It just so happened that our friend Eva Marie's daugher was getting married in Italy the week after our bicycle barge trip to Amsterdam. We weren't invited to the wedding, mind you, but since we were already in Europe, we thought, "Why not hop on over to Italy and party with the wedding group?"
So we bought tickets on Easy Jet from Amsterdam to Milan. We paid extra for a large cabin bag, a small cabin bag and priority boarding for each of us and the cost still came to less than $100 each!
We got to the airport very early for our flight which was delayed, so we had lots of extra time. Tony and BJ made it through security without incident. Our travel companions' bags were both searched but no contraband was found.
We were not allowed to go to the gate so we found some seats and settled in to wait for our flight. We had plenty of time for a nap. After the nap, there was time for some fun. We decided to try our hand at rowing and kayaking on the moving sidewalk.
In the Milan airport, we found a ticket machine and purchased round trip train tickets to Como. We had a little trouble figuring out which track we needed to be on, but managed to find a train going toward our connecting point of Saronno. We sat on the train for awhile waiting for it to take off. Rebecca noticed that someone had dropped a jacket getting off of the escalator. She felt sure the person was on our train, so she ran out and grabbed it, but was unable to find the owner. We left it on the train where it will now probably ride forever!
We all freshened up from the train ride and set out to find dinner. We didn't make it very far until we came upon Al Lungo Lago Ristorante Pizzeria with sidewalk seating next to the lake.
There was an adorable 6 week old puppy at the table next to us that had an accident under BJ's chair. Everyone got a big laugh because it looked like BJ had the accident under her chair.
Momo our server, recommended a delicious local red wine which paired perfectly with our pizza. Rebecca was the picture of sophistication as she tasted the wine.
Momo served us limoncello after dinner as is customary at most restaurants in Italy. We took the short walk back to the hotel after dinner and were in bed by 10PM, early by Italian standards, but we were tired after our day of travel. We told Momo we would be back for dinner the following night.
We were just setting out to do some exploring when we got a message from the wedding group that they had landed and found that the trains were not running due to a strike!
After lunch, the weary travelers headed back to the hotel for a nap. Chick, Rebecca, BJ and Tony decided to take the Funiculore up to the top of the hill to get a nice view of Como. We took our place in line to buy tickets. While we waited, we watched a helicopter delivering building supplies to one of the hillside houses.
We made it through the turnstile and waited outside the funicolare for the doors to open and let us on. A few minues later, a man came out and made an announcement in Italian and people started to leave. We didn't know what was going on, so Chick asked, "Does anyone here speak English?" We finally got an explanation that the funicolare was closed (we think due to the helicoptor delivery service). Chick and Tony stood in line to get our money back while Rebecca and BJ contemplated what to do with our afternoon.
At lunch, we decided that we would take a ferry to Urio which would be close to Laglio. We sent Tony ahead to get the ferry tickets. When we caught up with him, we found that the line for ferry tickets was extremely long. We decided that Rebecca and BJ should stand in line while Tony and Chick went back to get our luggage. It was really hot, so we used BJ's umbrella for shade. There were vendors selling hats and masks, making sure everyone knew of the requirement for an N95 type mask.
We walked up the street to Caffetteria Aurora. Rebecca asked them to make us a charcuterie tray. It was not on their menu but they happily obliged!
About halfway up the hill behind Caffetteria Aurora we found the Botega Del Gusto mini-market where we bought some wine and cheese, and of course, Coke Light for Tony, the addict.
We were just going to sit down and have a glass of wine at one of the inviting tables overlooking the lake but Giuseppe insisted that we have dinner.
The view of the lake from high on the hill was beautiful with all of the terracotta roofs and the bell tower. BJ could see the courtyard next to the hotel so she texted Tony, Chick and Rebecca and asked them to come out for a photo. If you squint, you can see them behind the statue next to the railing in the courtyard.
We hiked back up the hill and found the restaurant BJ had been looking for but it was not open. There was a beautiful view from the patio.
Back at the hotel, Tony grabbed his kindle and sat outside to read. BJ went upstairs to relax and recharge (her phone) for a few minutes when she heard a familiar voice talking to Tony. It was Susan from the wedding group. She had walked over from the wedding venue in Laglio.
BJ and Rebecca were planning to walk to Laglio that afternoon to see the wedding venue so they walked back with Susan.
It was just over a mile and a half to the wedding venue. The streets were very narrow and several times, we plastered ourselves against a wall or ducked into a crevice to avoid getting hit. It was a hot walk, but there was lots to see, even a Posing Like Statues opportunity!
When we got to the Villa Regena Teodolinda where the wedding would be held, they were busy setting everything up.
Rebecca ordered the marinated baby fish from the lake which wasn't her wisest meal choice of the trip.
BJ had the grilled trout and the boys both had pasta dishes.
In Saronno, we found a restroom and an agent to tell us which train to take to the Milan airport. When we got to the airport, Chick called the Hilton Garden Inn and asked where they would pick us up. The hotel was further from the airport than we expected.
BJ's Eagle Creek Cross Roads 22 Travel bag that she purchased in 2009 had 2 "flat tires" on the trip. She's sending it back for its 2nd set of wheels under the Lifetime Warranty and hoping to get it back in time for the next trip.