Saturday, 1 July 2017

Varenna & Vezio

The lake side of Varenna

With the good old reliable church bells, there was no need for an alarm. Actually, with a mother who was still adjusting to the new time zone, there was no need for an alarm. She was up at 5am trying to completely dry her soaked walking shoes from last night. Thankfully we managed to get some more sleep before the church bells then did its job of waking us up. We had the morning to explore before commencing our southward journey and chose to wander in the vicinity of Varenna.

We thought we'd make use of the cooler morning weather to hike up to Castello di Vezio taking the southern route. It was a quite a steep climb and we made it in 35 minutes despite our slow pace and several rest stops. I must say our arrival prior to the 10 am opening surprised me! Castello di Vezio is essentially the ruins of an old watch tower. It didn't take long to explore the ruins itself. The drawcard of the attraction was the expansive view of Lake Como. We thought we would try the northern route to get back to Varenna but that ended up being a bad idea. The route coming down was not clear and it felt a lot more difficult than the way up. It was also definitely not as scenic. By the time we reached Varenna, it was time for lunch by the water. Our post lunch stroll around Varenna did not take long and it was soon time to move on.

The hike started off so easy on the road...

It soon became a trail

with farms

and olive groves

and it just kept going up and up and up...

Amazing views nearly all the way

And of course there was a clay court along the way?!!

Finally at the small village of Vezio

Castello still not open!

Panoramic view of Lake Como from the top

The entrance of the small watch tower

You could climb all the way to the top

Every opening had a beautiful view

The walk back down

So glad to be back at Varenna. Time for lunch!

Frozen cappuccino after a tiring morning

One last lake view meal

From here, the day became stressful as we experienced the woes of Italian train troubles. We hopped on a train that came at the advertised time to discover that it was actually the train before our intended train. All the trains were running late. The conductor told us to alight at Lecco and get on the train that came after. Unfortunately once at Lecco, things got worse. The boards stated that our train would depart from platform 2. As there was a train already there, we sprinted to change platforms and got on the train only to be told that it was not the train that we needed to be on. Our train should be the next train to leave from platform 2. We got off just in time before the train doors closed. It was then announced that our train was running 30 minutes late which meant that we would now miss our connecting train. Arghhh! It was only by a pure luck that we noticed the details for the train on the platform had completely disappeared. When we went back down to check, the platform for our train had been changed! We sprinted and literally only just made our train. My poor mother got stuck caught by the doors just as they were closing and her suitcase only just made it in. Thank you to the Italian ladies who wrestled with the doors on her behalf to pull her and her suitcase in! The regional trains were not air-conditioned and after several sprints, we were tired, hot and grumpy. Fortunately things improved from Milano Centrale. The lady at the ticket office kindly got us tickets on the next intercity train to Pavia. The train was spacious, air-conditioned and left on time from the advertised platform.

The start of our afternoon stress session

The first "wrong" regional train

Finally made it Milano Centrale!!!

Ah...nice intercity train oh how I love you

Pavia's duomo

The main square

We reached our rental apartment after a short 10-15 minutes from the station and was relieved to find it spacious and well appointed as per the website. Our host had kindly stocked the fridge with milk, juice, cold water, butter and spreads, as well as fruit. We were too traumatised to enjoy Pavia's offerings and chose to buy basic provisions for our 3 night stay instead. Take away kebabs for an in-apartment consumption made do for dinner and we called it a day!

PS apologies for crooked photos. I had had enough and couldn't care less about editing photos...

The small but complete kitchen

Bathroom no 1

Main bedroom

Second bedroom

Time for kebab!


  1. A kebab in Italy??? The shame!

  2. Shish! You would not approve of my lunch choice over the coming days then