No FOMO – @ Lake Como; much ardor – @ Lake Garda!

When you find yourself in Milan with a weekend to fill with non-work stuff – what do you? That is, if you’ve been there plenty of times in the past, the city’s parks and downtown highlights have all been strolled, and the top of Milan Cathedral has been climbed up to? When you fancy checking out Paternkofel in the Dolomites but the April weather just can’t be trusted – especially given the poor forecast (we attempted such a thing in 2021 and failed). Well, there are a few other options…

…One being – Lake Como! ->

And not just the lake, but the charming small towns along its shores too:

And that was that: decided. Time to rent a car and head on over there

But first – rewind…

At the airport upon arrival there was a line lasting some three or four hours for non-EU, US, or assorted other friendly countries! The line for those countries was much shorter. And there was no fast-track service on offer either. Fortunately we were able to huddle together with our Euro-colleagues in the EU+ line and get through that way. But if they hadn’t been with us we’d have been there ages. So, does this mean it’s not worth flying to Italy anymore? Looks that way. At least – on a commercial flight…

We’d pre-planned some active tourism for the weekend: on the Saturday – trekking along the Greenway of the Patriarchs path through Varenna and thereabouts along Lake Como; and on the Sunday – a similar walk but along Lake Garda – the Strada del Ponale. So, first up: Lake Como…

I’d actually been here before, having taken a motorboat ride on the lake…

A very pretty place:

There weren’t many boats on the lake as it was windy, so we’d made the right decision to go walkies instead:

Advice to those who may want to drive here: parking’s a problem. You either have to arrive in Varenna early in the morning to be able to find a parking space (which we didn’t), or you need to park a long way from the shore (which we did; still – extra exercise is always welcome).

On the map, guess what color the Greenway route is in? ). In the end it turned out you didn’t need to stick to the Greenway – you can take any of the other routes which go here, there and all over around here ->

First the path – a little too crowded for my liking – hugged the lake:

Here’s one of OS’s photos. Ooh – who’s that? ->

Quaint old towns…

All very nice. Just one thing…: towns like these all seem kinda the same around the Med. Ah. Wait. We’re not on the Med; still, it’s not far, and anyway – you get my drift ->


The route takes us away from the lake up the hills next to it:

…The views get all the more expansive higher up. Desktop-wallpaper-worthy, too ->

And back down again…

In places the roads are super narrow – with no sidewalks; there are roofed promenades instead ->

Assorted nature-architecture symbiosis pics:

We sure were lucky with the weather ->

In all we walked around six kilometers, which took us around two hours at a gentle pace with lots of stops for snaps.

Views of the lake – splendido ->

Walk finished, it was back in the car for similarly charming views therefrom back on the road:

Very narrow roads in places – but all good:

A wonderful walk!

Still, I think taking to the lake on a boat – when the weather’s better – beats the walk by a whisker!…

And that was that: Lake Como – done. Next up, the following day, Lake Garda – Italy’s largest…

And I have to say, I preferred this one to Como. Here’s why ->

The road that hugs its shore is a goodie, and we had a good long drive along most of its length all the way up to the northern end of the lake ->

The town of Riva del Garda is charming, cozy… and has empty parking spots :). To one side – the lake; on all others in the distance – mountains: what’s not to like? ->

It’s from here where the Ponale (former) road, which these days is a path, starts out:

I’m guessing Ciclovia means ring/circular/circumnavigational – 165km? Sounds about right ->

And this is… a power plant! Wow. And with a David-resembling sculpture on it too. Oh those Romans Italians :) ->

This is a continuation of the same power plant. No, really. Not a mansion or palace anything, but an infrastructural installation for generating electricity. You can see the pipes that feed mountain water down into it! ->

The old “road” (how narrow?!) ever-so gradually winds upward into the mountains:

We walk through plenty of well-made tunnels – which reminded me of the Italian-made tunnels on the banks of another large lake I know. Here’s what I wrote about them there:

“Turns out engineers from abroad took part in the design and construction of the railroad, and with a name like Italian Wall, I guess that included those from a certain sunny southern European country too! Got to hand it to them: it’s still standing proud without a single sign of age or disrepair 110+ years later! Ben fatto!”

Ooh – partisans and Nazis had a battle here:

Steadily, higher and higher we go ->

It might seem like there wasn’t a soul about here, but that wasn’t the case; you know me – I just like to make sure as best I can that there are as few folks as possible in my pics. (Surely every photographer’s aim, no?) Actually there were plenty of folks strolling along the path – and plenty of cyclists too; in places the two were separated – physically! (Amsterdam – take note!)

Other times it was just bikers to the right, hikers to the left ->

Near the top, a famous restaurant:

Clearly it’s been there since when cars still used the road…

Up and up and up and up…

… via plenty of hairpin bends:

We finally reach our destination – Regina Mundi – the Queen of the world ->

From here we about-turned and headed on back down the way we came – but not before a good long pause and gawp-and-gasp at the wonderful views:

An excellent walk. Five + five kilometers, around three hours, with 300+ meters along the vertical. Recommended!

Once back at Riva del Garda, we decided to drive back down on the lake’s other – eastern – shore. Thus we did the Ciclovia del Garda ourselves, while also observing where we’d walked earlier on the other side:

You can just about make out the old road cutting across the mountain at a gentle incline (bottom-left in the pic); the modern road runs down by the shore, mostly through tunnels:

And Regina Mundi is somewhere over there:

Meanwhile the weather worsened…

In closing…

What were we doing in Milan? We had a conference there for our Italian partners. All as usual: we told them all about and showed them all our new technologies and products, answered their questions, motivated, and the rest. All good splendido!

A full hall!

I did part of the telling and showing too ->

And that’s all from Italy folks. It was time to be heading to our next European port-of-call…

All the photos from Italy are here.

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