A page a day

A professional writer's private thoughts

Rainy day on Lake Como

We woke up to rain in Monterosso al Mare and it followed us all the way north, past Genoa and Milan. to Lake Como. (Italy has the most tunnels of any country I’ve ever visited, even more than Norway!) Took a nail-biting drive along the Bellagio side of the lake to reach this picturesque village with cobbled streets. Must give great credit to my brother Will for his capable chauffeuring abilities, with his wife Abigail in the co-pilot’s seat.

Rain has continued all day. Nevertheless, we’ve escaped the crowds. There are people here but nowhere near the multitudes we congregated with in the Cinque Terre. Walked around the city streets, enjoyed a lakeside afternoon repast, and now relaxing a bit. Mark Twain stayed at our hotel, the Hotel Metropole, while traveling here in 1867.

He wrote in Innocents Abroad: “Our hotel was at the water’s edge, or at least the front garden was at the water’s edge. We used idly spend the time walking among the specks of brushes and smoking in the twilight. Our look wandered far away up to Switzerland and the Alps seemed so immense that, looking at them, we felt an indolent desire not to look so closely. We were satisfied with the contact with water: we used to go down the small steps, we immersed ourselves and swam in the lake, sometimes we used to board a sweet little boat and sailed around among the reflection of the stars. Our evenings used to end up with a lively billiard game on one of the usual old and dirty tables. At midnight we used to eat our second lunch in the spacious bedroom; a smoke on the porch which overlooked the lake, the garden, the mountains; this was the last activity of the day. Then everybody went to sleep between the scented sheets, drowsy but excited by the agitated alternation of different sceneries which used to crowd in our mind..”

We can’t see Switzerland, due to the persistent clouds that aren’t likely to clear before we depart. But it’s lovely to be here nonetheless. Tomorrow we are on to Castelrotto in the Dolomites (Italian Alps).

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