A long weekend on Lake Como

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I used to treat myself more often than I do lately. Back when I was single and living alone. Back when I didn’t have many responsibilities to begin with. I’d bake my favorite batch of cookies or take a weeknight yoga class. Basically, I was practicing self care years before Gwyneth Paltrow told me what I was doing.

These days, my husband has to force me out of cleaning/cooking/diapering “mom” mode to treat myself. He has to physically drag me to Italy to get me to see that the sun is shining and people are drinking Aperol Spritzs.

Though only a four-hour drive from Geneva, we’d never visited Lake Como until last weekend. We made the decision where to go on Wednesday and booked the Grand Hotel Imperiale on Thursday, armed with Hotels.com points. By Friday, we were there.

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The hotel was neither hip nor modern. It was exactly what I was hoping it would be– old-school Italian. There was a pianist playing every night in the bar where bow-tied waiters served tiny dishes of potato chips with martinis. There was a high dive into the lake and a wood-paneled sauna in the spa to recover from the chilly dip. There was buongiorno senora! and mille grazie! and charm for days. This is why you go to Lake Como.

We almost booked a charming Airbnb rental in Varenna, but the siren song of complimentary breakfasts, an indoor pool and an on-site restaurant where we could have dinner and watch the baby via monitor drew us to the hotel.

With only a few days and a toddler who constantly wants to toddle, we chose three major activities: An afternoon walking around Como’s old town, a long lunch in charming Bellagio, and a boat rental from Argegno to see the lake from it’s best perspective. I can highly recommend all three.

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If you go, visit between April and October. If you only have a weekend, stay in western-facing Bellagio or Varenna so you can enjoy long sunsets over the lake. Tremezzo looks incredible too. If you drive, make sure there is parking with your lodging. Otherwise, take the train from Milan like the Italians.

If you can bring a toddling baby who forces you to walk everywhere at one mile-per-hour, even better. That way you can take in the crumbling architecture, the fragrant jasmine and the sun sparkling on the lake. It is as good as they say.

I hope you’re having a spring-y week. Meanwhile, a few links to get you to Friday:

The books ambassadors recommend reading before seeing their country

Twenty recipes for picnic season

Holy cow! Let’s go to New Mexico!

My favorite travel shoes right now

Are you becoming your parents? Guilty.

A guide to the most charming villages around Lake Como

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There are California girls and there are Bakersfield girls. I am the latter.

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