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Report 915: Lake Como and Bernina Express

By SeaJay from VA, Spring 2002

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Page 7 of 11: Thursday, April 18

Tom and CJ are up before 7. CJ is still having back problems so any thought he had of driving to St. Moritz to ski today are shelved. We are trying to make the early ferry to Bellągio. We just make it through Menaggio before the authorities seal it off for the German/Italian summit. We watch from the ferry landing as the Italian president arrives by boat from Bellągio. His motorcade departs the city shortly before the departure of our ferry.

Bellągio is for shopping. We all agree that its scenery and attractiveness are grossly overrated. Upon arrival we separate and plan to meet for lunch in about two and a half hours at 1230. By 1130 our shopping is completed and we find Tom and Kathy already well through a beer and glass of wine at a waterfront café. We join them for a drink. During drinks, a number of men in black suits come walking past us on the street. Many of the younger men have the look of our Secret Service, particularly the earpiece and constant scanning of the area around them. Our waiter tells us it’s the Italian President, Carlo Ciampi. We now realize that the motorcade of the previous evening belonged to the German President Johannes Rau. Here is Carlo Ciampi waving at us in Bellągio when he observes CJ taking his picture.

Tom and Kathy have discovered the Pizzeria – Ristorante La Grotta and we have lunch. Good wine, good pasta, carpaccio, and pizza. The waiter gives us his card and asks us to send him postcards from our homes. He collects them. As we are finishing lunch, Tom checks the ferry schedule. If we hurry, we may make the next ferry. If we miss it, we must wait for two hours. We pay the bill abruptly and run for the ferry. We succeed by a few minutes and return to Menaggio. We watch the ferry operators preparing for lunch with their bottles of wine. Other ferries are stopped in the middle of the lake. It appears they stop service for lunch and just drift about the lake while eating and enjoying wine. We also have Secret Service guys on the ferry with us. In town we see them preparing for the return of the dignitaries. We return to our apartment before they arrive.

It is a beautiful shirtsleeve day. We all do a little napping. The proposed dinner and shopping trip to Lagano is scrubbed. Tom and CJ go for a walk through Nebiallo, take some pictures of the leaning tower, discover numerous lake fish along the shore which are clearly visible, and run out of film (Tom) and power (CJ) when they get to the waterfalls. We return to Menaggio to buy dinner. Kathy has now mastered the pay phone at the Menaggio bar and calls in a reservation for tomorrow’s dinner.

Tom has found that our TV has cable. We tune in to CNN Europe and hear that someone has flown a plane into the Pirelli building in downtown Milan. This may really upset our parents.

At the apartment, we have cheese and saucisson appetizer, and a pasta and salad main course. We all begin to fall asleep just as the fire begins to perform admirably. The fire caught much faster tonight since we dried some of the wood with the fire the previous evening.

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