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Old 9 Jan 12, 09:23 PM  
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geoffa's Reviews
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Coach trip - "The Voyage of the Damned" - DAY 3

Day 3
I’m going to start today’s report with a view of the sunrise over Lake Como. For December, we are to have 3 really good days of weather - blue skies but a little cold. You need a coat. We are to learn that this is unusual for this time of year. It’s normally grey and damp in this area, but not today. So a great start to our travels.

Isn’t it beautiful?
However, before I continue I must mention Doris – that is NOT her real name. This diminutive lady is on the trip with a friend. They are sat opposite us. The friend is wearing a brace on her wrist. It seems that on a previously recent coach trip she fell down the stairs when leaving the coach and broke her wrist. She’s fine but Doris will turn out to be the moaner of the trip. Before we set off this morning at 8:30 we had a great breakfast. They even put on hot food. Sausages, beans, eggs……….but as far as Doris was concerned – no bacon! She regaled the entire coach about how could they serve a breakfast and yet not include bacon. She would be speaking to the management! Ah! Well.

We settle into our seats and soon coffees with a shot of whisky in them are in welcome hands. We are on our way to Como. The lake has three branches. They radiate out from Bellagio. To the north the lake runs to Domaso and Colico. To the south east it runs down to Lecco and to the south west where we are headed is Como itself. We have to pass along the narrow roads and together with Keith & Jennifer we decide to call the really tight length of road the Via Narrow Bit! And thus the giggles begin. We four are to become the hub of hoots of laughter. Keith is originally from Ashton under Lyne just over the hill from where I was born. Jennifer, his wife is from Durham and has quite a heavy Geordie accent. This will only add to the humour when I start mishearing things! They both live in the North East. Throw in Darrin’s Cornish accent and we have a right old melting pot of dialects.

The run is about 14 miles but will take a good hour because of the twisting narrow roads. It doesn’t help when one woman reverses straight out of her garage in front of the coach. Thank Heaven we all had our seat belts on. Como is in a beautiful setting. The picture below is not mine but it does show the marina etc.

The coach leaves us at the back of the city where the ancient defending walls are. To get to the shoreline is a hoof of about 20 blocks. Parts of the city are medieval and have herring bone brickwork on the upper storeys. Down at street level modern shops sell their wares. Darrin and I find the so called Christmas Market. All ten huts of it.

We two are the only people to make it to the promenade frontage apparently.

The city boasts a Duomo –a cathedral – the Basilica of Sant’ Abonddio. It is has a huge dome and stands proud on the square. One thing I notice throughout the week in Italy is that they are not uptight about you taking photos in their churches and cathedrals. I’m always happy to put a donation in the box but I refuse to be told how much I should put in like they do here in the UK.

Our hotel has supplied everybody with a packed lunch. The bread was like an “oven bottom” bap that I was used to as a child. On one os the most delicious ham – none of that plastic supermarket stuff – and on the other is some local cheese which is very tasty. There’s also an apricot jam filled croissant type pastry and a bottle of water. We all tuck into these as we now motor our way to Lugano in Switzerland.

Big Al tells us that the Christmas Market here is in the min square and sure enough it is. This time there are about twenty stalls but none are overflowing with what I would call Christmas wares. We go walkabout. There is one large department store called Coin Negozi. We picked up some unusual stuff including a Swiss reindeer and two massive Toblerones for our nephews at Euros 15 each. The largest Toblerone you could buy was Swiss Francs 148 – Euro 130 - £ 107 ! It came in a special carrying case with handles.
We found an amazing Italian Charcuterie. Aren’t they the biggest salamis you ever did see?

If meat isn’t your thing look away now – suckling pigs:

We wander around the streets and admire the jet d’eau (water jet) on the lake. It’s not as tall as Lake Geneva’s but it’s spectacular when the sun catches it.

Late afternoon we start head back to our hotel at Cadennabia. Dinner and drinkies beckon. Tonight I am to discover the pleasure of Limoncello!

Oh! And tonight Ladies & Gentlemen I am awarding the yellow card to

Doris - for moaning about the lack of bacon at breakfast.
Cancer -let's kick it in the butt!

Edited at 09:39 PM.
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