Today we went for a long drive to a beautiful look out on the border of Italy/Switzerland where we had an amazing view of Lugano in Switzerland. We stopped off for lunch before trying to enter the country at a little cafe in a little village frequented by workmen, so the food was rustic and very good. We had a starter of prosciutto, salami etc and for lunch we had two different types of polenta, one with cheese which was drowning in butter and the other with meat and pomodoro which was delicious.
We then jumped back into the mini where we entered the Swiss border, no border control was even present which was great as Jay had forgotten his passport. We only took a little drive as this part of the country wasn’t particularly pretty and we preferred the scenery of Italy!
At home we had a yummy pasta dinner with green string beans, onion and sultanas which Jay cooked and bruschetta which we prepared by rubbing garlic on the toasted bread, then rubbing a basil leaf, the rubbing the inside of a cherry tomato over the bread and topped it with basil leaves. The best I’ve been fed since leaving home and leaving the family in Naples!
Jay and I jumped on ferry this morning to visit some other villages on Lake Como. First stop was Tremezzo where we visited Villa Charlotta - a beautiful stately home with massive gardens. It took over an hour to walk the gardens which change from tropical rainforest to chinese a garden filled with massive bamboo. The villa itself, which has had many owners including a princess, was beautiful and filled with most of the original furnishings.
We then hopped back on the ferry to Bilaggio where we stopped for a lunch of Puttanesca pasta and later at a cafe were I relaxed with my new favourite aperitif Limoncello with ice.
We had a yummy dinner waiting for us when we came home… RABBIT. My first time eating rabbit and it was delicious, very chickeny! Pietro roasted it with potatoes and rosemary and we enjoyed it with a glass of red wine and a desert of the BEST dark chocolate ice-cream.
Trained it from La Spezia to Como today, well…trained it to Milan first then to Como. Waiting at the station to collect me was Jay and his friend Pietro who we would be staing with for the next three nights. Me and my luggage piled uncomfortably into the back of Pietro’s mini, we headed for his home ON LAKE COMO in a village called Cenobbio. Pietro’s family home is amazing, three stories, views of the lake form the terrace and filled with amazing antique furniture mostly belonging to his grandparents. I settled myself in and we had an easy night sitting on the terrace, drinking red wine and eating a delicious pasta dish the boys cooked up along with Pietro’s famous bruschetta made with buffalo mozzarella, olives and anchovy. I could get used to this, I really could. Ended the night with the film “Julie & Julia’ on the projector.
After skyping home this morning from my new little breakfast cafe I found, I made the train/bus journey to Portofino. The bus journey took us past all the villages leading up to Portofino, which really is hidden behind tall buildings. One you pass through the main entrance the most beautiful sight awaits you: the semi circular port filled with yachts, fishing boats, super yachts with restaurants, cafes and shops surrounding the outer side set in the most colourful buildings. House creep up either side of the cliff face which is also covered in trees. I did a walk around the port (which is very small) then made my way through some laneways and small streets filled with shops. Climbing up the right side of the port a very long set of stairs take you to Castello Brown which sits on the cliff face. U
unfortunately it was closed due to a private function (which I suppose was a wedding judging by a nearby church they were decorating with the white carpet).
I made sure I stopped at one of the port side cafes for an espresso and torte which cost a ridiculous amount of money for what it was, but how many times will I be in Portofino! It was an amazingly beautiful little port village.
Arrived today at a little apartment in La Spezia which would be my base for the next couple of days to explore Portofino. Maybe a little bit of a back track being that I had already visited the Cinque Terre… in all honesty I though La Spezia was closer to Portofino and it turns out I should have based myself in Genoa, but never mind.
Antonio owned the little apartment which was a ‘hostel’ with 2 rooms, mine being a 3 bed dorm I shared with Sylvie from Quebec and Peter from Manchester (now a kiwi). It was an apartment in an actual apartment block so the place was decked out with kitchen/laundry, bathroom, lounge room and a terrace overlooking the street. An easy day doing not much, treated myself with a grocery shop of melone, prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and pesto and I made a nice salad.