Maximilian earned his keep today.

So after a fit-full sleep (since my room was without air conditioning and it was hot . . . ) we had breakfast and packed up.  Before we left Switzerland, Stan said we had to make one very important stop. We HAD to buy some Swiss chocolate! Yay! We walked to a little shop and there was a sign in the window that said, “One piece of dark chocolate a day, keeps the doctor away”. Well, there you go!

We headed south. I had no idea we were going to take the mountain pass OVER The Alps to the main highway that would take us into Italy.  We drove for about 30 miles on a steep, narrow, two-lane road, winding and curving around and around all the way up ~ and all the way down. The scenery was beautiful and as we climbed higher and higher I saw waterfalls and snow and the air got cooler. Max and Stan concentrated on the road but I got to enjoy the view. When we reached the top, we pulled off at a little mountain peek restaurant and took pictures of the snow! How very cool is that?

Throwing a snowball at Stan!
Can’t believe where I’m standing!

When we got to the bottom on the other side we were stuck in stand-still traffic for awhile. That was no fun!

We finally crossed the border into Italy and everything changed. The terrain is very similar as far as mountains, trees, lakes, etc. but the “feeling” is so different. For one thing, there is a lot of graffiti. And the graffiti is not typical to what we see at home . . . this graffiti is in color, with pictures.  It’s almost like a form of art here. I don’t particularly care for it but the people here don’t seem to be bothered by it; or perhaps there is nothing they can do about it. I began to see a lot of litter too. In contrast to Germany, Austria and to a lesser degree Switzerland which are impossibly clean and manicured for the most part, Italy feels less “kept” and less polished . . . it has an “old world” feeling – which has a charm of it’s own. I also began to understand the signs (as Italian and Spanish are very similar) and it felt more familiar.

Our final destination was a wonderful little lake front town called Lezzeno which is a neighboring town to Bellagio (where we visited three years ago).  To get here we had to drive to Como and then take ANOTHER very narrow, two-lane road, winding and curving around the lake and the connecting towns. There are a lot of motorcycles here and they zoom by as if careening off the ledge or into a wall would be no big deal! By this time I think Stan had had it.  

Oh! But it was sooooo worth it. We are staying at an amazing hotel-villa and we got two rooms across the hall from each other in the villa on a private floor. We each have a private balcony overlooking Lake Como and our own sun deck. My room is decorated in an Italian-shabby-chic style with flowing white curtains and a pink armoire! It is just too darn cute.  

Lezzeno, Italy
Hanging out on MY sun deck.

We got settled and then headed over to the restaurant next door for dinner. I was in heaven! Again, the contrast in food between the German-based countries we have been in the last two weeks and Italian food is night and day. I was very happy at dinner. The pasta, the garlic, the sauce, the basil . . . it is a delight to my taste buds. It will not be a delight to my waistline if I am not careful!

Another interesting observation: In the other countries people in restaurants were very quiet and peaceful. Meal time was very low-key and relaxing.  Tonight at dinner, we noticed the noise level had increased dramatically. Italians talk loud, gesture with their hands, laugh, toast, and are basically noisy – in a good way. They are passionate, expressive people and I LOVE that.

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