Travels in Italy, Como to Bologna

Lake Como 1

The previous day we had walked east around the lake so today we walked west.  We thought that we might take a boat trip later but even as early as ten o’clock a long queue was beginning to form at the booking office so we decided to leave that until later.  We are not very fond of queues.

So we walked past the boats and the ferry terminal and set out towards the expensive side of the lake where the nineteenth century palaces and villas all enjoy wonderful views across the water.  What a place this must have been before all of the daily tourists arrived.  This was a walk past fabulous houses and gardens, private jetties and boat houses, a place where the European rich would gather for their holidays and show off their wealth.

Gianni Versace lived in Como and so did the singer Madonna and the actor George Clooney, also Julia Roberts, David Beckham, Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta Jones.  It is that sort of place, glamorous and filthy rich.  I am completely unable to explain what we were doing there!

Como Villa 2

As we walked we came across a diversion around possibly the best villa of all on the lake, all fenced off and swarming with security guards, the sort of people who want you to look at them in a funny way so that they have an excuse to punch you in the face.  This was all because this was a party weekend to celebrate the engagement of Isha Ambani and Anand Piramal who are two of the richest people in all of India, probably the world, and the expense here was obscene.

Why Como I wondered, probably because they were too embarrassed to have such a lavish event in their own country in front of the hundreds of thousands of really poor people.

As it turned out these mega-rich people had taken over the whole town for the entire weekend and much of it was off-limits to people like us.  We couldn’t visit the gardens that are normally open to the public, we couldn’t walk down some of the roads in the town because they were cordoned off and worst of all we couldn’t go into the Cathedral because these two Hindus were having an engagement celebration in a Roman Catholic Church and stopping other people going inside.  Filthy rich, dirty money, no manners.  I’m not jealous!

So we kept walking until there was no reason to walk any further and we turned back and walked back the way the same way.  I asked a security guard what was going on and that is how I learned about Isha Ambani and Anand Piramal and got the black eye!

We hoped that the queue for the boat might have magically got shorter but it hadn’t, it was even longer now and as we sat at a pavement bar and had a leisurely coffee it occurred to us that we didn’t really need to go for a boat ride anyway.  We had walked both east and west and as the lake is less than a mile across we were unlikely to see anything different anyway, so we saved the cost of a boat ride and had a beer instead.

Como Cathedral

I liked Como, I had never thought about going to the Italian Lakes before, I always thought that they were for old people, but I am an old person now myself so it seemed the right time to go there.  I didn’t really need three days there I have to say, maybe a day trip out of Milan would have been enough, it is nice but it is not very exciting.

Later we found the inevitable statue of Garibaldi…

Garibaldi Como

We had walked ten miles today along the lakeside.  We dined at the same restaurant, went to bed, had breakfast and left.

This was not a good day on the trains I have to say.  We got on a train to Milan which turned out not to be going to our destination station so we got off half way to change only to find that the train that we wanted had been cancelled so we had to get back on a train to Milan which also wasn’t going to our destination station.  This involved a change  and an irritating delay.  We planned to be in Bologna by early afternoon but now the clock was ticking.

And then things went disastrously wrong and travel plans started to completely unravel.  I bought some tickets for the fast train to Bologna but then got on the slow train to Bologna by mistake.  By a cruel twist of fate two trains were leaving Milan at exactly the same time to Bologna, the fast train was going to Naples, stopping at Bologna but we didn’t understand that so we ignored it and got on a train going only to Bologna.

Sadly it wasn’t only going to Bologna.  The fast train took just an hour, the slow train took nearly three.  The train crawled along like a long distance runner with a pulled muscle, it stopped at every tiny station and remote halt along the way and would occasionally stop in the middle of absolutely nowhere.  As we were wondering why, the modern fast train would suddenly thunder past at the speed of light with a loud whooomp that made our carriage rock with the aftershock and then after a minute or so our old arthritic train would creak back into life, roll backwards for a while and then crawl slowly forward.

The only thing that made me feel better about the whole thing was that another couple a few seats away had made exactly the same mistake.  Finally we limped into Bologna about four hours behind schedule and ignoring the line of expectant taxis walked the mile or so to our accommodation on the edge of the historical centre.

