What a magnificent trip! Arrived home a couple of days ago, but the jet lag hit me a bit harder this time. Still not feeling entirely "on my game", but it was worth the spent energy to be sure! I thought I'd share some of my wonderful experiences about our trip here on the blog, since for me, travel is such a huge part of what inspires me as a painter.
We based ourselves in the village of Bellagio, which is a beautifully situated hillside lake town that looks out over the three arms of Lake Como. If you look at the lake from an ariel viewpoint, it's shape forms an inverted "Y". Bellagio sits right in the middle of that Y, and it is truly the jewel of the lake.
The only difficulty with staying in Bellagio, for us, was getting there without a car. Even with the super-efficient public transportation systems in Italy, there is no direct route to this town. If one has a car (and arguably a lot of nerve), one can drive along the very winding roads and into the village of Bellagio itself. But we opted to be without a car for this trip, since the ferry systems, once there, are excellent. Also the streets in the village are tiny; in some places barely fitting one car, side mirror to side mirror!
So our route was to fly into Malpensa airport (outside of Milan) and then to take the Malpensa express train, change in Saronno (the town famous only because they make the Saronno amaretto cookies) and then arrive in Como. From Como we then took the "rapido" ferry to Bellagio. Even with all of that we still ended up arriving in Bellagio fairly early- around 12:30 local time.
Our hotel pick was Hotel Belvedere, which is situated on a hill at the top of the village. I was initially worried about it being too high up and too far out of reach from the center, but Bellagio is so small that there was no reason for such worries. My only word of caution for those of you who do not pack light, is that Bellagio is a hill town and some of it's "streets" are actually long flights of stairs. In order to get to the hotel from the pier where you are delivered by ferry, you have to either get a cab or lug your luggage up these steep streets.
We opted for the lugging, as we only had two carry on bags and purse and backpack. This way of packing is new to me, and frankly it was a miracle compared to how I have traveled before. But with a week-long trip, it was totally do-able, and I was incredibly grateful on the train, ferry, and stairs!
We were rewarded for our climb with a lovely hotel and a room with a marvelous view and balcony. We both really loved having the balcony. I would get dressed in the morning and go out and sketch and paint, and then Dave would have his time to perform his morning routine before going down for breakfast.
...No, we weren't drinking wine before breakfast! This photo was taken in the early evening before dinner, which was actually the best time to paint because I was completely in the shade. There were a few interesting views from our balcony. This little watercolor sketch is a view looking out to the left side of our balcony, over a marvelous terraced landscape. It is small- 6x8", pen & ink/ watercolor:
To see my oil paintings of Lake Como and other places in Italy, visit my website here.