We touched down in Milan at about 8:30am local time. Looking out the window of our taxi at the big blue sky was in direct conflict with what time my body said it was. Even when you’re excited and running on adrenaline, you can really feel a 6 hour time difference. Especially when you’ve been up for 20 hours already.
Knowing that we’d be tired, we scheduled our first day in Italy to be a day of rest. We picked up our rental BMW’s and traveled just a quick hop, skip and a jump up the autostrada to Lake Como where we’d made a reservation at the Hotel Metropole & Suisse.
Though check in time wasn’t until mid-afternoon, they were kind enough to allow us to enter our room early. It was a sweet and clean little room with a double balcony looking out over the lake. We immediately dropped our gear and threw open the doors to get a view of our place for the night.
After my excited ooh-ing and ahhh-ing, we cleaned ourselves up and set of to explore the city on foot. We ambled down the stone streets, looking down small corridors. We ducked in to the beautiful and centuries old Duomo. We sat and sipped beer at a piazza cafe and did a tall piece of people watching. People are basically the same everywhere but as my man Vincent Vega would say, “…it’s just – it’s just there it’s a little different.” Like – European men sit with their legs crossed in a way that American men just do not.
Motos, Motos, Everywhere!
To say that Italy is a motorcycle friendly country would be the understatement of the century. Motorcycles and scooters are part of the very fabric of everyday living. Everyone is zipping around on two wheels, with luggage boxes mounted on everything. There is no “you don’t put a topbox on a sportbike,” foolishness going on.
Scooters and bikes park in moto-specific stalls, sidewalks or wherever they fit. They are discouraged from taking up car spaces. Riders pass leapfrogging around cars in traffic and up to the front of traffic lines at stoplights and no one blinks an eye. No one gives you the finger, no one honks. If you can fit your two-wheels somewhere ahead of where you are now, put them there! It was a lot to get used to because it goes against the grain of what I know in my daily life.
In one of my strokes of brilliance, I pushed for us to take a tour of the lake by boat. In the warm sun. After being awake for more than 24 hours at this point. On a gently rocking boat. I’m sure the tour was lovely. Hopefully I didn’t keep anyone else awake with my snoring.
As the sun began to set, we really started to run out of gas. Though it felt like a defeat, I just had to take a quick snooze. Back to the hotel we went and slipped in a nap for a few hours. By the time we awoke it was dark and everything but the very crowded cafes was closed.
We again set off on foot strolling through the old walled city. It was now past 11pm. Our bellies were growling and in a strange turn of events the last remaining thing open for us to grab a quick bite to eat in the beautiful Italian city of Lake Como was… McDonalds.
It could have been the power and wonder of travel, of this gorgeous city, of Italy itself but I will tell you this~ sitting next to the lake eating that flimsy McDonalds cheeseburger at 11:30 at night was pretty romantic.