Apparently its the most beautiful town in Italy, I would love to agree but as sson as we got there the fighter for a parking spot started and it wasn't much fun, to such an extent on our last run around the town I was just about to go back when I turned the wrong way and ended up driving down what appeared to be a pedestrianised street. Of course this just topped off the day. As it turned out we were OK to drive down the street, its just that pedestrians were all over the shop.
So is it the most beautiful town in Italy? Well I don't know. I suspect if you head off into the hills we may have seen more but no-one was prepared for the climb, and the shops were too much of a pull so that is all we sort of saw... which was OK.
It was interesting when I asked the hotel what the best way to get to Milan was. Ironically when she told me that it would be best to go by train because going by car would ba a hassle "after all you're on your holidays" which is fine but because I am on my holiday, the thought of getting up at 7am to catch a train also doesn't seem to be the best thing to do. Still we went and after a long day trudging around a hot Milan I can confirm Milan is a big city. I can also confirm that I have now seen all the top three Cathedrals in the world, this being Milan Cathedral if you can't guess.
We went to Cannobio today as the bad pun sort of suggests, but only once you know that we went to Cannobio, so really the title only serves to avoid a more boring title of just Cannobio or perhaps paraglide/surfer in Cannobio which is a bit long winded and to be honest I have no idea what the name is of whatever that were doing or it escapes me for the moment anyhow. It did look fun to be honest but I suspect its not as easy as it looked, though to be honest it looked like more fun than windsurfing and easier than that, so perhaps something to look into if I were Bear Grylls.
Anyway Cannobio is quite away from Stresa where we are staying if you keep in mind the 50km per hour speed limit causing yo to crawl along the winding roads, however I suspect that if you're not driving then the views are beautiful, however my view is usually of a Fiat braking because the road has deviated slightly from a straight flat road. Still the watersports in Cannobio does make it worth a visit. The town is pretty though not any more pretty than any others to be honest, and whilst the town boasts a Church that houses a painting of Pieta that cried blood, coming all the way out here to see a church that contains a box that contains a painting that cried blood several hundred years ago is a little bit of a stretch for me. This is a holiday not a pilgrimage.
Unusually for me, this picture is cropped. I was trying to get a picture of one of the parachute surfers jumping, but every time I zommed in they'd just stopped, until I think I found a pattern, so I setup and this guy jumped and twisted and I left, not looking at the pictures (fatal mistake). Most were out of focus. The autofocus had taken over and had focused on the far shore. The only picture of worth was this one which had the right shoulder of a man in a green T-shirt in the bottom left, which impressed me no end, so there you do. I shall try to do better next time.
It was another grim start to the day, less thunder but just overcast and a bit grey, so rather than waste a perfectly good drive to somewhere equally grim, we decided to go somewhere close such as Orta San Giulio, apparently an unspoilt village on the banks of a lake not too far off. Navigating there was interesting as there wasn't any parking in the town so deciding which car park we were allowed to use took some skill and judgement, but once there sure enough there was a town, and a lake, and another island to look at. Since we were a bit islanded out we took a quick swing around the town, saw a washing machine that has been made into a planter and painted khaki and left, not before taking this picture of a church opposite, high up on the mountain.I have no idea where it is other than it was opposite where we were, but I can imagine the views are pretty impressive after the service.
As unimaginative as the title suggests, this is where we found ourselves today. After a thunderstorm rumbled and rumbled from 5am, there was little to do other than stay indoors or get wet, preferring neither of these we attempted to find a place that might afford some shelter, so Rocca Borromeo it was, I am sure the views would have been more impressive if it weren't for the rain that you could see rolling in from miles off as a big band of fine mist, and the continued claps of thunder didn't add to the atmosphere especially when one appeared to trip a circuit breaker killing power to the place. Still if it weren't for the weather then we probably wouldn't have had the brief and hurried visit to the doll museum with all its slightly scary splendor.
In an attempt to agent the demons who haunted us the last twice we went to Genova, we decided that the foolhardy treck of over 2 hours was required. Last time(s) we never found enough parking space to stay properly and so we left soon after entering the city, this time we persevered. I have no idea what the problem was last time as all seemed well this time.
I would love to report that everything is wonderful in Genova but I can't. Its OK but nothing impressive. Its a large port on the Med and that's about it. Some pretty buildings, a naval past and a pirate boat using in a Roman Polanski film and that's it. oh and there are a lot of mopeds pictured here. That's all.
