Thursday, 29 November 2007
Last day today and we are taking things very easy, do the packing, and homeward bound tomorrow. Back to normality.
Not quite an easy day. Arni was not feeling too well today, so I decided to go for a walk. I walked upwards as far as I dare. The roads are very bendy, the corners only have railings, and they are not very high. I stopped and turned round when the railings ran out, not risking it. On the way back to the house, I didn’t know whether to return to the house, or be brave enough to take a ferry ride on my own!!!! So I walked back down to the village, sat and pondered. The ferry arrived and I thought what the hell. Sent Arni a text. Yes I did it. Only went as far as Bellagio, time for a coffee, and returned. Walked back to the house to find Arni asleep on the sofa, all wrapped up. Luckily he was ok for the flight home.
Sunday, 25 November 2007
Well our trip is nearly over but today we went to MONZA. The home of Italian F1. Monza town itself is not very nice; it is covered in graffiti and looks a bit shabby. The circuit is set inside Parco di Monza, which is a wonderful setting. And luckily we were able to go inside to the pit lane and onto the pit wall. There was a testing session for some other cars. I managed to get some photos of the grid start, the pit lane, and the Podium. It felt strange for Arni to be there other than for a race!!!
I went out on my own this morning. First of all I went to church, and then to the Panificio, to get some bread…it was just by chance that I found out that it was open. I didn’t want to go back to apartment yet, so I sat in the square, had a fanta and a piadina. The place was packed, everyone drinking wine and eating, chattering. Sundays must be a very special day for them, not like at home, where it is DIY and shopping and catching up with chores. We have got it all wrong. The cafes on the square would not work though…Arni and I were talking about it last night. Well for a start we don’t have the weather or the views!!!
The Café Colombo has “Happy Hour” which starts at 6 pm everyday except Mondays, when it is closed. The bar is full of a buffet, with Cheeses, Bruschetta, Tomatoes and anchovies on little sticks, Wurst, Salami on bread, Prawn cocktail, Chicken Mayonnaise, Olives, sun dried tomatoes, and capers... They have large cocktail sticks, you can use these if you are stood at the bar, and you just pick or you can get a plate of food and sit at your table. Around 8pm the Pizzeria next door, brings in pizza already cooked, and this is added to the buffet. Café Colombo opens very early in the morning, but it closes at 9.00 pm.
Another thing we noticed to today, was the cyclists…hundreds of them, trying to find out why. We do remember the same in Sicily. We were there one year ago this week, Amazing.
17.00 hours – have been for the “walk” again, it is getting easier. Went to see where we could eat tonight. No “Happy Hour” for us tonight. There are a few places still open at this time of year, will just see what takes our fancy.
Tonight we ate at “ La Piazzetta” in the square.(picture top right) Absolutely divine food, the chef is from the south of Italy. I have never tasted spaghetti like it. Spaghetti with prawns and mussels and Pomedori tomatoes, divine. Arni had Fillet steak which was equally has good. The service was brilliant, wine was good. Would highly recommend this place to anyone. Met the big boss, who owns the Café Colombo as well.
Have been reading a book – Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, a truly inspirational book. There is a line on page 111 … Goethe said “"To have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is not to have seen Italy at all, for Sicily is the clue to everything." So to me I did it the right way round!!
Thursday, 22 November 2007
Today was quite a quiet day. We had a lazy morning, and had lunch before we ventured out. This time we went to Como. We drove there, but hopefully we will take the ferry next time. We saw the Cathedral, which was very spectacular, didn’t go inside though. And then we walked down to the lakeside and saw all the ferries coming in. It is a very busy vibrant town. After a coffee overlooking the lake, we took ourselves off into the back streets..shopper’s paradise. It was so busy, so many shoe shops, bag shops, cafes, gift shops…oh I could go on. When we arrived there, most of the shops were shut for lunch, but they soon came alive…. loved it.
I saw some beautiful Christmas decorations, but wouldn’t want to chance getting them back to the UK. Lovely tins with Pannetone inside, you would buy them just for the tin, but I love pannetone…much more to my taste than Christmas cake or mince pies.
