Monday, May 8
Lucerne to Varenna

We trained to Zurich Airport and flew Swiss Air to Milan.  From there, we took a one-hour bus ride to Milano Centrale train station, and then trained north to Varenna. Milan’s train station was a beehive of activity, and it was the only time on the trip when I felt it important to watch my possessions. Zurich’s airport has lots of shops including a supermarket and a dry cleaner. I could envision someone phoning and saying, “Honey, don’t forget to pick up the cleaning and a rotisserie chicken when you land.”

I knew that the train would stop in Varenna briefly, so we headed for the exit shortly before the scheduled arrival, and who do we bump into? “Excuse me. Are you Rick Steves?” I stuck out my hand and introduced myself. “You’re the reason we’re in Varenna and the reason we went to the Cinque Terre in 1997. I’m really pleased to meet you.” He must get this all day long, but I just couldn’t help myself. He was gracious and we exchanged a few words. His crew started filming as he stepped off the platform.

It was drizzling at 5:30 pm when we arrived. After a five-minute cab ride from the train station we were greeted in a friendly manner at the Hotel du Lac and immediately escorted up to our room. As soon as the door opened our eyes feel on the jaw-dropping view beyond our huge, private terrace overlooking Lake Como. We were literally speechless. Then we noticed our room, a suite really. The U-shaped room, named the Oleander, had a sitting area on one side, a bedroom on the other side, a desk and closet at the bottom, and a good-sized bathroom in the center. The hotel in general and our room exceeded my expectations.

A view from our terrace