The end of my program marked the beginning of an entirely new and different leg of my European adventures. Up until a little more than a week ago, I had been relatively stationary, with a decently regular routine in Ferrara, now I have been criss-crossing across Italy and across the Adriatic Sea. With in the past week or so I have spent 1 night in Rome, 2 nights in Tremezzo on Lake Como, 1 night in Venice, 3 nights in Croatia, another night in Venice, and now I am writing to you from Prague (yes, I am a little behind on the blogging thing).
But let's talk about Lago di Como, or Lake Como, being the first destination of my travels after my language program. My friend Carina and I made quite the trek to get there, first stopping in Rome for one night and then from Rome to Milan, Milan to Como via two regional trains, and then a ferry to Tremezzo which is the town that our airbnb apartment was. Let's just say it was definitely a test of our navigational skills in a new place in a foreign country. I have discovered that the most stressful part about traveling for me is getting from point A to point B, safely and smoothly. There is only so much you can prepare and plan for until you are actually en route, which has been a huge challenge for me since I like to know all the details and what to expect.
Lake Como blew my mind. I knew it was going to be a beautiful area, however I could not have expected the entirety of it. Being in places such as these really puts into perspective just how amazing our Creator is, only He could be capable of orchestrating such breathtaking sights. Upon arriving in the small, very small village of Tremezzo, our host was kind enough to pick us up and drive us up to where the apartment was. Thank goodness. I can't imagine hauling my luggage up the side of a mountain. After settling in a little, we decided to explore a little and find some groceries to cook dinner with. We followed a small mountain path over to the next village to find what turned out to be the saddest grocery store I have ever seen. Buying what we could for dinner and breakfast, we trekked back up the mountain- which let's be honest, being who I am, I did not mind at all. It was physically challenging enough to count as my workout for the day.
After dinner a well deserved dinner, we headed over to the local restaurant called Trattoria Rana (Rana means frog in Italian) for a glass of wine and to enjoy maybe one of the most amazing views of Lake Como, also we had fun making friends with the owner. The following morning we took our time starting the day. I was able to make breakfast which was so much fun after not really being able to cook in almost two months. The morning also involved some laundry- the old fashioned way- we hung them to dry in the garden out back, which actually turned out to be rather fun. We also met the sweet old lady who lived above us, we talked a little in Italian and then she showed us fresh sage and rosemary which we could use in the garden. I think I died a little of happiness.
In the late morning, we hiked down the mountain and caught a bus to a near by town called Menaggio to go kayaking on the lake. I felt so blessed to be able to paddle my way through the waters of probably the most beautiful place I have ever seen, it put me in a very reflective mood. After a successful kayaking excursion, we ate lunch and explored Menaggio a little- which involved finding a much much better supermarket where we bought a few extra ingredients for dinner. Dinner turned out to be rice cooked with the sage and rosemary from the garden and garbanzo beans stirred in, plus sauted asparagus and onions with pecorino cheese. After dinner we returned again to Trattoria Rana (the owner remembered us!) where we were able to enjoy one last night of looking out over the lake and talking about life. We were the last people to leave the restaurant that night. The next morning we packed up and were picked up by our hosts back to the ferry stop. I was sad to leave and Carina and I parted ways on the way to Milan. She off to Dublin, I to Venice to meet my friend Hyunjae to travel to Croatia the next day.
Our time was short at Lake Como, but I enjoyed every minute of it. I felt so lucky to be able to experience such a beautiful place. I've learned that traveling with another person really creates strong bonds- you have to work together to get where you need to go, you support one another emotionally, and you have to trust each other that you will make it together- so it was sad/hard to part ways with Carina and continue on to Venice by myself. Luckily, we are going to be in London at the same time for a couple of days so we are planning to meet up there! Lake Como was a great way to kick off my final 3 weeks in Europe. Look for my next post soon, which will be all about Croatia!