Saying good-bye, with regret

Our last day on Lake Como was spent in some sunshine and no rain, which made the town of Varenna even more picturesque.

Actually, yesterday was the first one of our entire trip where we actually slept in. The Sunday morning weather was iffy, we had nothing special planned, and we knew the WiFi was out. Perfect trifecta, which we had not been able to achieve anywhere else.

After getting a very slow start, we walked into town with our trusty computer, hoping the outage was not universal. We happened on a lunch spot with great connectivity, and – though I would normally never do this – I was able to eat, drink and post photos at the same time. Relief!

We had a nice calm walk back through town, stopping in the church of San Giorgio, built in the 13th century.

And then, because it was still so sunny out, we stopped at the villa below our own, to see more of the lovely gardens we have only glimpsed from the road above. Villa Monastero offers the public access to its house and gardens, but the gardens are what captured our attention. Imagine, wisteria and roses blooming at the same time. And a magnolia tree of gigantic proportions, just coming into blossom. What astonishing views.

Today we left this lovely place and headed for the big city – Milan. This is the last stop on our Italian tour and we have a lot planned.

Don’s Food Corner

With no internet in the apartment we were staying in, one of our qualifications for lunch was a place that had  WiFi.  I had selected a restaurant with a great view that the guidebook assured us was open on Sunday in June and July.  We arrived. It had a little ‘WiFi available’ notice.  The tables were all set up.  The menu was on display outside.  Looked good. We walked in. Nope. Only open for dinner on Sunday. There was no sign providing this information, just a very pleasant lady stationed at the door sending people away and explaining (in Italian) that the menu is outside to show what will be available for dinner. Signage indicating open/closed status is in short supply throughout Italy in all types of places, from museums to restaurants to streets to toilets. They prefer that actual people tell you where to go.  I think they don’t post signs because they want to keep their options open in case they want to close unexpectedly or move things around.

We kept on walking.  We saw a lakeside restaurant with a big “Free WiFi” sign.  The restaurant gave off all the tourist trap vibes — a menu that was all over the place with perhaps too many choices, a location right on the water and directly on the main pathway for tourists, and it was packed.

To my great surprise, it was pretty good.  And the WiFi was blazing fast.  We started with a salad of cold shrimp tossed with lettuces, apples and raisins.  Very simple, very nice.

Jo moved onto what they called Risotto Milanese, loaded with cheese and saffron.  A winner.

I tried the spinach/ricotta filled tortellini in a butter and sage-leaf sauce. Also a winner, which compared favorably with versions I’ve tasted elsewhere.

Jo was able to complete her WiFi work (her blog) to keep up her 100% reporting record. A very productive afternoon on the edge of the magical Lake Como.



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