Monday, January 29, 2018

Bumba and a Day Trip to Como and Brunate


Sunday, 28 January, 2018

At the end of Saturday's practice, our Running Backs Coach, Cristian "Bumba" Bianchi, asked me if I had any plans for Sunday.

As I had none, he invited me to join him for a day trip to the lovely city of Como.

Of course, I said SÌ! 

Bumba is pronounced "Boom-Bah"

Before starting the recap of our day together, I do need to mention a few things about life in Venegono Superiore.

I'm becoming a whiz at making
two egg omelettes for breakfast

Here you see today's International Omelette that includes Swiss cheese, Italian salami and mild orange peppers. Throw in some orange juice and a French baguette and I was ready to seize the day!

The Skorpions' Enzo Petrillo
presented me with his car Saturday

I will be allowed to use this fine auto for the rest of my stay in Italy.

This Toyota Yaris Hybrid is economical

With a minimum of bus traffic in the Venegono Superiore area, this car will help doing errands around town and driving to practice with an occasional day trip too I'm sure.

I will still try to rely on my transportation pass good for busses, metros, trams and trains in Italy's Lombardy region for the most part.

Meanwhile, back on the road to Como . . .

Bumba picked me up at 10:30 a.m. and we were off on the easy 30 minute ride to Como.

The city of Como (pop. 85,000) is noted as being an elegant, prosperous, jet-set location. It sits on the southern shore of beautiful Lake Como.

Como's historic city core, which dates back to the 12th-century A.D. and the city's vibrant silk industry, was our target area today.

We found this area to be lively with lots of shops, both high end and not so high end, as well as numerous spots to wine, dine and gelato away to your hearts content in comfort.

We entered Como's Historic Core
through this ancient City Gate

We spied two more of these gates about 200 meters to either side of this gate. The walls between these gates that defended Como against possible attacks from the tribes of Venegono Inferiore are long gone now.

Inside the Historic Core

The initial view was interesting

An ornate building in
an ornate city

Good looking food store

More plush architecture

Jimi Hendrix!

Laurie and I saw him in concert at the Seattle Center Coliseum back in 1969 about six months before he overdosed.

Who ever saw that coming . . .

Basilica di San Fedele

While parts of this Basilica date from the 6th-century A.D., the bulk of it was built in the 11th and 12th-centuries.

Nice mural in the back of the Basilica

The interior of the Basilica was gorgeous but we didn't explore it in depth as Mass was in progress.

The piazza in front of
Basilica di San Fedele

What is that squat building at the end of those two white tracks?

Whatever it was, it is now OLD!

We found shops at the street level of this venerable edifice and apparently a home or homes above the shops.

Local Spirits in hand
painted bottles

Just looking . . .

In front of Como's Duomo

The Duomo's façade

This splendid Gothic church also has elements of Romanesque, Renaissance and Baroque styles sprinkled throughout.

Green Dome of the Duomo to the right

Again Mass was in process on this foggy Sunday morning so we opted not to enter.

We continued to walk through the city to the banks of Lake Como.

Walking out deeper into Lake Como
on a pedestrian only pier

The Falco

Famously, George Clooney lives somewhere in Como.

What is not as well known is that former star NFL replacement QB for the Washington Generals, Shane Falco, now lives on this self-named boat in Como's harbor.

Another Como view from
our pier walk

Lake Como is Italy's
deepest lake

At the end of the pier we found
this interesting sculpture titled
"Life Electric" by Daniel Libeskind

A good looking bakery

We were getting hungry and started to look for a place for pranzo, i.e., lunch.

The Duomo in the distance

Lots of older ladies wearing
elegant fur coats today

There were no PETA protesters to be seen though.

Finally we found a place to eat, the Natta Café.

We both ordered the
Pizzoccheri alla Valtellinese

Add in a bottle of good red wine from the nearby Piedmonte region, a huge plate heaping with deli-style meats and cheeses plus a caffé after our meal and, voìla, a perfect pranzo!

After a typically long lunch, we exited the Natta Café to find that the Sun was out and most of the fog had cleared.

The Basilica di San Fedele
looked brighter in the sunlight

A sun drenched Duomo looming

The city of Brunate atop the hill

The faint diagonal line going up the hill at a 55° angle from left to right is the Como-Brunate Funicular. It takes you from Como's lakefront up 500 meters (1640 feet) in altitude to the village of Brunate.

We were headed that way on foot.

Another view of the Duomo

On a crisp Sunday like today,
a Passeggiata or stroll along
the lake front is a MUST!

The Como Entrance
to the Funicolare Como-Brunate

My transportation pass covered the 5.50 Euros cost of the round-trip fare to Brunate.

The Funicolare dates from 1894 and in only seven minutes whisks you up the mountain to the small village of Brunate that offers incredible vistas of the Alps and Lake Como.

We made it to Brunate without a hitch

The Brunate Funicolare Station

Laurie will love these hearts
when she visits Brunate

Chiesa San Andrea Apostolo

The Alps in the distance

A Liberty style villa

An ornate Liberty villa to be sure

Tribute to Pencio Slavejkov

He was a well known Bulgarian poet who died in Brunate and he stayed in the Bellavista Hotel where this plaque is found.

A final view from Brunate

Just a beautiful, breathtaking panorama that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Meanwhile, back in Como . . .

The Passeggiata continued

The Moon over the Duomo

One last look at the Duomo's façade

It was a splendid day trip to Como and Brunate . . .
MILLE GRAZIE BUMBA! 

Reading Is FUNdamental!

100% Thriller Fantasy

But it helped pass the evening's at home pleasantly.

This was the seventh of McDermott's Nina Wilde-Eddie Chase novels that son Andy has given to me to read.

While they are all factually hard to believe but fun to read.

The large body counts rival a Jack Reacher novel I must add.

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