Half the year, when Berkeley East is relaxing on land, we live on a lake in North Carolina. The landlocked existence is peaceful compared with the constant movement of cruising; we love the contrasts of the two lifestyles. And while sailing around the Med is fantastic, we sometimes enjoy the luxury of taking a real vacation away from the daily responsibilities of running and moving a boat. So when BE's radar had Lake Como in sight, we quickly jumped ship for some lake time.
Fourteen years ago, we spent a whirlwind 24 hours in Lake Como as part of a 25th wedding anniversary trip. Berkeley East and cruising were just ideas then, we were still working hard to make a living. We don't recall how we found Lake Como, but it was a fabulous discovery. We explored the town of Bellagio, toured the lake by boat, waterskied in the glacial pond, danced to Hungarian music, and slept very little. We have talked about a return trip ever since that day.
We actually wish we could have taken Berkeley East to Lake Como. It would have been incredible to sail our boat on this amazing body of water. Surrounded by rugged mountains called the Dolomites lecchesi, Lake Como was formed about 10,000 years ago during the last ice age.
Lake Como is long and narrow, giving it more the look of a twisting river than a lake. It has an area of 56 square miles, with 100 miles of shoreline, and is 1,300 feet deep, making it the third-largest lake in Italy and one of the deepest in Europe. It has been called the most magnificent lake in the world. It is simply stunning.
Lake Como has been a popular retreat for aristocrats, wealthy people and celebrities since Roman times. It was discovered by the Greeks, overtaken by the Franks, and controlled by the Austrians. Throughout history, artists, writers and actors have come to the lake for inspiration. It is the subject of books, the backdrop of paintings, the site of many movies.
The lake is also famous for the countless impressive villas along the shore and in the hills, with elaborate terraced gardens, private chapels and amazing views of the lake. Many are owned by celebrities; like George Clooney's Villa L'Oleandra, and Richard Branson's Villa La Cassinella. Every house has a name.
We spent three days exploring Lake Como this trip, but really needed three weeks. We navigated the narrow roads around the lake in our rental car, joined Carlo for a spin in his classic lake boat.
We wandered the waterfront on foot, took a zillion pictures, and discovered the local hangout in Bellagio where we spent hours talking with an Australian couple on holiday.
There was no cooking or cleaning, no weather to worry about, no water making, no boat moving, no docking, no anchoring. For a brief time, we were tourists, rather than cruisers, on a little lake-ation.