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Report 915: Lake Como and Bernina Express

By SeaJay from VA, Spring 2002

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Page 6 of 11: Wednesday, April 17

Someone is going to die!!!!!!!!

At 0800 Carol and CJ hear “Good morning, good morning, good morning to you, good morning, good morning, and how do you do.” CJ recognizes the sound as Kathy’s wacky alarm clock (hidden in their room somewhere). It will continue until we find it and figure out how to turn it off. We know it is hidden in our room, but where? We finally locate the culprit and the two blind people go about the business of trying to figure out how to turn this obnoxious contraption off.

Payback will be long in coming but will be hell!

Breakfast and showers and we are off to the market at Gravedonna. This is a beautiful lakeside village. It has two primary church attractions located adjacent to each other and the market. An octagonal steeple and black and white bricks are the striking features of Santa Maria del Tiglio the most famous Lombard Romanesque construction in the Alto Lario region. Upon exiting the older church Carol has a close encounter of the pooping kind as she comes upon a man leaning up against the back wall of the church. Obviously he wasn’t expecting tourists at this time of year.

There are a couple of food booths at this market and we buy cheese and saucisson. Carol buys a mezzaluna. We are becoming used to the morning stop for espresso, cappuccino and in CJ’s case, tea. Today’s stop is very leisurely. CJ wants to get some postcards and the shops are closing. When we get to the shop, the postcard stands have already been brought back into the shop. A stationary holder is draped over the circular holder. As he tries to rotate the circular holder, the stationary holder temporarily draped over it crashes to the floor depositing about a hundred post cards all over the floor. We begin to help pick them up but it appears the man would just as soon we pay for our couple of cards and get out and let him get to lunch.

We are in search of an old church surrounded by a Spanish fort. It is located in the mountains above Gravedonna in the small village of Peglio. The view of the lake from the fort is spectacular. Spying a village farther up the mountain, we head up in search of lunch. We stop at a small bar/restaurant, Trattoria Aquila d’oro di Graziella - Plinio. It is in Dosso Del Liro. They have only panini (sandwiches). The setting is sublime and we order beer, wine and panini. We request a cheese plate and get four large chunks of assorted cheeses and a basket of bread. The bread is the best yet. I’m sure the proprietress did not expect us to eat it all. Mountains, chickens, roosters, rabbits, stacks of cut wood, and rural rustic Italy surround us. We are in the middle of nowhere. She retrieves our order for additional wine from casks in the basement of their home. This ambiance is impossible to capture in either writing or pictures.

On the way home, we stop to explore a castle CJ noticed during the morning drive. This well-preserved castle turns out to be a private home. CJ is beside himself that this beauty is privately owned. Oh that it were his. We explore the steep narrow passageways of the village that eventually lead to the water. We identify a restaurant for the evening. CJ takes the car into Menaggio to refuel while everyone else naps back at the apartment. When he stops in town for postcards he notices curious signs on the quay. There will be no parking the next day from 0600 to 1400.

The selected restaurant in the castle village is closed for the season. As we drive south to search for another restaurant, we pass many police and two roadblocks one on each side of the Grand Hotel I di Tremezzo. Shortly thereafter, we pass a motorcade with many official vehicles, security vehicles, and press buses. We recognize a motorcade from our time in the Washington D.C. area. CJ remembers reading in the International Herald about a meeting between the German and Italian presidents. The motorcade must belong to one of them. The paper later reports that Johannes Rau, the German President, is staying at the hotel in Tremezzo.

Dinner is at a lovely lakefront restaurant/hotel in Lenno called Albergo Plinio. We have pasta, osso bucco, risotti, tiramisu, and crème caramel. It is a long dinner culminated with an offer of a gratuitous grappa. Acting most American, we as for a limoni substitute. CJ has begun having back problems.

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