Wednesday, 21 November 2007
Trip to St Moritz
We didn’t get up early, but still set off anyway. We had thought it was best to leave early but the weather today was not that good. You could not see from one side of the lake to the other…the mist was so low. Not a good idea, when the views are what you here for!!!!
The drive up there was spectacular, lots of different scenes, but it was the weather that you had to see to believe. When we left Argegno it was 15 degrees, not warm, but not cold. As we climbed higher and higher on the approach to Switzerland, we started to watch the temperature gauge in the car. We could not believe it. We got down to -5 degrees. As you will see from my photos, it was quite unbelievable. We did notice along the drive, some places just looked so bleak and barren. People did live there, but there were a lot of houses, totally derelict and in one place, it looked like a whole village had been wiped out, and a new one put in its place. Luckily I had my quilted jacket and scarf with me. We did park up and get out, had a quick walk around and a coffee, but thought we should head back ASAP, just in case we got snowed in. The snow was settling quite fast. Some people were stopping to put snow chains on!!! As we headed home it got warmer. We stopped for our lunch in Tremezzo, we needed that. On our way back down, we kept looking out for somewhere to eat, but we couldn’t tell if they were open or not. Next week this particular little pizzeria closes for the winter and re-opens in March. Well it is 16.45 and we have arrived back from our trip to St Moritz. And settling in for the night.
Monday, 19 November 2007
Today has been a day of rest. Had a lie in, but I still went for my walk!!!! But this time I didn’t walk back up. Arni picked me up in the square and then we set off to do some shopping. Before we went into the supermarket, we had a Gelato, it was fantastic. I had a three scoop one, which was, mele(apple), pistachio, and cherry and Arni had a huge two scoop, lemon and banana, Lush.
We are back in our apartment now, its 15.30, just having a cuppa. Tomorrow we are getting up early and driving to St Moritz, which is about 2 hours drive from here, but it is meant to be worth it.
Woke up this morning about 8am, the sun was shining, so set about making breakfast, and then off for my walk again, just down to the square. But this time I ventured off and discovered little walk ways, crammed with houses, even the tiniest of shops, selling pastries, bread, milk, cheese, cold meats and just a few other essentials. Strange how we take everything for granted in the UK. God help the Brits if were to shut on Sundays and Mondays or for a few hours in the afternoon..12.30 closed, re-open 15.00. Bring it on…oh to be European. Oh sorry forgot, I am.
It was better this morning, knew where I was going, and how to get back, and it didn’t take me as long this time. Once back at the apartment we sorted out where and what we were going to do today. We were going to Bellagio. You can drive there but if you are on the west side of the lake, the quickest route is to take the ferry. Now I had a little bit of a problem with my Italian this time. From Agegno you can take the passenger ferry only, but if you want to take your car you have to drive to Cadenabbia. He thought we wanted to take our car, I didn’t understand so we drove to Cadenabbia, where we caught the ferry (but didn’t take the car) across and parking is free.…it didn’t take very long. What a lovely town Bellagio is .Our first port of call was a Café, lovely, overlooking the lake. But where were the shops??? We soon found them, hidden up the steep steps; you would never have known they were there. We had arrived just before they closed for the long break, but that was ok. I didn’t mind window shopping. You need to have someone with you who likes shopping!!! We spent about 1 and 1/2 hours here before setting back over the water to collect our car and set off again for Argegno. We stopped and parked near the square, and had a bite to eat….Panini’s, Beer for Arni and Red wine for me, and Espresso…I was ready for a kip…so home we go. It is now 17.10, the sun has gone in and it is turning rather cold.. We will have to wait and see what tomorrow brings.
Hold on, You don’t have to wait, tomorrow is not here yet, it is 18.15, Arni has decided he would like us to go out for a drink, so we are setting off for the walk back down to the square for Happy Hour in Café Colombo….the café where we had our lunch today….Happy hour starts at 18.00 and they have a little buffet. We shall see what its like… bearing in mind we have to walk back up!!! It is now 21.07 had Happy Hours!!!! .and survived the walk back. Arni did not believe me when I told him how hard it was coming back up, especially if you had not done it before…. We had a brilliant night; they said “see you tomorrow”!!!! Oh yes we will return. X x
It is now 21.30 and we are settling in for the night.
