We are now in Italy, and the girls are being read to, for sleep, at 10:45 p.m. I just had a cold shower and got internet access in our room here, in Como Sud. We’re a bit away from the action around the lake, which is why the hotel had rooms available, and why it’s much cheaper than the other hotels. We ambled around the vicinity here earlier, but it was a bit sketchy, and we felt we were being watched by the locals. So we wisely decided to get back into the car and drive to the lake, for dinner. I was terrified to get back into the car after a series of stressful events earlier, at the end of a six hour day driving.
One of the highlights of our day was stopping in Switzerland at a rest area, where we discovered a restaurant called Marché, and had sandwiches out on a patio. The girls ate yogurt, which seems to be all they eat here, and I had a sandwich with hardboiled egg, cheese, mustard, and pickles on it. We got gas and a map of Italy, then continued on toward Zurich. The landscape changed dramatically, and the scenery from the motorway got a lot more interesting once we reached Zurich: expansive views of the Alps, small villages, waterfalls. Somehow, Dawn and I managed to balance the act of navigating, driving, and constantly paying attention to the signs to make sure we were on-route. We also managed the kids from the front seat, and Charlotte got an hour-long nap. I caught Lily drooling at one point too, with her head nodding forward. We listened to Reute Due (Radio Two, I think) and experienced the Gotthard Tunnel, which went on for about 20 minutes (17KM). The monotony got to me after a while.
Miraculously, we made it to Como with our directions from Mappy.com, but then spent an excruciating 45 minutes trying to find our hotel. Our directions were effectively useless, because we entered from the north rather than the south entrance to town. The name of the street for our hotel wasn’t on the small map we had, either, so we couldn’t really navigate. We decided to exit the town and head south for the A9, toward Milano, and that worked.
The hotel isn’t great, but it’s clean and the guy at the front desk was very nice, and spoke English. That goes a long way at the end of a long day. He directed me around to the back of the hotel, to a gate where he buzzed me in with the car, then I parked and brought our things upstairs. I had to just lay down for a bit and space out to some TV to relax, before we went out.
After being spooked by the neighborhood, which has a fair amount of graffiti and sketchy guys standing around, we got back in the car and drove to the lake. We were lucky to find parking, and narrowly avoided getting towed, having first parked in an area reserved for residents. Then we found a pizzeria that would have us at quarter to 9, and as we waited for the server Charlotte finally pooped (constipated); Dawn managed to change her in the bathroom with Charlotte standing. We then ordered drinks and dinner, and I had my first Negroni in Italy. I was surprised to find it tasted exactly the way I make them back home, from the recipe I got in Bon Appetit. Our salads were fantastic, and they brought us bottles of Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar to dress them.
We walked up and down the lake after dinner and marveled at all the young families, and young kids out in strollers, everywhere. There was heat lightning behind the hills in the distance, and a big red cross on top of one of the ridges. It’s 11 and the kids aren’t going to bed. I need to go.