are everywhere. But it is Italy and just wonderful.
The Horse Barn was delightful and we all just loved Menaggio. On three floors, the kitchen, dining, lounge in the centre, Ella and Louise bedroom on the top and Alby and I partially underground. Big thick walls so very cool and freshly painted and easy to relax in. It was about 350m to the edge of the lake or the hub of the restaurants and shops. It was also on a steep slope which meant that you had well and truly walked off dinner by the time we got home. Luckily there was the odd cat to say hello to while we had a breather.
We did the Villa cruise around the lake which was very nice and relaxing as we cruised past all the magnificent villas right on the waters edge. There are loads of them and one would think they were mega expensive, but you would be surprised. Sure the full houses on the waterfront would be different because of the land content, but a two bedroom apartment close to the waters edge with a terrace/patio in the sun was about 160K euro. Not too bad really considering how beautiful the place is.
Captain Louise gave Alby and I our birthday present early which was this hired boat on the Lake for the day. She was a very abled captain, and so she would be after 9 years on boats in the Mediterranean. We then were able to cruise more closely to the villas for a better ganda. Then pulled the boat up for lunch at a fantastic restaurant (as you do in Lake Como) and then off for another speed past some more homes and then home.
|Richard Branson’s Lake Como house|
George’s house is quite nice but Richard Branson really takes the cake. It is spread out on quite alot of lake front and impeccably tidy and well manicured. There is a guest house just out of this photo which would do me just fine as a home. Anything on this lake would be great as a holiday home for summer. Winter would be a bit dead and snowy we think.
All in all a fantastic day and when we are home and in need of a holiday memory, this day will be up there amongst the best.
|What happened to my toddler???|
Como is actually very relaxing and we spent quite a few days taking it easy, walking through the markets and just hanging out. Found some lovely restaurants with views of the lake and the food was superb. Alot of fish that they catch in the Lake. The other little villages of Bellagio and Veranna (i think it is called) were our favourites. Quaint and neat easy to wander through the shops in case there are some treasures to be had.
From here we move onto Genoa on the coast. See you in downtown Genoa…