I hope you all had a fantastic week!
It’s Sunday evening and I came back from a dinner and a bit of live music in our local bar. We had a wonderful weekend in Limassol, spent the morning by the sea and it was only the lack of tourists that reminded me it’s not the middle of the summer. We are enjoying amazing temperatures over 20+C and barely any rain. I do miss the seasons, but a winter like this one is certainly something you will not complain about.
But now back to Italy.
I have a handful of posts ready and I really want to get them out of the way before Christmas (fingers crossed)! Don’t worry, I have more local adventures ready to share with you too, some cool places to discover and new restaurants to try out. If there is something you would like to see more of, please do leave a comment below!
We will begin where we left of last time – in Menaggio.
Taking a boat ride on Lake Como was probably on top of the list when I was coming here. That was until I found out how painfully expensive it is. The hotel we were staying at told us that a 10 minutes ride across the lake will set us back 80 eur, so that kind of buried our hopes to jump on one of the James Bond style boats for a spin. You can rent one of the cheaper boats too and drive them yourself, but that’s not what I had in mind.
It was a special trip, for my husband’s birthday, so we ended up hiring one of those posh boats.
We found a local company in Menaggio (Menaggio water taxi) and our hotel guy booked us a one hour ride with a driver.
The boat looked as flashy as the price they asked us to pay.
Venezia 28 was waiting for us, along with Lucas, our driver. The boat is worth a small fortune, think of a prize of a new Ferrari or a small villa. One of the reasons they don’t hand over the keys to any tourists.
We hope on the boat along with a bottle of Champagne and a couple of glasses.
The beige letter interior was luckily a good fit with a Champagne as we wouldn’t be able to drink red wine in there. Lucas was a friendly local guy and knew the every corner and every village of the lake. He was able to tell us all owners of the biggest villas and point out all the celebrity properties. You can’t wish for a better guide than that.
Hop in and take a ride with us!
Jetting off from Menaggio…..
… and checking out some of the poor people’s homes.
As you cruise around you will see houses that you’ve only seen in movies. I can’t imagine what it feels like to wake up every day in a place like this!
The villages are scattered by the side side of the lakes but also up in the steep mountains towering over Lake Como.
Can you spot the little church on the mountain?
There it is!
I hope they do have a lift to go there!
Shortly after Menaggio we passed Tremezzina a it’s famous hotel Grand Hotel Tremezzo.
Located at the side of the lake, the most prominent feature of the hotel is it’s floating pool at the lake.
Also located in Tremezzina is Villa Carlotta, another important landmark which I visited a day later.
Our boat attracted a lot of attention, so we got celebrity treatment as a bonus.
People were stopping at the promenades and got up from benches at the park to take a picture of the boat. I don’t blame them, it was a beauty.
That brings us to the star of the show – Villa del Balbianello.
Famous for the movies that were shot here – James Bond and Star Trek (and a few other) and it’s cascading gardens and amazing views. It’s truly a breathtaking place that looks like a staged movie scene. I took a trip there on the next day and below are a few preview photos. Full update on that experience in the next post.
Before I knew it we reached half of our journey and were slowly turning back.
The sun started to go down and the wind has calmed down. The lake was completely calm and still.
It was only the purring of our flashy ride that disturbed the peace.
As we drove next to the villages and villas, Lucas pointed out all the famous residents in Lake Como.
If you’re thinking of the most known one – George Clooney, we didn’t see his house as that’s in the Como village (apparently the location of the house got so popular that the local council introduced a fine for larger crowds of people gathering there). George is said to spend at least 4 months in the year in here, riding his motorcycle, boat and visiting the nearby restaurants.
Lucas showed us houses that belong to some of the richest people in Italy and around the world, the Pirelli family, Versace, the Guiness family, plenty of architects, designers and many others.
One of the people I didn’t have a clue had a house in here was Richard Branson.
Below is his property. Quite the beauty, isn’t it?
After our little virtual property window shopping, it was time to head back to Menaggio.
Just in time to finish off the bubbly and take a last few pictures of our boat.
The whole trip was accompanied by my husband grinning from ear to ear like a five year old on a rollercoaster for the first time.
If given chance, I think I would be very quickly exchanged for the boat.
We passed Bellagio on the way back, one of the prettiest villages on the lake.
Shame it greeted us with torrential rains when we arrived.
We waved at the crowds gathering to catch the ferry and headed of to Menaggio to drop off the boat.
If you ever want to experience a proper Italian boat, this one would tick all your boxes.
The vintage inspired interior, beige leather all around and the beautiful wood craftsmanship make this boat a piece of art.
It was a James Bond – style ending to a birthday adventure and an experience I will remember for a long time.
If you want to spoil yourself on your trip to Lake Como, call Menaggio Water Taxi – these guys know the lake in and out.
Pop back in on Wednesday to join me for a stroll in Villa del Balbianello – no walking required!