Friday, 16 November 2007
Woke up this morning feeling very tired, but thought no, I must get up and explore. Had breakfast in bed first though, brought to me by Arni, fagotto Farcito al cioccolato, orange juice and tea, sat looking out of our bedroom window at the most spectacular view one could imagine. After a while, got myself into motion, washed and dressed, I decided to walk down to the square, whilst Arni got himself sorted. So off I set, not really knowing where I was heading, but I found it. A very quaint place,breathtaking views, lovely little cafes, and tiny greengrocer, bakery and an Ice cream parlour…yummy.
Now I had made it down, but it was getting back up that was going to be the hard part…..and remember my way. It was a very steep descent, cutting through little passages, so the ascent was going to difficult, so I climbed up and up, but when I got to where I thought I was meant to be, oh no, I had climbed too far!!!! But I figured it out and found my way home. No this wasn’t a mountain climb or a GR walk, but it might as well of been. This was just to get your loaf….!!!!!!
After a drink (tea) Arni and I sat off in the car, to Lenno, a market was being held, it was huge, all the stalls were lined up along the lake, and in a little square, amazing, some places in England should come over here and learn a few lessons!!!. Yet again my Italian was required, I managed to buy a cooked chicken and ask “how much”...brilliant. We stopped for coffee before heading back to our town. Once back in Argegno, we stopped in the square and had a bite of lunch. After our little rest, we set off in search of the funicular that takes you to Pigra. I really was tested, I had to ask for two return tickets, which timetable to use, and the cost…yes, getting good at this!!! What a view from up here, to think that a village is built so high up. We had a walk round, not much here, but the view is what you come for!!!! And maybe a pizza at the top. The funicular is used by school children and workers who have to come down to Argegno. You can drive down, but this is the quickest, but I would say not for shoppers!!! You can also take your bike on here.
Now it is 17.30, getting dark, and I think we have packed in enough for today. My challenge tomorrow is to get Arni and I to Bellegio by ferry!!!!!
Thursday, 15 November 2007
We arrived at Malpensa airport at around 13.30…the weather was not that good, little bit grey…but that didn’t put us off. After picking up our hire car, we set off on the road to Argegno. Arni was using his GPS…so my navigation skills were not required…well not all the time. We stopped at a huge shopping mall and did our grocery shopping, it was amazing, strange how shopping takes on a new meaning when visiting a European country. And Arni loves it!!!! But first of all I had to put to use my little knowledge of Italian…we needed a 2 Euro coin for the trolley. The first person I tried to ask, didn’t speak any English at all, but I managed to communicate to him my need, but he didn’t have one, so off I trotted to ask again, and yes it worked. I had my 2 Euro and we started shopping. We bought all sorts, cheeses, salamis, Salad, bread, pasta, Olives, the famous Arranci, Wine and lots more. I love trying to speak the language, so yet again I tested myself and went off to get the Olives from the counter, not pre-packed, it worked, and I was so chuffed. After spending what seemed like hours we set off once again for our destination. By the time we arrived it was getting dark, we had spent ages and ages in the supermarket, so after meeting the lady to show us around, we unpacked our car, suitcases and shopping, and settled in for the night. We were able to sit on the balcony for a few hours, drinking our wine, and eating our picnic. Amazing views, good wine and food!!!!
We are back from our travels, and what an absolutely tremendous time we had. Do forgive me if no pictures yet. It is going to take a while to blog it all. One thing I did do, was type each day and note all that we did. Just need to add links. Should be up by next week.
Sunday, 4 November 2007
My friend Sarah who owns the ceramic shop The Funky Teapot, wanted me to do her a couple of coasters....so I did a repeat one of the lovely little coastal houses...which is featured in an older post...and this week I did this,