Night Location: Bellagio, Italy
Song of the Day: The James Bond Theme.
Mumisode of the Day: "Your father has deposited us in this derelict park that has neither refreshments nor amenities!"
Today marks another transit day from Courmayeur to Bellagio, on Lake Como. A day that we had thought would pass without incident as it was only meant to be a short journey, with a lovely rest in a park while Dad visited a work colleague. You can take the man out of the country, but you cannot take the work out of the man.
The plan according to Dad went as follows. Mum, Gemma, Amber and David were to be left in the Parko di Villa Reale (Royal Park) in Monza, near Milan, for a 'maximum' of 1.5 hours. Claude directed us into the main avenue of the park, a shadowed, overgrown, deserted road with traffic lights, boarded up gates and windows and a run-down merry-go-round. This should have been an indication to get back in the vehicle and demand to be deposited elsewhere. We were not that clever.
The four of us made a study of the map and were excited by the prospect of a ristorante and bar and most of all, WC (Europe's most treasured sign). We set off in the general direction of these, through the weeds, and into the deep forest. The first WC was closed. This did not phase us, and we pressed on. By this stage we were walking four-abreast for our safety; there were not many people about, and as Mum pointed out, those that were, were suspect.
We spilled out into 'a little wilderness' patch approaching the main villa/mansion/house and thought at last, civilisation, food and WC. Alas, once again, all was boarded and closed, and the house itself was in a state of disrepair.
On we continued, now heading toward Centro, along a path that led us through an underpass that stank of urine and was covered in graffiti. The walk finished at the main street where an abandoned restaurant encouraged us to return to the villa, as at least it was sunny there, and Dad might be able to find us again. On the return to the villa, we went through another underpass that was 'anti-Nazi' and Mum discovered a torn up Bible and recognised the book of Samuel II. She exclaimed "Someone has desecrated the Scriptures!" We moved on quickly. Dad arrived 2.5 hours later.
By the time Dad arrived, there was a sense of urgency regarding the WC facilities. Dad maintained that he knew where one was and headed back into the park, not believing that the park facilities were locked up. They were. Claude was then instructed to take us to the closest McDonalds but he was also desperate and died 30 seconds later. After an exciting U-Turn, we parked illegally and jumped out onto the road into oncoming traffic. Inside it was quickly discovered that the toilet doors were locked and could only be opened upon ordering. Amber, in a flummox, tried to order something in French. She was a little confused regarding the language having been in France the day before and was fairly irritated when they looked blankly. The ladies' toilet was opened, and David returned to the counter to request that the male toilet be opened also, even though only uno potates had been ordered.
The trip continued rather uneventfully to Como, where we stopped finally for some refreshments 9 hours after breakfast. David was ready to use the bathroom again. He left Amber to order and headed into the restaurant. He returned sometime later a little sheepish, saying, "If you need to go, don't use the left one. It's not flushing!" We were sitting in the Duomo Piazza in Como, filled with tables and chairs belonging to various restaurants. We discovered that David had actually used the wrong restaurant toilet, and our restaurant was all good to go!
The road into Bellagio from Como winds along the lake and is just beautiful. It is significantly wider than the Amalfi road and has less traffic and fewer buses. The houses are spread out right along the lake and are not built up that high. Everyone has a water view. The lady that we rented the house from was quite surprised by how calm everyone was when we arrived as she says most Americans are usually in a state of panic after driving on the roads. Not us. We were trained in Amalfi and conditioned through the French Alps!
Tomorrow we plan to sail on the lake to various villages, and most importantly, to visit the James Bond villa that is just across the lake from us.