21 December 2013, Saturday
Perdelo, Varenna, Lake Como, Italy
What initially grabbed my attention soon after landing in Milano Airport after 17 years was the locals’ unforced, natural elegance as well as sadly, just like my winter trip to this country 9 years ago, the weather being terribly cold, overcast and rainy.After driving for about 2 hours with our rented car by avoiding Milano city centre and leaving Italy’s industrial region behind, we have reached the flat we rented in a village called Perdelo in Varenna by the Lake Como. As it gets darker much sooner in winter, the sharp and windy mountain roads covered in fog were at first quite scary. On the other hand, the sheer number of kilometres long tunnels carved into mountains was quite impressive. We forgot our fatigue with a delicious dinner at a Varenna restaurant called Quattro Pass and were doing quite well when my 27 month old daughter L. fell asleep straight away. However, as she is in the process of being potty trained, she woke at 4 am, wanting to go to toilet and did not sleep again until 7 am. For that reason, we started the day a bit tired.However, as soon as we opened the blinds and saw the magnificent views of the snow covered mountains and the Lake Como, we instantly felt better.
As the timing of the Bellagio ferry did not suit us, we have decided to make our trip on road.
In daylight, the quaintness of Varenna was more apparent. And Bellagio is a typical, cute, elegant and romantic Italian town.
I was actually quite surprised to pass through big cities like Lecco on the way. I had thought that we would only see small villages and towns by the Italian Alps and Europe’s deepest lake, Como. The road trip becomes very enjoyable by observing the beautiful and magnificent views of the mountains, the lake and the greenery as well as plentiful examples of 19th century Italian villa architecture.
However, it is not possible to see George Clooney’s villa in Laglio or the villa used in filming the James Bond movie Casino Royal and Star Wars in Lenno from the road. It seems like it is easier and more meaningful to see most villas from the lake. Como City is the largest and most crowded settlement around Lake Como. It is a major city with its theatre, train station, schools, banks and offices.
It is much easier to see the magnificence of the villas from the road in the town called Mennagio, not too far from Como. The roads around this surprisingly large lake, snowy mountain views aside, look incredibly similar to the Bosphorus road between Ortakoy and Sariyer in Istanbul.
22 December 2013, Sunday, Perdelo, Varenna, Lake Como
One must most definitely come to this region in summer, autumn or spring. Only during those seasons, one can avoid the dense fog, rain and cold and enjoy the views and see the places that need to be visited. The best way to see the villas and the Cernobbia region is from the lake and the boats for lake trips cannot be rented before April or May. Even though, this is a mountainous region, as it is not a ski area and because what need to be seen are the villas around the lake, architecture and nature, it would be much better to visit in seasons other than winter.
24 December 2013, Tuesday, Portofino
As we left densely foggy Varenna and Lake Como behind and after tiredly driving for about 4 hours under heavy rain, we have reached Cinque Terre National Park. However, we were not lucky with the weather here either and could not see anything because of the dense fog. As we didn’t want to drive any longer in these foggy conditions on the sharp and windy mountain roads, we headed toward our last stop, Portofino.
As we reached this region and finally Portofino, we wished that we spent our entire winter holiday in Portofino. Weather is much softer, the sun glimpses and the sea, the rocks, beaches, woods and the architecture are fantastic.
We have a wonderful sea view from our room number 208 in Domina Piccolo Hotel.
Although, the hotel looks like a typical Italian villa from outside, it is modernised inside.Portofino is as quaint as its fame suggests.
It feels like we can finally relax here.
Last year today, we were in Los Angeles. The 25th was a special and unforgettable day for me. But it feels like it was a life time ago, not last year. So much has happened in the last year.