Como is a funny old place. Google will tell you its the most glamorous and VIP of all the lakes. Don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely beautiful; dramatic mountain backdrops, wide swathes of open water, picturesque villas. But I get the feeling that, if your pockets aren’t heavily lined with sterling, visiting Lake Como is not a dissimilar experience to visiting the 1970s.
When I briefly encountered Lake Como with the family, we spent a weekend at an old fashioned hotel, mostly frequented by elderly British tourists who arrived by coach. We enjoyed such nostalgic treats as tinned fruit salad for breakfast and trifle for desert. I thought this might be an anomaly but when I returned a month later, joined by fellow mid-twenty year old, I discovered that it’s actually a recurrent theme.
Without a car or bicycle, we spent much time shuffling behind elderly people named ‘Pam’ and “Joyce’ in large hats, and being told to visit various villas in various different villages. This seems to be the most popular past-time on the lake, to spend vast amounts of time and money visiting different stately homes.
Google will also tell you that the lake is well connected by boats, but services are less frequent and more expensive than you’d think. Plus, they’re actually ferries. No tanning opportunities there.
One woman we met by the bus timetable, who we have since named ‘Shirley from Birmingham’ had a lot to say about the public transport.
‘Don’t get me started on that Italian management eh? Make you walk for miles to get bus ticket, then they don't even turn oop! And make sure you’re always early for a boat, they have different queuing systems in Italy, mind! You’ll have to get the elbows out’.
Such was the type of character we regularly encountered on our days out.
No one seems to swim in the lake either so we had to find a secluded pond like patch and I spent most of my time swimming away from swans and ducks.
George Clooney must have his own little private patch of lake. Cant picture him chatting to the Shirleys and Pams of this world and mingling with swans.