Saturday, 23 July 2011

Bellagio, Lake Como, Italy

What a beautiful place! Chris and I have just returned from a fantastic week there. Here are just a few of the many photos we took (click on them twice for full-size images):

Some Alps, viewed from our Flybe Embraer 195 inbound to Milan from Manchester

Bellagio from the lake. Our hotel is on the waterfront at the right hand end of the middle block of buildings, with a long low ferry moored in front of it.

A closer look at our hotel, the Metropole. Our room is marked by its balcony, third from right on the top floor.

Here is the view from our balcony looking south; car ferry 'Lario' is moored at the terminal.

This is the balcony view looking the other way, with Mennagio on the far side of the lake

Chris contemplates the menu, in the hotel's lake-side restaurant

Bellagio's main street, seen from the rooftop sun terrace of the hotel

We often ate out, but always al fresco. Here is Chris (table by the left hand doorway) at a Bellagio trattoria. This one is so popular that customers waiting for a table are issued cushions (orange and blue, in the basket in the foreground) by the proprietors so they can sit comfortably on the stone steps.

Here's another view of the hotel, our room being on the front overlooking the lake

Perhaps one of the older of the lake cruisers, 'Milano' took us cruising down the lake in glorious sunshine to Como and back, on Chris's birthday

Chris on 'Milano' returning from our sunny trip down the lake to Como

That evening, we enjoyed a birthday celebration meal in the hotel restaurant for this 'significant event'. 'Ninfea', the boat moored in the background took us to Lecco and back the next day.

On Monday we took an excursion to the Bernina Pass between Tirano in Italy and St Moritz in Switzerland, travelling over the main part of the pass on the Bernina Express. The railway climbs incredibly steeply with many sharp bends, and this view shows the front end of our train taken from our carriage. It often enters a tunnel, to emerge with the scenery having swapped sides as the train did a 180 degree turn while it was underground. The scenery brought back memories for me of motorcycling over this same pass some years ago.

Here is a view looking from the train back to the lake near where we boarded it. And this isn't even the top of the pass!

This is the top of the Bernina Pass... glaciers, meltwaters, and a lake.

The weather during the week was mostly hot and sunny, but we did have a couple of wet days. This was in St Moritz after de-training from the Bernina Express to return to
Lake Como by our excursion coach.

A typical lunch. This was in Mellagio, on the other side of Lake Como to Bellagio. House wine in these places is cheap and usually quite good! The pizzas ain't bad, too - very thin and light base, not at all yer stogy Pizza Express fayre.

Perhaps one of the newer members of the lake Como ferry fleet, a hydrofoil skims above the lake surface. This craft provides the 'fast' lake service to Como, but we preferred the delights of the slower boat with its plentiful provision of outside seating on such a lovely day.

Bellagio is situated at the junction of the three 'arms' of Lake Como; the Como arm, the Lecco arm, and the northern or Colico arm and each has its own character with the Como arm being perhaps the more scenic. This is Lecco at the end of the Lecco arm; 'Ninfea' is tied up by the landing stage and waiting to return us to Bellagio.

On Friday there was a transport strike in Italy affecting the lake ferries as well as trains and buses, but it didn't bother us as we'd done our travelling by then (apart from today's return flight to Manchester from Milan). Here we are enjoying the wonderful gardens of the Villa Melzi in Bellagio.


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