Getting to Mandello del Lario

Breakfast on the plane was pancakes with berry compote, croissants and two cups of mediocre coffee. At the airport we had macarons from Ladurêe. The gentleman was none to pleased to serve us being too early in the morning for him. Dave had pistachio and I went for salted caramel. We then had a decent espresso before buying two books for our library. We had croissants and coffee on the plane before landing at Milao Linate. Europcar did us a huge favour consolidating our free rental with our paid for rental. So we’ve got a larger car for an extra €2. What a bargain. We then went to Ikea where the staff were rude and unhelpful. We finally found the two things we were looking for and walked forever to get out of the place. Never again!  

We drove to San Pellogrino Terme, driving through some exquisite villages on the way. We stopped and had ice cream. Pistachio for Dave and specialita cremo for me.  We bought lunch and drove to Taleggio. We drove over a very narrow bridge on the way there. The narrow road was unbelievable with the most amazing vistas and absolutely perfect for motorbikes. We stopped and had a picnic lunch and then drove on to Lecco climbing higher than 1.1 km just after Bergamo. The road had no railings at some places and a seriously steep drop. We headed for our B&B and first things first unpacked and had a shower. Not that you can call it that. We got wet under water. And my cleanser broke so we need to go shopping. Quite a bugger on a Saturday afternoon in Italy. 

Dave, Gianni (the owner of where we are staying) and I sat down in the courtyard to enjoy a bottle of wine. We were reciprocating his hospitality from the last time we were here. We were soon joined by another guest who is from Australia and a local young man. We had a great conversation with my translator app helping with words I don’t know. We then walked to the shops so I could get cleansing wipes and went to Pizzeria Rosalba for supper. We started with antipasto di mare and Dave had spaghetti alle vongole and I had spaghetti al regù. After our meal we went to the local bar to buy our train tickets to get to Monza. We had made sure there’s a direct train on Trenitalia but from here we need to use Trenord and that goes in to Milan which isn’t suitable.  We decided to leave it till the morning and went for gelato for dessert. The pastry shop was just closing but they kindly served us. Pistachio for Dave and hazelnut for me.  We walked back to our accommodation and checked the trains again. After that we both fell into bed and went to sleep. 

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Leaving Cape Town

Finally we are at the airport. It feels like forever ago that we booked for this trip. And even longer since we started planning it. First flight is from Cape Town to Johannesburg.   Which was late as the plane in front of us had a technical problem just before turning onto the runway. The lunch was good and we landed just after our expected time. Security was diabolical with them being short staffed. Got through passport control with ease and walked around the shops. Dave bought a cap and then we went to the Diners Lounge to relax. The flight left late as it seems people cannot get their lives organized. Supper was couscous salad, hake curry, cheese and tiramisu. There was lots of turbulence and I didn’t sleep well. Dave only snoozed. 

Our Itinerary

On the 2nd of September we leave for Italy. As usual we are flying Air France and we land in Milan on the 3rd. From there we head straight to Mandello del Lario where we will spend two nights. On the 4th you can look out for us if you watch Formula 1 racing. On Monday the 5th we will head north from Lake Como and spend a night where ever we decide to stop. From there we head South to La Spezia where we will spend 3 nights. Then one night somewhere south of Milan – probably Cremona before heading to Holland. We fly there on the 10th of September and meet up with Dave’s son. Mark is flying in from Newcastle Upon Tyne to join us on the barge. We will barge around Holland for 6 nights before spending one night in Hoofdorp. on the 17th we fly back to Cape Town. This will be the first day time flight I have been on when the time zone doesn’t change. If you want to know what we are up to each day then check back here on the 3rd.