There were plenty of ‘magic moments’ in store for us in Como, but first we needed to get there.
Travelling from Verona by train meant we had to change in Milan with just a ten minute gap between arrival and departure. I knew from past experience that Milano Centrale is vast so speed would be of the essence.
Unfortunately ten minutes turned into three due to a delay waiting for a platform (thanks for reminding me of my London Bridge commute, I thought!), but fortunately our train arrived at platform 7 and the train to Como departed from 9.
We therefore legged it and jumped aboard as the signal whistle to leave blew shrilly. Phew, another close call to compare with our Avignon to Lyon experience two years prior.
Arriving at six, we checked in at the very agreeable Hotel Plinius for two nights before hot footing it lakeside for a G&T and a prosecco.
The road that ran alongside was actually transformed into a warm paddling pool due to the high water, a facility that children, adults and dogs were all too happy to avail themselves of.
So tired were we after our travel exertions thus far that we headed to bed after a walk around the lake and a stop at the supermarket.
We noted the funicular up to the village of Brunate that we had not known about beforehand and decided to partake the next day, alongside a boat journey on the lake.
Suitably refreshed, I awoke early to go for a wander in the morning light. I love a place when it is just waking up, when cafe tables are being laid out, shops begin opening their shutters, bakeries are doing a brisk trade and restaurants commence taking in their fresh fish deliveries.
The brilliant cathedral was open and a choir already singing to a small congregation. I loitered for ten minutes, frequently closing my eyes to drink in the vibe. wonderful!
After an excellent late breakfast where we were attended to by one of the cheeriest hotel breakfast ladies ever, we sauntered off to the hill railway.
Trains ran every 15 minutes, taking 9 minutes to complete their journey, so we were not in a particular hurry and took pictures and selfies galore as the sun shone brightly and boats went about their business.
Everybody loves a funicular and this one that had been operating since 1894 was no exception. Where to get the best seat?
The views from the top were wonderful on the clear day. There was hardly anybody else about as we ambled past millionnaire’s villas and rows of colourful flowers to where we were promised the best panorama.
It was indeed fabulous, even if our peace was shattered a little by two very chatty Japanese ladies whose lunchtime conversation can now be heard all over the videos that I took!
After a coffee with a view, we descended and romped over to jetty four to buy boat tickets to Torno.
The €5.50 return funicular ticket was voted as money very well spent and we were confident that the boat journey would be equally great.
It is possible to get to other famous towns on the lake such as Varenna, Lecco and Bellagio but we just wanted the experience of a short jaunt and 30 minutes each way seemed perfect, even if we had absolutely no idea what Torno had to offer.
We docked at four other small destinations before pulling up at our stop. The lake was millpond like and the scenery lovely. We were the only non-locals on the way out and therefore the only ones without bags of shopping.
Torno turned out to be extremely pleasant with a picturesque little harbour frequented by squadrons of ducks, together with a beautifully decorated church. Again we agreed the return fare (€6.80) was well worth it.
We sat at Torno’s premier hotel/restaurant (Albergo Ristorante Vapore) with a comfy seat right by the water. It was now 3.30 and we were disappointed that the kitchen was closed but compensated ourselves with local beer for me and coffee & cake for Mrs W.
For the next 90 minutes we just chilled, something you are supposed to do on holiday but which I often forget to do in trying to pack so much in. As usual I have Mrs W to thank for being my sense!
Today happened to be the longest day and a full moon as well, the first time for seventy odd years that the two have coincided. With all that fresh air and a fair few glasses downed, we opted for an early night rather than taking in the sun and moon combo. Next day we would be off to Switzerland……..