Saturday, September 8, 2012

Como on the Como

Knowing that we wouldn't necessarily be in the mood to drive the 6 and a half hours back after our relaxing cruise (life's challenges, right?), Lori had booked a B&B in Como, Italy which is about 2 hours drive towards the Swiss border.  The town is situated on a serene lake of the same name and is home to a lot of wealthy (and some famous) people who have idyllic Italian villas nestled along the steep hillsides or directly on the water.  Como is a quintessential picturesque Italian town which dates from the Roman era.  It's everything I had hoped for in an Italian experience, complete with gastronomical greatness, beautiful views, perfect weather and wonderfully nice Italian people. 

Founded in 196 BC, it's hard to comprehend the extensive history of this city.  Despite its relatively small size, it has a sizable cathedral and several other ancient churches.  Our B&B was nearly in the center of the old town and was within a 10 minute walk of all the sights.  The Italian owner was incredibly friendly and helpful.  Our room was on the 5th floor with a nice view of the street below.  The whole town is a network of very narrow "roads" that are mostly dominated by pedestrians.  They're lined with unique shops, gelato shops and cafes.  In fact, Lori and I had what was most likely the best chocolate...anything...of our lives.  It was gelato from just down the street and it was the type of taste that stops you in your tracks.  It was like a cold, creamy truffle in the form of ice cream.  Amazing.  Moments later we were sitting down and having some of the best espresso of our lives too.  The Italians certainly know how to do food and drink.  Everything we consumed was first rate and phenomenal.

The 1,000+ year old Basilica of Sant'Abbondio lies just ahead

A quaint market place

One of many shop-lined streets

The back side of the Duomo, or Cathedral

Where the town meets Lake Como

"Gelato, you've come back to me."  Best of our lives.

Market and medieval church

Cool exterior mural

Some of the streets were only a few feet wide

A surprise royal procession on their way to hold Court

The "King and Queen" holding Court outside the main Cathedral

Our B&B room.

After our stay in Como, we still had a 4 hour drive ahead of us, but one that we were thoroughly looking forward to.  We lucked out with weather again and had another beautiful drive through Switzerland.  However, what is a road without a stop at McDonald's?  Well, we did indeed stop, but Switzerland being one of the most expensive countries in the world meant we paid over $20 for one chicken sandwich and a basic cheeseburger "value" meal.  It was delicious, but next time we're going to pack a lunch :-)

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