Day 2: Trams, Boats, and Trains

I woke up this morning, not having any way to tell time or figure out what time it was. It ended up being 7:30am, so wanting to get an earlier start, and knowing Austin wanted to do the same, I got ready for the day and headed down to breakfast. We stayed in gender separated dorms last night, so I waited around for Austin for breakfast… for about 45 minutes. Finally, I was going to peek in to see where the heck he was, and the nice Italian cook who was out smoking a cigarette in the yard offered to check in on him. Austin had overslept, then sat in his bed and stretched for 30 minutes before getting up. So, we got a little later start than anticipated.

Funiculare to Brunate
Proof that I made it to the top of the mountain!

Our first stop today was Villa Olmo on Lake Como. We walked around the lake and just admired how beautiful this area is. There is the lake and all of these tiny towns smattered around the lake and up the very steep sides. Austin called the mountains here “pre-Alps”, and we could see mountains off in the distance, but these mountains were gorgeous and very steep to climb up. Our first dabble into transportation today was taking the funiculare, or tram up the mountain, up to a little town above Como called Brunate. The very nice ladies at the hostel said it was definitely worth our time and effort to climb up further in this town to the top for a very nice view of the lake, the Alps behind them, and Switzerland. About half way up the mountain, I wished we had decided to vacation in Hawaii, Mexico, or somewhere else where Austin doesn’t feel like he has to climb to the top of whatever is the highest point around. Italians don’t really believe in switchbacks either, so it was very very steep the entire way. Austin started pushing me from behind very early on, and think this is the only reason I made it to the top. Also, we were carrying our 30-50 lb backpacks that entire way. I suggested we ditch our bags somewhere and pick them up on the way down, but Austin didn’t really like that idea, something about leaving behind everything we have didn’t appeal to him. We made it, and the view at the top was definitely worth it, so I was happy about that.

On the ferry to Bellagio… we both got fairly sunburnt
After the fun adventure on the funiculare, we got on a ferry to take us to Bellagio, which is at the top of the fork of Lake Como, and so from it, you can see both forks of the lake at once. The ferry ride took about two hours, and we stopped in many small towns perched on the lakeside. We picked up some pizza (much better than in Milan) and ate it lake side on a shady park bench. Then we wandered (uphill I might add) to the top of “bump” that Bellagio sits on, and were about to go down the other side, but decided not to so that I wouldn’t have to walk up the hill again. From Bellagio we took another boat to Varenna, a very small town from which we could catch a train to Lecco, one of the cities Austin served in on his mission. We did not do much in Varenna besides admire the lake and walk to the train station.
Austin’s triumphal return to Lecco

Almost immediately upon arriving in Lecco, we ran into the LDS missionaries at the train station. This was super exciting, because they better than anyone would know the state of the families that Austin worked with on his mission. We found out that since Austin left the area in May of 2008, Lecco was made into its own ward (it had been a branch) and that one of the families that he helped teach was still active, and the father who was not as receptive while he was there had also been baptized. Many of the members that Austin worked with were still around, so he got to hear little updates on their lives as well. We also stopped by Austin’s missionary apartment, the place where they would set up an informative signboard in a main part of downtown, and sample the gelato from the place where Austin would frequent on his mission. We again walked all along the lake, saw tons of swans, and walked through other parts of town as well. After awhile, we took a train from Lecco to Bergamo.

Austin’s missionary apartment in Lecco. He reports
hitting his head several times on the tiny door frame

We are now in Bergamo, tonight in more of a hotel room set up. Hooray for sleeping in the same room! Austin served in this city for about 3 weeks, so he is not as familiar with it, but is excited to be here. We sat down for dinner at a restaurant; Austin ordered rabbit and I ordered pasta with a spicy tomato sauce. Both were very yummy, and the ambiance at the outdoor table was also great. It has been a little bit of a culture shock for me here; I have inhaled more second hand smoke in the last 48 hours than I have in all my years living in Utah, and possibly in California too. It is so much more common, and Austin says people know about the dangers of smoking, but just don’t care. I don’t know, it just seems like everyone dying of lung cancer would be enough of a warning for me? Anyway, I find myself holding my breath a lot in the streets. Other than that, though, Italy is gorgeous, and public transportation isn’t so bad either.

This is what Lake Como looks like… gorgeous!



One thought on “Day 2: Trams, Boats, and Trains

  1. All I can say for your update is wow! Thanks for so much information! I am so happy you both get to experience this trip to Italia (back for Austin). Looking forward to “chapter 3”.


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