October 15th: Lake Como

One of the things that I miss most about living in Mexico are Sunday afternoons.  Families go out together, spend the day in parks, relaxing, and just being in public spaces. I saw more of that when I was in Spain on the Camino a few years back, and I got another great dose of it today.  I think that a Sunday afternoon at Lake Como might just be one of my new favorite things.

We headed to the train station a little later than we hoped; both of us have had issues sleeping because of not being able to get the room cool enough at night.  The room is warm, so we open the window to cool it down.  But, there are mosquitos, so we have to cover up to avoid being bitten.  I have only had about four hours of sleep each night for the last few nights, so Kelly woke me up a little later than we planned this morning to let me get a little more shut eye.

So, after a late breakfast, we headed to Milano Centrale. We wanted to do two things: get our tickets to take the train to Como today, and arrange tickets with our Eurail pass tomorrow to head to Siena. Once again, wait wait wait, lol.  We got in line to get a number to get in line.  After about 45 minutes, we got to the window.  The lady spoke a bit of English, so between my ruddy Italian and her adequate English, we got things done. We only had a few minutes to catch our train for Como, and as we approached the platform at a fast walk/slow run, the train pulled away.  

We went back into the station to have a bite. Our tickets were valid for four hours, so we took the next train, which left an hour after the one we missed.  There is a small machine on each platform where you have to validate your tickets, and we hadn’t done it for the train we missed, so maybe it is just as well.  We thought it would take 90 minutes to get to Como, but it was more like 30.

On arrival, we headed out on foot to explore.  We made our way down to the main square, and visited the Duomo there.  Oh. My. Goodness.  It is not as big as many of the churches that we have visited, but when I walked in, it was so awe inspiring that all I could do was turn in a circle, say wow wow wow, and try to decide what to look at/photograph first. 

The duomo was built over a period from 1396 to 1740. Unlike the duomo in Milan, it incorporates the different styles that came and went during this time frame.  Instead of being disjointed, however, as can sometimes be the case, the church’s informational folder says “the architecture of the Duomo is a masterpiece of harmonic mixture of all of the histrical periods in which it was built”.  Included are Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque elements. It certainly looked seamless to me!

I have a new cell phone, and today I was able to give its camera a proper workout.  I have to say that I am really impressed!  All of the photos that I include here in the blog, in all posts from the trip thus far including today, were taken with my cell phone.

After the visit to the Duomo, we chose to walk. And walk, and walk some more.  I told myself before the trip that only on days that I walked at least 16,000 steps would I be able to give myself a treat. The other day I had more than that, but my stomach felt too wonky to enjoy anything.  Today, I had 15,000 and change, so I “borrowed” a few steps from the other day, and treated myself to a small gelato.  Chocolate hazelnut, and worth every penny!

We walked down along the lakeside, enjoying the many families, dogs, and entertainers who were out. There was an older man who was playing the accordian on a park bench.  I took his photo, and then threw a coin in his accordian case.  He stopped playing and wanted to see the photo, he was just so tickled that I had taken it.  On our way back through, I smiled and waved.  He stopped playing again and called me over, and told me to take his photo again, and had me show it to his friend.  I wish I spoke more Italian so that I could have visited with him for a few minutes.  I love meeting locals and talking; you never know what someone’s story is until you sit down with them and begin a conversation.

We got back to the train station, and caught our return train with no problems. We were beat. There were more people than seats on the return trip (as there were  on the trip there), but this time we were among the people standing.  By the time we got back to Milan, the calves and the feet were letting me know exactly what they thought of standing for 40 minutes on the trip home.

Tired and hungry, we ate our first meal out here in Milan; well, kind of.  We bought an authentic Milanese pizza and took it to our B&B to enjoy for dinner. The room is nice and cool, as we finally figured out the ceiling fan (hidden remote control) and left it running all day. We have packed as much as we can tonight in preparation for the train ride tomorrow. Hoping for a good night’s sleep, and an uneventful travel day ahead.

Photos from the train station: note the Rubik’s Cube type packaging in the Lindor Chocolate kiosk in the station, as well as the tile work on the wall.

Photos from the Duomo: there is a stained glass window at the front, and when the light begins to go down at the end of the afternoon, it bathes the interior in swaths of color that move from the back to the front of the church as the sun goes further down.

My accordian player

Other scenes from the day

And, finally . . . 

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