martedì 28 luglio 2009

Como Again

I couldn't leave Milan without one last trip to the lakes, so on Friday J and I packed a picnic and got on a train to Como. From Como, we got the boat up the lake to Argegno, where there is a lakeside lido where you can sit on the grass and jump into the lake. When we got there, though, we discovered that the lido was closed and there was nowhere else that was really suitable for swimming. We sat in the sun, which was so hot we were dripping with sweat just sitting still, and ate our picnic, but after that we could take no more and went into the bar to ask if they could recommend a place to swim. They told us that there was nowhere else in Argegno, but suggested that we took the bus up the road to Grianta, and it turned out to be a very good piece of advice. Grianta is a gorgeous town just down the lakeside from Menaggio, where scenery starts to get even more dramatic and there are great views across the lake to Bellaggio and the mountains. On the edge of the town there are all these incredibly luxurious looking villas with private swimming pools, but normal people like us could go to the small stony beach to swim in the lake.

We didn't get there until about three o'clock, so after our swim there was just time to dry off and get chatted up by the local old men, who were shocked that we were spending the summer in Milan and offered to pick us up and bring us to the lake the next day too (if they had been about thirty years younger it might have been an attractive proposition), before it was time to go and get the bus. We decided to get the bus all the way back to Como so that we had more time at the beach, and it turned out to be a good choice, because the road back was spectacular and you actually see more from the bus than you do from the boat. The man in the bar that sold the bus tickets very kindly exchanged them for us and pointed us in the right direction. I find people in Milan pretty friendly most of the time, but once you get outside the city, the locals put their urban neighbours to shame! My guide book doesn't even mention Grianta as a place to visit and it's hard to find information about the buses up and down the lake without actually being there, so it was entirely thanks to them that we found the place and didn't melt into little pools of sweat for want of a place to swim.

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