How to flirt with Italy

Righto, now that the washing is done I can tell you all about our European adventure to Italy.

In a word – fabulous, and given I am not the kind of person to say ‘fabulous’ you should really sit up and listen when I say that.

The Dane and I have been to Italy before.  BBB to the best of our knowledge has not.  Making it our first family trip to Italia.  Hurrah for firsts.

We flew into Milan and then travelled by car to Lake Como, Italy’s third biggest lake.  And home to much money & wealth.  Day trips from our base in Lierna (on the shores of Lake Como) included Varenna, Bellagio, Mandello de Lario (home of Moto Guzzi motorcycle factory) and Bergamo.

Things we loved:

  • The scenery – ridiculously Italian.
  • Food – fresh, delicious and plentiful
  • The company – meeting friends from New Zealand
  • The local baker – great buns.

Things we didn't love so much:

  • Milano-Malpensa airport.  It’s nasty.
  • Car rental at Milano-Malpensa airport – ridiculous & nasty wait time.  It took us over an hour waiting in queue to just ‘check in’ and sign forms before being allowed to pick up car.  Not ideal ever let alone when traveling with a baby.  We could have flown back to Copenhagen almost in the time it took us to get our rental car.  We were with Avis but every other car rental company at the airport had similar horrendous queues. Big question of the day - how has the car rental industry not progressed with the times?  There must be a better way.
  • Tunnels – no one told me Lake Como was surround by 40km + of tunnels which have the unfortunate habit of swallowing you and your car and not releasing you until you’ve gone past the town you are supposed to be staying in.  Mind boggling engineering that makes you wonder what all the fuss is about Transmission Gully in Wellington.
  • Traffic – it's crazy. 

For those who want more detail on the things we liked read on.  For those who need to get back to work and/or updating their Facebook profile, skip to the bottom click the like button and write a nice comment saying how much you miss us and enjoy our updates.

 The scenery

It’s now been 6 months since we moved from New Zealand to Denmark.  In that time my senses have slowly become de-sensitised to our new city landscape of high density housing and the skyline being dominated by large brick apartment buildings.  All of which originally jarred my senses when we arrived in March.  Previously I had (and took for granted) the view of the Hutt River, Wellington Harbour and surrounding hills and mountains and endless green stuff (where stuff equals grass, trees, shrubs, bushes etc that stay green all year round).   So when we arrived at Lake Como, with a giga-normous mountain at the back of our house I realised what I had been missing.  Views. Denmark is an extremely flat country.  In Copenhagen in particular you never see hills or anything in the background/horizon.  In fact its pretty difficult to ever get a vantage point to look down at the city (you need to climb a tower to do that).

In addition to the mountains surrounding Lake Como, the lake itself was gorgeous.  But as if that wasn’t enough those Italians have then gone and built beautiful stone buildings around the lake and planted gorgeous gardens giving ridiculously beautiful photo opportunities.  Ridiculously Italian is what we’ve been calling it.  Ridiculously beautiful and amazing. 

Food – fresh, delicious and plentiful

If you’re living in New Zealand at the moment you are perhaps also guilty (as was I) of taking fresh produce for granted.  I miss the simple joy of a Pak n Save fruit and vegetable section.   In Copenhagen you typically buy fruit and vegetables pre-wrapped. Courgettes, brocolli, cucumbers etc. You don’t often get the opportunity of filling your own bags with the produce you want.  The ‘farm gate to plate’ travel time is significantly longer in Denmark with produce coming by truck from around Europe and being distributed on mass through the supermarket chains.  I haven’t quite worked out exactly why the freshness is so different (I have my agricultural advisor investigating) but I’m definitely not used to carrots going black after a couple of days in the fridge after buying them. 

So while in Italy, I had a produce re-awakening due to the great growing conditions in Italy.  Tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, courgettes, olive oil, fresh bread etc etc.  A bit of a clichéd Italian shopping list but all of it tasted great, was cheap and really easy to get.

Oh and THE COFFEE!  The Dane and I had our best coffee (& cheapest) since leaving New Zealand 6 months ago.  Dear Denmark – why is espresso coffee so difficult (& expensive) for you?

The Company

I have several great mates and I was honoured that I was able to meet up with this one in particular as she was one of the first to meet BBB.

The only down side was that not more of my great mates were able to also be there.  I know many of you would have loved Lake Como also.  Next time x.

The local baker

If you ever visit Lierna be sure to visit the local bakery – as well as good buns he also offers really good sightseeing advice as well as loaning guidebooks.  The boys did well on our first day to find this gem and strike up a conversation with friendly baker.

Overall it was a great holiday for our family with BBB as per normal rolling with the changes amazingly and adapting to the new environment (such is the theme of BBB).  Our only trouble with her was her constant flirting with Italian waiters.

 Flirting BBB style

Flirting BBB style

 

Would I recommend Lake Como as a destination. Yes. 
Would we go back.  Yes.
Did we meet and have a Nespresso at George Clooney’s? No.
How many handbags did I buy? Two.