Don't worry if you don't get the title, there's nothing to get it is purely a description of the day, well not the full day just the end. If it were to be a description of the full day it would be more like: Headed doe Bellagio, missed, got to Monza to see closed palace, had difficulty leaving car park, came home dissapointed and went to Arona instead. The problem with that is that its not too catchy and I don't think the title would fit into the field in the database I use to store titles at Zamyatin.
So from that you my have guessed that we set out to see Bellagio, the most beautiful Italian towns. Unfortunately due to an operator malfunction the route to the Royal Palace of Monza was input. Now I have no idea whether Monza is on the way, I suspect so, but by this time we were embedded in Monza and it seemed churlish to stop now, after all we were (I was) planning to see the palace anyhow.
So after a bit of a false start and what appeared to be us gaining access to a car park we shouldn't have we finally put the car in a place that looked like a car park but for some strange reason we didn't have a ticket and it was defiantly one of those that you paid on exit. Anyway after walking around the place at speed due to a full bladder, it appeared that the palace was closed, no explanation other than it looked like there were major works in place.
So now we are homeward bound until my Wife decides Arona is the place to go. There's not much here apart from a port and restaurants, but it will do for lunch at 2pm. You can foget asking the guide book, it doesn't seem to be able to acknowledge the existence of Monza and I would have thought that might have been on the map. Finally, this is a pic of across the water from Arona. No I have no idea where it is, nor will the guide book.
This chap appears to be happy, and why not, its not raining. That's all really. It appears to be a strange state of affairs in Lake Maggiore that is has to be raining. When we landed there was thunder and lightening and we have had a spot of rain and seen a rainbox but to be honest we've not really seen that much rain, though this afternoon's trip back from Isola Bella did end with grey clouds and it remains to be overcast. Still given the option between here and work, there's no contest.
Today has been a three Island Tour, which was weird because with my hangover I was barely up for one island let alone full kahoona, not that there are only three islands, I know of at least 4 which probably means there are at least 8, still the idea of bobbing around on the lake to try and get to an island to see a garden seemed like and OK thing to do at the best of times, but when I was feeling like I was bobbing around on a lake to start with meant that I didn't really fancy adding the feeling of bobbing around on a lake to that original feeling (of bobbing around on a lake). Still we only made it to two islands which was a bonus, I was worried that my wife's ever present need to complete the set would take over from sense and we would end up dashing to the last island hard up against the last ferry leaving.
Anyway we (I) survived and we are no back in the hotel to mash that hangover or create another one. Just so you know, this is of at the top of the gardens in Isola Bella, I just liked the way the arch framed the statue as well as the air punch.
The weather had been bad, so much so, I had to buy a broken umbrella for 5 euros, so with no photo ops in the making and the Carneval not kicking off until we leave we headed for the Guggenheim gallery for a bit of fun. Well it was OK if you're into your modern art and I don't mind it, just some of it I find a little pointless like the elongated graph paper which I was someone taking a picture of... why? I assumed that the nearest WHSmiths to him was quite a way away so printing his own from the picture was his best option. Of course the joke is on him because the squares weren't square. I must admit I doubted that this chap didn't know of a decent WHSmiths, after all there's a nice little branch in Paris just outside the Louvre, so if there's one there in that far flung distant backwater then I suspect the Amazon rain forests are overrun with them walking C90s with Code masters games at 99p and oils paints for goodness knows who.
Anyway back to the pic, the is of a Jackson Pollock would you believe. Of course this is prior to his association with the Stone Roses, after which hemust have hit the big time so surely he retired on his huge royalties and will be regularly seen in Ibiza.
After a purchase of a 24h ticket on the water bus there was no stopping us. We headed to the train station to investigate the smallest park ever, which filled all of an hour, which included the 58 minute water bus there. Then we headed off to the Lido to have a quick check whether things had changed there since our stay and they hadnt, so we stopped for some refreshment and then headed back to St Marks Square rather than head to our hotel directly, so we then meandered through the streets back to the hotel, stopping off at the art gallery and the bridge to the Academia which this was taken from. The gallery wasn't up to much but the weather had improved so the views out to S. Maria were better than they would have been in the morning when it was overcast. Of course this is one of a group of 4 Gondala men sitting around waiting to pounce on tourists.