The plane ride from Palermo, Sicily to Malpensa airport in Milan was uneventful. That is except for the luggage. After waiting in line to report the lost or misplaced luggage, we hired a private car service to drive us to Lake Como. The luggage would be forthcoming when and if they found it. They promised we would have it that evening or the next morning.
We took the autostrada to Sala Comancina. This was the place we were scheduled to meet the rental agent, Barrie, who was to take us to our apartment. Luckily, the driver we engaged was accommodating. He contacted Barrie on his cellphone, and we were to meet him on the road at a designated area. What seemed like an hour later, Barrie showed up with a small convertible sports car. We certainly could not fit in this vehicle.
The service car driver, seeing the dilemma, suggested he follow Barrie and drive us to the apartment. We drove up the mountain road, in and out of narrow alleyways until we came to a stop. Barrie stopped at the top of the road and advised us we would have to go down several steps to our apartment. Now tired, irritated and totally disgusted, we all knew this place was not suitable for us. Joan was handicapped, I was using a walker, and this became and impossible situation. We knew other accommodations would have to be made.
Finally, Barrie arranged for us to stay at a local bed and breakfast just opposite the ferry station of Argengno, one of the towns along the lovely Lake Como. It was a blessing in disguise. The central location made available to us the restaurants along the lake and other places of interest we would be visiting. The ferry station across the street from the bed and breakfast was the focal point of the town. People would come and go, either walking or on motorcycles filling he area with life, Italian style. We thanked our driver and tipped him generously for his help.
We settled in our room at the inn and left word at the desk we were waiting for luggage to be delivered to us. Two days later, still no luggage. Many telephone calls to the airport and baggage claim handlers left us frustrated, irritated and with no clean underwear. Since there was no K-Mart, Target or any other store we were fortunate it was a weekend, and there was a flea market down the road where we were able to buy what we needed. After showering and changing our undergarments, we were somewhat ready to take on Lake Como. Later in the day, Joan arranged Diego, a local driver, to take her back to the airport to claim our lost luggage.
Since we had so much distraction the first day at Lake Como, I must confess the beauty surrounding us was almost ignored. The drive along the lake area is beautiful and awesome when the full handiwork of nature can be seen. Lake Come is shaped like the letter Y. Along its banks lie the different towns or hamlets each having it own unique stature.
Each day we boarded the ferry at Argengno and stopped at a town we wanted to visit. One day, we boarded the ferry and stopped at Bellaggio, visited the lovely shops that featured jewelry, objects of art and clothing. The restaurants were filled with tourists enjoying the wonderful cuisine of the region. Each town had its own flavor and style exhibiting the full expression of flair of Italian spirit. The friendly attitude of the residents and love of the artistic culture was evident wherever we went. The villas and castles could be seen as we rode the perimeter of the lake and were beautiful. We hoped we might run into George Clooney who lived in a villa on the lake. No luck.
The close of a wonderful week on Lake Como made us appreciate these Italians and their zest for life. The day never ended without the special treat found on every street throughout Italy. The relationship Italians have with their sweets, whether it was a cannoli, tarts or any flavor of gelato, could not be outdone. We certainly had our share, and I shall remember it all fondly in my memory.