Friday, May 08, 2009

Lago di Como aka Lake Como & Update

Last weekend was a holiday weekend for Zurich (remember the happy Socialist Parade day - May 1st ?) so we took advantage of the extra time and headed south - Italy.

I took a 'few' pictures and will share a 'few.'

I had the opportunity to visit Lake Como last year with my mom and her friend and was happy to take the family down. No, we didn't get to see George. Although I still have an open invite to Mr. Clooney for coffee. Nespresso, of course. And if you don't get the Nespresso ads in the US, I'm sorry for the inside joke. But I am prepared, just in case. :)

Anyhooooo, we stayed in the same hotel as last year - they have a family room, Yippee! And the price is most excellent for this part of the world - hotel is clean, typical European breakfast included and I slept well (enough). It's an old hotel and can be a bit noisy depending on your neighbors - ours were watching Italian TV 'til well past 11pm and watching again by 7am.

We had a great terrasse and the girls enjoyed reading/playing DS's in the mornings. We stayed in a small village (don't know that I'd call it a village even - how about point on the Lake?) called Cadenabbia which is located near Tremezzo (actual village) across from Bellagio. Take a look at Lake Como sometime on a map - it's huge and the deepest lake in Northern Italy. They have an extensive ferry system which is the best way to make your way around the lake. You can drive. If you like a constant adrenaline rush, close calls and long waits in traffic - oh, and you might drive around for hours looking for a parking place only to have it taken by a much quicker, ruthless Italian driver.

I drove our car to the hotel, parked and didn't get back into it until we returned home. That is the way to drive in Como - my personal opinion.

Lake Como is situated in the middle of mountains - everything goes straight up from the Lake. Breathtaking. Looking toward Bellagio from Tremezzo:
From the Villa Carlotta gardens:
Bellagio was crowded - May 1st was a religious holiday for Italy so they were all out enjoying the sunshine and gelato. I didn't see any Socialist parades or burning buildings. It was very nice. :)

The roads around the lake are very narrow. Add bicyclists, tour buses and drifting Italian drivers and that's where the adrenaline rush comes in. There is one village along Lake Lugano you go through as you head toward Lake Como that we were sure we'd be in trouble in . The road is so narrow, they drop the center line and there are corner mirrors so you can hope to see if someone is coming at you.
We had to stop up against a cliff and wait for a Tour Bus to manouver past us - not to mention the tunnel that's only wide enough for one vehicle. That's why Fiat does so well there. We did not get an "Italian Scratch" which Bart termed for the side car scratches and rubs we saw on many vehicles. Here's the road in front of the hotel - it's actually pretty wide at this point:
On our way to the city of Como via ferry:
My date and I in the Piazza. Isn't he cute?
Going back to Cadenabbia for the last evening:
Sweet girls in their new hats and scarves:
On the way home (and on our way there), we chose to take the San Bernardino Pass route rather than the typical St. Gottard route. It is a bit longer in time and km's but worth the beautiful views, more relaxing and we don't have to worry about whether the Gottard Tunnel is backed up or not (17km of tunnel - one of the longest road tunnels in Europe - I don't like it).
I took lots of pictures but Bart caught this one (I was still driving and no, I don't take pic's while I drive. Usually.)
Switching drivers at the scenic rest-stop. Family photo op:
Rachel having a good time:
I never get tired of the mountains here. Hope I'm not boring you :)!
Into familiar territory and almost home:
We had a great time last weekend. We have built up so many good family memories here.
It has also been an incredible stressful time. Bart is working 14 hr days and we've added another element of uncertainty. We do have the signed contract finally, as of yesterday, BUT there is a chance that the Swiss Immigration/Permit authorities may deny his work permit (we'll find out in 4 - 6 weeks unless the Firm can wrangle an answer sooner). Thus our permit to live here. Which expires June 30. It is a political/current environment issue, not personal.
So we are uncertain once again - we appreciate your prayers. But you know what we do have: our health, a wonderfully loving family relationship, happy children, a job (whether here or back there), wonderful friends and a God who loves us!
A friend in my Bible study (we are all dealing with uncertainties due to the current economy/world events) sent this via email this morning which I loved:
Oswald Chambers--he was an English writer and died in 1917...his devotion book My Utmost for HIS truly a classic...

April 29
Our natural inclination is to be so precise--trying always to forecast accurately what will happen next--that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing. We think that we must reach some predetermined goal, but that is not the nature of the spiritual life. The nature of the spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty. Consequently, we do not put down roots. Our common sense says, "well, what if I were in that circumstance?" We cannot presume to see ourselves in any circumstance in which we have never been.
Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life--gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it ishould be an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises. When we become simply a promoter or defender of a particular belief, something within us dies. That is not believing God--it is only believing our belief about Him. Jesus said, "unless you...become as little children.." Mat 18:3 The spiritual life is the life of a child. We are not uncertain of God, just uncertain of what He is going to do next. If our certainty is only in our beliefs, we develop a sense of self-righteousness, become overly critical, and are limited by the view that our beliefs are complete and settled. But when we have the right relationship with God, life is full of spontaneious, joyful uncertainty and expectancy. Jesus said, "believe also in Me Jn 14:1, not, Believe certain things about Me...Leave everything to Him and it will be gloriously and graciously uncertain how He will come in--but you can be certain that He will come. Remain faithful to Him.

1 comment:

MOM E said...

Thou shalt not covet thy Grandaughter's hat either! Ah.. the memories those pics brought back. Thanks...