Tag: Lake Como

Visiting Italy: Motorcycling from Lake Como to Bormio

Visiting Italy: Motorcycling from Lake Como to Bormio

We awoke long before the revelers of the night before and departed Como heading towards the town of Bellagio. The picturesque town sits at the tip of Lake Como’s peninsula. From there you can catch ferry boats to different points on the lake. Since we were heading northwest to Bormio, we hopped the ferry to Verenna.

Bikes on Bellagio to Verenna Ferry

The view from the ferry Bellagio to Verenna Heading to Bellagio Italy Bellagio Italy from the Verenna Ferry

During this leg of our travels, we would be exposed to many things for the first time. It was the first time we saw the little white signs with the word “tornante” on them. That’s Italian for a hairpin turn. In my travels here on the Northeast coast, the hairpin turn is like seeing a bear in the wild. Sure, they are out there somewhere but you only see them once in a blue moon.

Your Papers, Please

We also experience our first of many border crossings going from Italy to Switzerland. In my mind I suppose I had built the process up to be something a little more complex than just having a man in uniform wave at me and send me through. I guess I figured there would be some passport stamping or something.

Crossing the border from Italy to Switzerland

When I pulled up to the first guard booth and stopped, I looked at the guard he gave a lazy wave. I wasn’t sure if he was saying “hi” or sending me through. So in my amazingly awkward and jerky way, I was like “uhhh, am I okay to go?” I couldn’t hear him very well but I think he said “yah.” Seriously, who wants to assume you’re okay to cross a border if you really aren’t? So, I questioned him again by asking “ok?” and gesturing the universal symbol for moving forward. He gave me an exasperated “ok” and then pointedly said “go!” Fine, fine, I’ll go then. Sheesh! I know he must have thought I was a moron. And well, he just might be right. But that’s part of my charm.

Near the Berninapass heading to Livigno Italy

When we made our way towards St. Moritz and on to Livigno, the mountains began to show us their amazing grandeur. We cut along the roadway that was carved through the rock, gradually rising above the treeline. It is in these moments that you feel so tiny in the world. The beauty that nature presents to you can be so incredibly humbling.

Heading to Livigno Italy Heading towards Livigno Italy Heading towards Livigno

Leaving Livigno heading towards Bormio

We were scheduled to meet Pimmie in the town of Bormio. He was riding down from the Netherlands to spend the week riding with us. It had been over a year since we last saw him, so Kenny and I were both bubbling with excitement.

Heading into Bormio Italy Riding in Bormio Italy Pimmie arrived in Bormio after riding all night

Now we were three.

Kenny and I arrived first at the hotel with enough time to shower and clean ourselves up from the days ride. About an hour later, Pims turned up safely. It was so great to see him again. It felt like no time at all had passed.

Albergo San Lorenzo in Bormio Italy

We spent the rest of the night getting caught up, laughing, relaxing and planning for the following day’s ride. There was a lot to be excited about. From this point on, we would be flying by the seat of our pants; going wherever the sky looked sunniest and the roads were winding.

Motorcycle at Bormio Hotel Hotel Stelvio Bormio Italy Piazza in Bormio Italy

We chose to meet in the town of Bormio because it was the foot of one of the most legendary mountain passes and one of my bucket list items – Stelvio. That’s where we were headed the very next morning…

Visiting Italy: Lake Como and a Case of Jet Lag

Visiting Italy: Lake Como and a Case of Jet Lag

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.

Lake Como Italy Hotel Metropole and Suisse
Our Hotel Room at Metropole and Suisse lake Como

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.
Scooter parking in Lake Como Italy

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.

Lake Como from our Hotel Balcony Walking through the city of Lake Como Italy Lake Como Italy Old Church
Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni Lake Como Italy Le Mani - Massimi Clerici - Hands Statue at Lake Como Train Station Lake Como Doorway Statues

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.

Drinking beer at Cafe Monti Lake Como Dumo Como Italy Interior Duomo in Como Italy
Looking at Como from a boat ride Piazza in Como Italy The view from our balcony in Como Italy

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.

Lake Como from our balcony at night

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