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Italy

Lake Como

Day 11.

A travel day and we zigzagged our way out of the tallest mountains, high over a pass and then down into the valley below.

The mountains are forest covered, with pale craggy rocks. But everything is getting smaller as we head down. We find ourselves on a busy road lined with boxy shops, American style strip malls. We zoom along and look past the road to see terraces of vines and green hills beyond. Then we find ourselves in long tunnels and catch glimpses of the lake until suddenly it’s our exit and we are at Varenna.

We luxuriate again in the tourist world. We find beautiful lake views and more hungry mosquitoes in need of our blood.

At night, the crescent moon is orange and it sinks slowly over the dark lake. Mars and Venus appear as we go to bed, our stomachs full and our bones weary.

Winding paths and crooked roads

People sing and dance and crow

A crescent moon all red in hue

Mars is high and Venus low

Lights they shine across your lake

Twinkling stars

Nothing fake

Dark giants frame our moody world

Crooked roads and winding paths

Lead us back to Como’s past

Day 12.

We explore Varenna at Lake Como and the grand old houses and hotels with formal gardens, signifying something of a time gone by. We take the ferry over the lake to Bellagio and its shops, narrow streets and tourists. We hear voices from the USA and from all over the world.

Back at Varenna it’s a day of two weddings. The parties go on all day and late into the night. In our hotel we had to walk through the wedding reception in our bathing suits to get to the lake to swim. That was the most inappropriately dressed moment of our lives. We swam in the lake and a family of swans drifted past my bobbing head, quite oblivious to my presence in the surging cool water.

Verenna is the place I’d go

Never to Bellagio

Bellagio has all the fame and yet it’s not for me

Its name is known throughout the world

And yet with tourists it’s beset

While Verenna is more sweet and neat

Its streets with less retail

It’s built on rock like Bellagio too

And so, the two seem same

But Bellagio has lost its soul

While Verenna’s character remains

Day 13.

Early before the heat we climbed up behind the town of Varenna to find a spring of water that runs to the Lake. For us it was just a trickle, but you could see that after rain or at different times of the year Italy’s shortest river could be a torrent. We hiked on up to the small castle Vezio where some hawks and owls are kept. They looked a bit concerned about the tourists; we marveled at their beauty. We spent the afternoon lounging about the hotel with the gentle sound of the lake constantly lapping at the shore.

Goodbye Como we love you so

Your misty shores we do adore

Your jagged cliffs we’ll also miss

Your lapping waters we’d be remiss

If we did not appraise your people

Of which there seems to be no equal

So, adieu good friends we say goodbye

It’s with this I sigh

And try not to cry


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