Lake Como, Italy… Mountains, Beaches and Wow

September 10, 2016 in blog, Italy


It’s the colours that make this lake spectacular.

The kaleidoscope that paints the mountains as the sun turns through the sky, dropping individual crystals of the glowing mosaic into place, just like the paper one I had as a child. The picture ever changing, yet always the same. I squinted, with one eye, through the telescope on the Lido in Bellagio day dreaming about the villas across the lake and which ones I might like to live in: the square yellow one with the stately entrance and the black roof. Or maybe the lone imposing structure perched on the edge of a grey stone cliff, looking for all the world like the outpost from which the watch presides over the lago. Or maybe the tiny farm house tucked between a nest of trees far up the mountainside. At least it looks tiny from here.

The panorama from the chapel at Ghisallo is truly breathtaking.

The very rim of the world and the whole of it tucked between these hills decorating the fringe of the glassy lake with a colour that defies description. From now on, in my minds eye, it will always be “Como blue” wherever I find it. This must be very much like god’s view, if there is such a one or such a thing. From up here everything looks idyllic and serene.

The hustle and bustle of daily life fades into nothing more than the whisper of the wind creeping down off of the high places through the needles of impossibly green trees and the giggle of the breeze as it tips over the rim of the valley and tumbles toward the surface of the lake.


The Lake

I sat long by the waterside, toes enjoying the splash of the wakes of passing boats and counted birds: a pair of swans, a quatrain of ducks, one funny punk rock duck with a pointed fishing bill and a saucy little uptick of feathers at the back of his head, and three seagulls wheeling and wheeling riding the wind currents high above me. This is the way to do a conference call, beer in hand, feet in water, bikini on mossy stone and a float plane making low passes over villages that look as if they’re straight from a fairy tale.

I’m fairly certain that the mountain peaks are actually the backs of dragons.

Ancient ones who have slept so long that trees have grown over their flinty scales and the wind and rain have weathered their toothy backs. Long tails wrap out into the lago forming points on which villagers have, unsuspectingly, created homes. Folded wings can just be made out in the lines of stone jutting out against the grain of the rest of the rock. There is one who, at night, opens one green eye and watches the lake. He was peering around quietly when I woke this morning. What this lake really needs is a sea monster, long and narrow with three rings of undulating back and a head like a brontosaurus. Nessy’s sister, perhaps?

The church bells echo across this lake.

Long languorous peals, calling the faithful to prayer, and reminding those of us who are not of a fairy tale in which a would be princess remembers that her time is almost up and the magic is quickly coming to an end. Cinderella’s reminder rang out for long minutes as I sat on the patio, clam and mushroom pasta with a peach and mozzarella salad to accompany my red wine. I considered the moment, and the magic, and took three deep breaths to mark the reminder and to give thanks for the beauty of right now, no matter what the next hour may bring.

And now the sun has set…

The mountains, purple specters fading into an indigo sky. twinkling lights like tiny flecks of gold in black granite sparkle around the damp hem of the nyad’s watery skirt. The only sound is the lap of the waves and a distant drone of a boat motor layered with a barking dog somewhere in town. The first star has come out overhead, but Orion is not yet watching. I know he will be later. He was standing guard over my waking and was the first in all the universe to say hello as I searched the sky just before dawn.

The sliver moon is smiling just above the mountain that rises behind me, she’s been so eager for this evening’s celestial ball that she’s been hanging around up there since mid afternoon. And me? I’m sitting as quietly as possible, trying not to disturb the illusion, dipping my toe into the deep pool of wonder and breathing softly into the ripples caused by the ringing of the bells.

If there are places in the world that are magic, this is one.