Thursday, April 24/14.
At last, after a fairly hectic few days, we are at the start of our journey. To get to Como from Wellington we have three flights. Wellington/Auckland – 1 hour; Auckland/Hong Kong – 12 hours and Hong Kong/Malpensa, Madrid – 13 hours. This is followed by a 40-minute car ride to Como.
The adventure is just beginning and a charming young Asian steward brought a glass of champagne before the plane took off. Then the purser appeared with a beautifully produced menu for lunch. I chose salmon with apple and wasabi mayonnaise salad, followed by stir-fried prawns with XO sauce, jasmine rice and vegetables. Delicious. But before lunch, the same young Asian man brought me a perfectly mixed Bloody Mary complete with a small bottle of Tobasco sauce as he didn’t know how much to put into the drink.
We had fully flat beds and after such an early start they looked very appealing.
It is a few years since I was last in Hong Kong and the changes to that airport are amazing,
And the Cathay Pacific lounge has to be seen to be believed. It is without a doubt the most beautiful airline lounge I have been in. Carrara marble on every surface and while that sounds awful it was absolutely beautiful. They call this lounge The Bridge as it bridges two areas each complete with bars and cafes with every type of food imaginable. But who really wants to eat after a 13-hour flight? We had some broth and a cup of coffee.
We had four hours wait in this fabulous lounge. And even at 12 midnight, the shops were open offering high-class goods.
Friday, April 25
Then it was time for the next leg of our journey. This time I slept most of the way – all through dinner and the next round of snacks. It is great to be able to stretch out in full-length beds and sleep the hours away. Breakfast was served and suddenly we were beginning our descent into Malpensa.
Our friends were at the airport to meet us and drive us to their home for a few days rest and recuperation after our long flight.
In Italy, April 25 is a public holiday – Liberation Day. It marks the fall of Mussolini’s Italian Social Republic and the end of the Nazi occupation in Italy in 1945, towards the end of the second World War. This is also a public holiday in New Zealand – ANZAC Day. It commemorates the landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) at Gallipoli, Turkey, during World War I in 1915. This event, also observed in Australia, remembers all New Zealanders who served their country in wars and conflicts. Links to posts written for Anzac Day 2011, 2012 and 2013 are at the end of this missive.
As everybody was on holiday the whole family came for lunch on a glorious spring day. Small children, adult children and their spouses all gave us a great welcome to Italy. It was such a lovely spring day that we ate outside in the gazebo. But once the family went home, we retired to our beds for a welcome siesta.
Saturday, April 26
Another lovely warm spring day and so after breakfast we went into Como to parade around, look at the lake and do some people watching. But first, our host had to have coffee. What a beautiful old city this is. The church, Duomo, is 12th Century and we decided against going into it as there were so many people around. Instead we chose to just wander around for several hours.
Then back to our hosts’ house for another siesta. We were becoming very used to this custom by now.
Sunday, April 27
All the family came to lunch again. As it rained heavily we were all in the house and the children became a trifle grumpy as they couldn’t get out to play.
Monday, April 28
Today it rained as if it would never stop. Typical spring weather in Italy we are told. Good friends of our hosts came for lunch which went on well into the afternoon following which we had another siesta.
Tuesday, April 29
A wet start to the day but it improved to hot sunshine later. We went into Como for the necessary espresso and to acquire Italian sim cards for our phones. But we didn’t have our passports with us and so we had to go back home to retrieve them.
We did some window shopping, bought another suitcase and had lunch in a restaurant atop a four-story building affording fantastic views of both the Duomo and the lake.
Buying sim cards and a USB for the internet proved to be more difficult than we expected. Vodafone would not take a credit card or cash for the USB and after trying several of our cards our host came to the party with a cash card to pay for the connection. With the difficulty of language, their not taking our credit cards or cash this transaction took over an hour. So we were all pleased to find somewhere for coffee and then go home again.
“The traveler sees what he sees.
The tourist sees what he has come to see.”
― G.K. Chesterton
Links to ANZAC Day Posts