August 3: Of Scorching Temperatures and a Remote Island

A chorus of church bells rang out over the water today as we set out on an interesting excursion: a ferry boat ride to Isola Comacina, a small island which seems to be tucked into a cove here on Lake Como. The ride out to the island was very scenic. The boat stopped at many villages along the way with red tiled roofs where people basked in the sun on the pebbly beaches. Elegant villas with towering cypress trees and perfectly manicured lawns were being photographed left and right as if the paparazzi were on our boat.

Once we arrived on the island, we followed a wooden boardwalk around the perimeter where families in wooden boats anchored in the shade. Half way around, the trail ascended to the top of the island to the ruins of an old 12th century church. According to signs and evidence of scaffolding inside, renovation work is being done to restore it.

We settled down on some old stones from the original foundation in the churchyard for a picnic. We acquired our goodies - custom made ham and Swiss cheese sandwiches - from Gilardoni Alimentari Gastronomia in Bellagio. Given the weak dollar, bringing your own lunch is very economical and we were not alone in doing so. Italian families with young children were also enjoying their lunch in the shade.

Heading back to the dock along a trail lined with clover and Queen Anne's lace, we stopped at a small lakeside cafe. We were amazed at the number of speedboats on the water. Lake Como has always seemed so tranquil. As we waited in a shady spot for a ferry, tiny salamanders skittered on and off the rocks to take refuge from small children hunting for them under leafy palms.

Back in Bellagio, Lake Como was a beehive of activity this afternoon. Sleek modern speedboats streaked across the lake against the backdrop of tree covered mountains reaching for the sky. All of the waterside cafes were busy serving tall glass dishes heaped with creamy scoops of gelati topped with a miniature paper umbrella. Children gathered longingly around machines churning fresh squeezed lemon icy drinks. Huge ferry boats loaded and unloaded holidaymakers at a record pace. We feel so fortunate to have a breezy room with a balcony right over the water. You must be careful, though. The sun is very intense. Our tiny thermometer reads 97 degrees at 4:30 pm.

Tonight we will stroll down to the water's edge and admire the view. A nice slice of pizza served with a tomato, mozzarella salad garnished with fresh basil will be the perfect way to end the day.

Lago di Como

Sailboats glide effortlessly across the water
as if guided by an invisible wind

Tall mountain peaks reach for the sky
as far as the eyes can see

Children frolic at the water's edge
happily feeding a family of ducks

Lago di Como
It's a place of wonderment and joy


David Zemens said…
Terrific trip report. You have a very engaging writing style and I look forward to living your vacation vicariously through your blog/

Thanks for sharing your trip with the world.

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