Friday, September 17, 2010

Italy....fits like a glove.

Our first stop in Italy was Lake Como….this was not a place included in our original plan, but as we’re discovering, bit by bit, that plan is being turned upside down. I think we read about the lake in a guidebook somewhere and received some extra encouragement from fellow travelers, to visit there. We arrived after dark and so couldn’t really tell how beautiful it was until the morning. We pitched our tent alongside the lake at a very quaint campsite in a village called Dongo. In the morning, we woke to glorious sunshine and couldn’t wait to get out and enjoy it. We drove to the neighbouring village of Menaggio and wandered the streets, admiring the array of textures and colours that surrounded us. We carefully chose the restaurant for our first official meal in Italy and were drawn to a place which was obviously packed with locals….always a good sign. As we sat there savouring our homemade pasta, we were reminded of the simplicity yet outstanding quality of Italian food.

Lunch was followed by an afternoon of village hopping via ferry including a visit to the famous Bellagio where George Clooney lives. We weren’t that fussed about missing out on a sighting, but we definitely overheard some other ladies who were keen on hunting him down! Walking up and down the pebblestone stairwells of Bellagio and along the water’s edge was a treat in itself. It still felt so surreal that we were in Italy and surrounded by such beautiful homes, different shades of colour, just like the ones from all those Italian films. I imagined myself on the balcony, the old wooden shutters flung wide, gazing out over the ocean, onto the horizon. Oh how I could live here!! Tim thinks so too! There’s something about this place that makes you feel so at ease, like you really have no care in the world. And when a feeling like that arises, you never want to let it go. After tantalizing our taste buds at a local wine bar and indulging in some lemon gelato, we caught the ferry across to another Village called Varenna where we proceeded to engage in very similar activities that were such hard work….not!

We pretty much knew we would instantly fall in love with this country and everything it has to offer. The food is amazing….since arriving here, the smells of garlic, cheese and other culinary delights literally waft from restaurants and homes, surprisingly from significant distances away. We were on the ferry, at least 100 metres from the shore and our salivary glands kicked into gear, all due to the smell of garlic in the air. So it’s pretty obvious that we like authentic Italian food….just a little bit. There are other reasons we find this country so alluring, like the incredible fruit driven, smooth wine, which is really no surprise. The afternoon siesta, although a bit inconvenient for shopping, is such a great idea and I think working full time might just be a bit more tolerable if it incorporated an afternoon nap. The people here really know how to live life at a slower pace, which is very likely much better for your health than what we’re used to. I also have to give a plug for Tim who is a bit keen on Italian cars and motorbikes….we were planning to visit the Lamborghini or Ferrari factories in Modena, but for various reasons, we have no access to any tours. He is nonetheless impressed with Italy for producing top quality motor machines. Even though Tim may never own an Italian car (don’t tell him I told you), at least he can drive like an Italian….completely erratic and aggressive….or maybe a more positive slant is ‘assertive’. I am actually glad that he’s behind the wheel in this country….Italian drivers seem to be a little crazy. They appear to enjoy tailgating and travelling at least 20km over the speed limit as well as beeping you from behind if you decide you would like to obey the law. Parking is also an interesting activity….if there are no spaces, why not create them!? Blocking other cars doesn’t seem to bother anyone else! We have found though, that people are very polite and apologetic when they realize you can’t get out of the car park because of them and they quickly rectify the situation. I am speaking of course in general terms and purely for the purpose of amusement.

While I have just described Tim’s fettish for Italian motor vehicles, I have discovered that my growing fettish is for the Italian man, or maybe it’s just the two brothers who were running the campsite in Lake Como. I can’t help it if they were just too cute…..or maybe dreamy is the better word! Lol. You don’t have to worry though, I am completely satisfied with my own dreamy man and therefore won’t be taking this fettish any further.

In describing the many delights in Italy, we can probably say that we will be spending as much time here as possible, simply because everything about this culture resonates with us and we seem to fit in so well. All we need to do now, is grasp the beautiful and mesmerizing dialect….maybe words that go beyond decriptions of food.

Lake Como

A Bellagio Alleyway


Keeping the romance alive :P

Mmmm, the Italian man


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