800px-Bologna_sanluca_02

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49 responses to “Travels in Italy, Como to Bologna

  1. Doesn’t sound like one of your better days, but at least there was Garibaldi! 😏

    Liked by 2 people

  2. . . . gee, if only you knew how to drive . . .

    One of the things that really irks me is when money exercises privilege. Mind you, I’m not pissed off at the people with the money but rather at the people who bow to it.

    . . . although I expect the church to behave in such a way, other businesses shouldn’t.

    And, especially public places shouldn’t be swayed by money. I remember an instance here in the states when a portion of a national park was closed to the public because Robert Redford had wanted something or other. Well, screw him! It’s supposed to be a park open to all not just to people with money.

    Anyway, nothing bothers me more than people not all being treated the same.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What irked me the most was the attitude and the obvious contempt for other people who were simply turned away from public places because these people were there!
      These sort of events must be a good money-spinner for the town!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have always wondered if the Italians know that their national hero invented the famous biscuit. I wonder too if anybody has ever tried to walk all the way round Lake Como. That must be more than a day’s stroll, I would think.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Slow trains are often the best, one of my local favourites is Barrow to Carlisle up the Cumbrian coast, not as glamorous as Bologna, more rugged than glamorous!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Como is rich yes but not all like any other city. there are and there aren’t. the drive to Bologna is nice thus, and for me better city to visit… Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your profile picture has turned green 🙂 I like that last photo

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ah, trains in Italy! A very long time a good, back in Interail days, a friend and I caught the slow train to Firenze….slow? A snail would have beaten it

    Liked by 1 person

  8. We were told, while in Italy, that Kim Jong-un is often in Portofino, and the town closes for him.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I derive a wicked pleasure in hearing about a day gone wrong, because it makes me feel better about my own disasters while traveling. Well, now that you’ve gotten the bad day out of the way, you know that the next several will be brilliant.

    I’m sure the beer was the better investment, at that point. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m enjoying your posts on your travels in Italy, it’s nice to be reminded about Italy from an outside perspective sometimes. But, did you really get a black eye?

    Liked by 2 people

  11. auw… at least you arrived in Bologne sound and safe:)
    Btw, it was crazy about closing the cathedral to public for such an engagement especially when the person are not even catholic. I personally do not like place which is way touristic and many people. Not good when it gets cordon off everywhere.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Used to work for a wedding videographer. When his budget got tight he always wished for an Indian wedding. They lasted for days and the parents actually want you to overcharge them, so they can brag about how much they paid. I also do some work for a piano teacher and apparently they have a completely opposite opinion of child enrichment. They are not through bargaining until they have insulted you.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Wow these pictures are amazing!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. And here I was thinking Bologna was some sort of Italian Sausage

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Great spots, in an amazing country. Have a great time, Andrew!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I absolutely loved Como and I am young haha. But I agree, Como is a day trip out of Milan. I think I would have gotten bored if we would have spent a few days there. Love the photos. Italy is a beautiful country and I am trying to go back!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Lake Como is truly a place where the other half lives. I did a day trip out from Milan and was hoping that I would bump into George Clooney!!! ^_^

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Italy looks beautiful! I have heard great things about Lake Como.

    Blessings,
    Ann Marie Ruby | https://annmarieruby.com

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Omg, these pics make me feel like visiting Italy ❤ great post!

    Like

  20. I love this article, Andrew… I’m glad I’m not the only one that has had some of these frustrating days in Italy but it does make for a good story… Lake Como is beautiful as are your photos.

    Like

  21. Thanks Margie. As I said I didn’t like the north of Italy nearly as much as the south. Earlier in the year we went to Naples and never mind Sorrento that is a place that I would definitely return to!

    Like

  22. Travelling is therapeutic!! It was a fun read indeed! Do read my article on travelling.Travelling on a tight budget https://thoughtsoftharun.wordpress.com/2018/05/22/travelling-on-a-tight-budget/
    Thank You

    Like

  23. Awesome post! I can’t wait to go to Italy!

    Like

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