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Report 678: Italia - Umbria, Lago di Garda, Lago di Como & Visits with Friends in Empoli and Coccaglio

By girasoli from Hawaii, Spring 2005

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Page 22 of 24: Last Day in Italia

photo by girasoli

pretty little village on Lake Como

This was my last full day in Italia. I have had such a wonderful trip! I packed up my bags and was able to leave them in the manager’s office for a couple of hours which was nice. I went shopping for a couple of last minute gifts and then walked back up and down the steps to Pescallo one last time. I sat for a while taking in the beauty and then took a few more pictures and headed back to grab some food for lunch. I think the next time I come to Lake Como I will either stay in Pescallo or Varenna.

After grabbing some lunch, I went to the boat dock, bought my ticket, and waited for the slow boat to take me to Como. The ride was wonderful. I took lots of pictures on the way of amazing cliffs, villas, and the cutest little towns!

When I arrived in Como, the train station was right in front of me. This is not the regular train line but another private train that you can take to get to Malpensa Airport in Milano (with one change midway). Before going over to get my ticket, I stopped in this supermarket called something like the Grande Supermercato (can’t remember the exact name). I wanted to pick some food for the plane. Unfortunately when I went inside it was not a big supermarket as advertised and I did not see anything that would last in the heat and so I bought some water and then headed over to the train station to buy my ticket.

I kept forgetting that if you want first class, you have to ask or you automatically get a second class ticket. It didn’t matter for the first leg of the trip, as there were plenty of seats. The train went through some poorer sections of town and I was a little nervous with some of the people coming into the car I was riding in but all went fine.

When I got to Saronno, I got off and looked for the Partenza board. This train had different information posted, which was confusing for me, and finally I went to ask a train conductor which binario I needed to go to catch the train to Malpensa Airport. He told me Binario 6 and off I went. This train station has escalators up which is nice, so you only have to carry your bag down the stairs. When I got to Binario 6, I asked again and was told the first train was not the train to the airport and to wait for the 2nd train. I am glad I asked as there was nothing posted anywhere. When my train finally did arrive, it was quite obvious that it was the train to the airport. On the front and perhaps on the side (cannot remember now) there are words saying Malpensa Express (think that is correct). I was a little worried as the sign by the binario said something about 1st class and when I looked for the second class trains, a woman told me there was only one class. I was not sure if my second class ticket was ok, but it ended up that no one ever checked my ticket.

This train was super fast and soon I was at the airport. I had no idea where to go and so I just followed the crowd which took me upstairs where there were a couple of shops and a little supermarket and lots of signs to many different places. Now to figure out where to go to get my shuttle! My cell phone came in handy as I called the hotel to find out where to catch the shuttle. She asked me where I was, and just “the airport” was not a good enough answer. I had no idea what terminal I was at or near and so I went back to the little grocery store where I just bought some coconut yogurt and gave the clerk my phone asking her to explain to the woman at the hotel where I was in the airport. They talked for a few minutes and then I got the phone back and was told how to find the shuttle.

The shuttle arrived a few minutes after I finally found the pick up spot. The man driving the shuttle was very helpful and told me where I would need to go the next day for my Continental flight. When we arrived at the hotel, Hotel Cervo, I was a little leary. The area did not seem very nice but I figured I was only staying at the hotel for the night and so it was not a big deal. BUT, unfortunately things got worse.

I was given a room that stunk of smoke. It was on the bottom floor of the older section of the hotel. Across from my room was a little neighborhood which ended up being quite noisy (some sort of construction work going on) much of the night. The smell of the smoke was so strong that it seemed as if the person just left an hour earlier after smoking three packs of cigarettes with all the windows closed. The hotel room had two windows, the window in the bedroom with bars on the outside and a window in the bathroom that opened up right into the parking lot. I opened the windows for about an hour to see if I could air out the room with no luck and then went back to check to see if there were any other rooms available. The hotel was booked and I was stuck in that room. I guess I should have tried to switch rooms right away, but I arrived late in the afternoon and having a single is more limiting and so I most likely would have been stuck in that room anyways and who's to say if all the rooms would have reeked of smoke.

After a couple of hours, the mosquitoes started coming in and so I was only able to leave the window open a tiny bit with the curtain closing off the opening. I also did not feel comfortable leaving the bathroom window open at night since this window was pretty easy for anyone to climb through. I ate dinner at the hotel, just ok, and then went back to my room for the night. I guess I am fortunate that this was the only room on my trip that I stayed in that had a horrible smell of smoke.

photo - view of a little town from the boat on the way from Bellagio to Como

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