Gniocchi

Gniocchi

Calamari

Calamari

From speed boat

From speed boat

From speed boat

From speed boat

From speed boat

From speed boat

From the speed boat looking back at the villa

From the speed boat looking back at the villa

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Wonderful large windows looking out to Lake Como on three sides of the villa

Wonderful large windows looking out to Lake Como on three sides of the villa

Villa dining room

Villa dining room

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Murano glass chandelier inside villa library/study

Murano glass chandelier inside villa library/study

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150 year old fig vines

150 year old fig vines

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Good buddies.

Good buddies.

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The Villa boat dock

The Villa boat dock

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The grounds of Villa dell Balbianello

The grounds of Villa dell Balbianello

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Our hotel Albergo Milano

Our hotel Albergo Milano

Back at Varenna

Back at Varenna

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The "Dead Christ"

The “Dead Christ”

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The church in Ballagio

The church in Ballagio

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Ballagio "streeets"

Ballagio “streeets”

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Bellagio

Bellagio

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Lake scenes

Lake scenes

Chowing down with old friends at Quatro Pass

Chowing down with old friends at Quatro Pass

I am a day behind. This posting is Sunday,October 27.  It’s Reformation Sunday and we wake up to church bells ringing throughout the misty lake air.  It is misty and some light rain throughout the morning but Lake Como in the rain and mist is eerily beautiful.  The rain is supposed to increase so we had some jobs to perform before it got too wet.  After breakfast at the hotel we packed up our computers and dirty laundry and caught a ferry over to the little town of Ballagio.  While we had the laundry going we went over to a little internet café and had some fast wifi.  I will certainly never take THAT for granted again!  Over some cappuccino and biscotti we were able to catch up on surfing and communications – including getting the last 2 day blogs up.  It was so much faster than the hotel wife’s.  After all our work was done we walked around the town and looked at the shops and the one catholic church. I took a couple pictures of this church which is one of the best examples of Romanesque = Lombard architecture.  It’s construction goes back to 1580.  I found “The Dead Christ” under the altar table interesting.  According to tradition, it belonged to a Spanish settlement at the tip of Lake Como: during a flood of the Adda river it was swept away into the lake; some fishermen from Bellagio found it and put it up for adoration in their own church.

We also found a new piece of luggage which should last this time. So with our clean clothes, computers and luggage we took the ferry back to drop things of in our room then got right back on another ferry to the town of Lenno to visit the Villa del Balbianello.  As we were getting off the ferry we heard a voice behind us say something about FedEx pilots everywhere.  Bruce turns around and sees an old Navy buddy who he also flew with at FedEx – Dave Wright!  He was on a Milano layover with another FedEx pilot and his wife…..and they were staying at our hotel! Dave has actually been following my blog but had no idea we were here. Talk about a small world!!  The five of us joined up and walked to the other side of town to see this Villa where they filmed a Star Wars 2 scene and a Casino Royale scene.  It was a great tour with quite a history.  Built in the 1700’s by a Cardinal as a quiet summer residence.  The most recent owner was a count who died in 1988 and donated this villa to an Italian foundation.  Count Monzino was a fervent collector and explorer and has some wonderful art pieces and souvenirs from his famous expeditions which include Mount Everest and the North Pole.  The gardens are especially beautiful!  By this time it was late and one of the ferry’s stopped.  So between us we pitched in and got a speed boat to the dock in Lenno – since the guy could not be bribed to take us back to our town across the lake – then we had to take a fast taxi for a 10 minute ride to another town where we were just in time to catch a boat back across the lake to Varenna and our hotel.  Phew!  finally!  We then enjoyed a fantastic meal with good friends at the restaurant right next door.  Just a wonderful day!

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