This was one of our lousiest vacations ever! It rained when we reached Bellagio, it rained for the next 2 days and it was bright and sunny on the day we left. If I could go back in time, I would ve broken a sadhir thengai at the nearby Pillayaar temple before we left. (Yes, Amma. I should nt have left at raahu kaalam, I know!)
Let me start at the beginning. Como is around 3 1/2 drive from Zurich. We reached in EIGHT hours. First, we missed a road because there was some road work going on and it was confusing. Had to go 15 kms to just take an U turn. Then just before the Gothard Tunnel(the 17 km, 3rd longest tunnel in the world), the traffic built up and we like smart cookies took an exit to go via another town. But due to snow, every pass was closed. Add another 2 hours for this. We had lunch at a cosy joint and joined the Gothard traffic again. Miraculously, there was no jam and we just zoomed past. I was driving by this time and once we entered Italy and people started changing lanes without indicators, I said no way and asked Hd to drive. If we are going to die, let it be in his hands. Then we drove in those winding narrow roads, reached Cadennabia and took the car ferry (12 euros! akramam!) to reach Bellagio. We drove in the cobble stoned narrow roads and reached our apartment hotel. Hd dropped us and found a parking spot nearby to park the car. We saw the car again only when we left Bellagio on the 4th day.
Bellagio is the prettiest place ever. It is situated at the tip separating the Y shaped Lake Como. Looks like we are entering the middle ages when we enter Bellagio. Steps and slopes everywhere. Not exactly stroller friendly. But one can manage. There was a Gelateria right opposite our hotel where I had the most amazing french vanilla and pistachio Gelato for dinner! The next day, it was cloudy and gloomy and so cold! Good we all had taken our jackets and woollens. Actually, the kids had them. Hd and I were shivering in our spring jackets. We left for Villa Menzi. A leisurely walk in the gardens. It was nice. We got back to the center again, had a late lunch in a lovely restaurant, ran back to the hotel in the rain. Passed the day by eating more gelato, watching Chicken Little movie in Italian.
On Sunday it rained non stop. But we said enough is enough, covered antus stroller with the rain cover, ashu was all hooded up, Hd too. I held an umbrella and we walked to the ferry point, bought tickets for Lenno to visit Villa Balbianello. We got down in Lenno and was told that it was a 5 mins walk to the villa. Happily, we walked in the rain in the direction of the villa only to be told that its only the entry point and we ve to walk 20 mins uphill from there to reach the entrance. There was a water taxi stand but there was nobody there and we were nt sure what to do. So we walked uphill. Antu slept off in her stroller and poor Hd pushed the stroller and walked. Ashu was all wet and tired and hungry and cranky but poor thing did nt complain much. We reached the entrance after 30 mins. I knew there was a compulsory guided tour for the villa but only if there were enough people. But thankfully, there were other idiots like us waiting in the villa. We bought the tickets. We were told that there was a tour at 12.25 and we can see the gardens until then. While Hd and Antu stood under a shade, Ashu and I went to explore. The views are just breathtaking. The garden is beautiful. The villas location is just out of the world. But the rain ruined everything for us! Hd remarked as soon as we entered the gardens that he thought the last scene in Casino Royale was shot here. I had no idea. But the guided tour later confirmed that fact! whaddayaknow? I should ask James Bond to tell my husband to buy milk the next time! May be he ll remember then! After a wonderful tour of the villa, we wisely took a water taxi right from the garden(10 euros but we did nt care this time!) to Lenno(5 mins boat ride) and then from there a ferry back to Bellagio. Hd bought some pizza and we ate in our room because Ashu said she did nt want to go anywhere anymore! We ate more Gelato and watched Toy Story 2 , Stuart Little 1 and Stuart Little 2. All in Italian.
The next day was bright and sunny. But we had to leave. We took the car ferry back to Cadennabia and since Villa Carlotta was just few minutes away, we drove there. But there was not one parking spot for miles. We should ve come by the ferry to visit the villa, gone back and then should have drove our car. But we made a mistake. So waved to the villa from the outside, ate lunch in a very lousy restaurant in the middle of nowhere and drove back to Zurich. We reached in four hours. Hd is confident that we ll go back to visit Como in Summer. But I think Ashu is scarred for life. I asked her what was her favorite thing about the trip and she said, "nothing, amma"! And this is the girl who loves going on trips. Antu clearly is happy to be home too because yesterday I was taking the girls to the park in the evening and was getting ready and Antu said, "bye amma" and closed the door on me. She was still inside! As for me, I ll go back for sure. Its worth it just for the cassata flavored Gelato! :)