Posts Tagged 'Bellagio'

Stocking up

This morning Sita and I got up very early so she could prepare for her one and only prep day and we could have breakfast with the rest of her team, having nothing but water in our refrigerator. We had an overpriced breakfast at Hotel du Lac, with tasteless fruit and sweetened American cereal. Only the cappuccino reminded us of Italy.

I then served as chauffeur for the team, which wasn’t entirely selfless. Chauffeuring allowed me to enter the Rockefeller estate, see the inside of this famous conference center that only a handful of lucky people ever get to see.

We got to see the rooms. Jan called them ‘rustic beyond rustic,’ of a beautifully simplicity.  The conference room itself is intimate, and also of a simple but well-designed simplicity, with all the amenities of modern life.

I did two runs to get everyone and their luggage from the Lac hotel to the conference center and then returned to the house to pick up Tessa and Axel who had also been staring at an empty refrigerator.

It was time for their breakfast and a big shopping trip to get the necessities and avoid having to take every meal in a pricey restaurant. We tried some local wine and decided the 2.25 Euro wine was great but the 3.70 wine smelled like diesel and did not pass the taste test.

Axel cooked us, what else, a pasta meal with Italian sausages – the American version on steroids. I don’t think we have to eat meat again for the entire week. We had real parmesan cheese, which was an entirely different sensation from the powdery stuff our Manchester supermarket sells.

Before Tessa and I took a road trip around the edges of the Bellagio peninsula, I took one, closer to home, with Faro – pushing the stroller up steep cobblestone hills and checking the brakes when we went down. It was quite a workout, exhausting the baby as well. He was sound asleep by the time we got home, in spite of the sound of roaring Vespas and trucks gearing up and down.

Tessa and I ended our road trip with gelato, and after Axel joined us, with a cocktail by the lake, watching the spectacular change of colors and the back and forth of ferries. We were pinching ourselves.

At the end of the day we picked Sita up, so Tessa and Axel also got to see the residence of the former Italian princess who gifted it to one of the Rockefellers.

We went straight home as Sita was starved for Faro, the first time since he was born that she had not seen him for 12 hours in a row. It was a jubilant reunion.


And so we boarded our planes and left for Italy, in two batches – one through Amsterdam to Milan’s Linate airport, the other through Newark to Milan’s Malpensa airport.

After a smooth tailwind ride from Boston to Amsterdam to Milan, it took us several hours to get from there to Bellagio. We had given the kids our Dutch navigation system – which got them to the right place even before we had left the airport.

For our direction we relied on my smart phone’s navigator which wasn’t all that smart and led us astray in very bad Italian English, away from Bellagio, up into the alps, higher and higher, though tunnel after tunnel, driving slowly behind groaning trucks.  When the signs for Bellagio had long since disappeared, and we started to get hungry, what with all those pizzerias every 100 yards, we decided to ask and were pointed back to where we came from with a compassionate smile.

After a harrowing ride over a road that should have been a one way street we arrived in Bellagio but our navigator lost its signal and with that we were lost.  Luckily Bellagio is small and we chanced upon the right street and found the kids had already made the place their own

It is a sleek duplex, furnished in sleek  IKEA-esque style – bright fabrics and light wood.  Like a chunk of clay, the street/small village that is our address for the next 10 days, seemed to be molded onto the mountain that rises out of the fork of Lake Como.  It is picturesque beyond description.

The entrance to our villa took us past the Asilo Infantile and then over ever narrowing cobblestoned alleyways into a small enclave of houses (a family compound?) with large inviting dining tables and doors and windows wide open. We met Rosa and Mario after meeting our landlords Antonella and Pino.

We are on the outskirts of Bellagio but since Bellagio is rather small, outskirts means you can walk to the shore and to the center and lakefront.

The walk takes you down a cobblestoned path, along houses that whisper ‘watercolor me.’  The steep walk goes along and through orchards and loaded fig trees.  We behaved and didn’t take what was not ours, our mouths watering. We have to find the fig market.

We walked down to the Sporting Club with its swimming pool, pool tables, great beer and pizza and melon with Parma ham.  Our landlord had called ahead to make sure we would be expected. A table set for five stood ready for us. After airplane meals we were craving something more substantive and tasty, something very Italian: a variety of pizzas, local beers and that Parma ham melon appetizer.

Too tired to walk back up the steep path we sent the men up to fetch the car and then drove to the waterfront, the center of town. It is the place where the ferries land and where the stately hotels welcome tourists and locals alike to their terraces. Most of the tourists seem to have gone now, which is fine by us.

From our living and bedrooms, we look out over Lake Como and its shores that are dotted with southern France style stucco houses with much iron work and cypresses, standing tall and straight, like guards in perpetual attention.

Because Sita’s work starts tomorrow we met for dinner with former colleagues of mine who are forming the facilitation team of which Sita is a part. Tired beyond belief, she trooped along and didn’t fall with her face in the ravioli while Faro obligingly slept through the entire meal. We left Tessa and Jim at home, figuring out the wifi hotspot gizmo we had rented and taking care of urgent business.

I think we are going to like it here.

May 2018
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