Sunday, May 15, 2011

Como

For various reasons that I will broach later--It has taken me a long time to get to this post, but have no fear, I hope that another two will be following shortly behind. To get you up to Vienna where I now sit in a hostel, with my laundry going, takeout Chinese food and a Tsingtao in hand, and absolutely no excuse not to write (I thought of and tried them all already), you must first go through Milan and Lake Como.
I was not all that enthralled with Milan. For starters, Italy was on strike when I got there because it was a day that ended in -y, and as a result the Last Supper was closed, naturally. Other than that, there were really only the outsides of a couple of buildings that I wanted to see. The Duomo, La Scala, and of course the San Siro (the qa'aba of soccer as far as I'm concerned). The first two can be accomplished I about two minutes, but the San Siro--well including in a few hours to wander through industrial parts of Milan--that takes a while longer. Then when you get there, it's just too big. There's no real way to comprehend it, so you just turn around. And walk back around the ginormous horse track between it and your hostel. That horse track incidentally is surrounded by a wall. What do Italians do to walls? Graffiti. How big is this wall? 3 or 4 miles long. Where is the wall? Next to the shared stadium of two of Italy's biggest three soccer teams (by far the biggest sport) who oh by the way, hate eachother. Yeah, you can imagine the epic calcio graffiti.
The next day as I was about to leave, I decided to download the latest This American Life episode onto my phone. Those of you who know me, my know about this unhealthy addiction that I have to that show, and like all addictions, there is a dirty side, that unfortunately my phone takes the brunt of. For some reason, TAL fries my phone. I don't really understand it, but this time in Milan, it actually killed my phone. All the way to the "Connect to ITunes" screen of death. Which I know you're thinking is not that big a deal...just connect to iTunes and restore. Except, read my last post and you'll see that my computer is no longer with us, or at least the screen is not. Now, you're thinking, oh well, I'm sure you'll find a computer at your next destination. Except, that the directions to the next destination are on the phone/or my email if I can access that. So there it is, easy fix, just find an Internet cafe. Except that the first one is down due to a virus. And the second through fourth are closed, because it's a day ending in -y. And I just have fifteen minutes till my train leaves, when at long last, I get the information I need at the fifth Internet cafe and sprint to the train station just in time.
I don't know what you know about Lake Como. I just remembered vaguely that Hemingway talked about it in Farewell to Arms. Well fun fact number one is that the Bellagio in Vegas is named after a small town on the lake that is pretty impressive (although this is not where Clooney lives apparently). Fun fact number two is that for 17 euro a night you can see Bellagio from about a quarter mile away in your awesome room with a view in the Mennagio Hostel. Place was legit. The first night there, the hostel cooked maybe five pigs worth of meat on an open flame outside and served it with pretty much all the wine you can drink and fresh strawberries for dessert. I met about a half dozen people there, and egged on by our fearless Belgian leader, Earnest, who has vacationed in Como some sixty or seventy times. We decided to head to Lake Lugano the next day.
Basically Lakes Lugano and Como are incredibly gorgeous. Nestled in the Alps, the best way to see them is from well the Alps. So my two days in Como were spent trying to get to the tops of mountains. Once by finestra and once by hiking. The hike was accompanied by a couple of ham and cheese sandwiches and Swiss chocolate. Either the sandwiches or the mineral water at the top of the mountain would come back to haunt me a few hours later when I got to Z├╝rich. Photos will come when I get a chance.

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