For our last full day in Italy, we didn’t fancy doing much, a day of rest and recuperation, and time to eat all the food we had left over. Sam and I took a quiet stroll around town by ourselves, stopping to look in the church – cold and dark but ornate, there were piles of little paper baubles of all the saints to take home and hang on your tree. We bought pizzoccheri pasta, and had an espresso by the river, sitting outside in the sun until the clouds swallowed it up.
Later everyone else headed into Sondrio for one final shopping trip, while Conway watched The Gruffalo and we packed.
In the evening we tried to teach everyone Carcassonne, and Conway sat on his high chair with his own set of tiles and meeples, which he dutifully arranged and played with. The game ran on a bit and Conway got overtired, and we learnt a valuable lesson – do not give a very tired child any ice cream, especially chocolate. Now we had an overtired child with too much energy.
We packed up all the cars, cleared the Airbnb and said our goodbyes. Amanda and Mitch were driving north into Switzerland for a couple of days, while we would drive out of the mountains, back to Milan for our flight home.
The traffic coming into the mountains was horrendous, queue after queue on the single road in – the first weekend after Christmas, all the Italians were coming for their winter break. Thankfully we were headed the other way, away from Sondrio, through the tunnels and towards Lake Como, where we’d take a scenic drive.
I’d wanted to see Lake Como for years, it was on my shortlist of honeymoon destinations 10 years ago. We took an exit from the highway, which was all tunnel, and drove down the hillside to the water’s edge, parking at the station in Bellano.
By the edge of a misty Lake Como, where the sunlight scattered amongst the southern peaks, and the snow sat clear and crisp on the northern ones, we sat on a quiet bench and ate our turkey sandwiches. Conway enjoyed the ducks which paid us a visit. Then we meandered about the town, following the water, until it was time to get going.
We carried on along the lakeside, driving all the way to Lecco, via Gittana, Perledo, Varenna and Lierna. It was beautiful. Samantha and Heather arched their necks up, to see the steep hills either side, their peaks sometimes wrapped in fluffy white clouds. The views out across the lake were stunning. I drove slowly while Eluvium and Ludovico Einaudi were our serene soundtrack to this wonderful place.
From Lecco it’s all highways back to the airport, we returned the car, flew home, then drove home on the left. Our escape to Italy for Christmas was over, and tonight we slept soundly in our own beds, Conway especially pleased to see his beloved cot and soft toys.