Running around Varenna. Hotel Du Lac from the other side.
Good morning beautiful Varenna!
After my run it was time for breakfast. We both deemed that our hotel, Del Sole had the best orange juice we have ever tasted. We discussed our plans for the day and decided that we would take the ferry over to Bellagio to see what all of the fuss was about.
We bought our ferry tickets and were soon on our way to Bellagio. We arrived and immediately did not understand why everyone loves this place. It was very crowded. We walked around for a bit and stopped for lunch off the beaten path by the water. After lunch, we walked back to the ferry dock still questioning why everyone loves it so much. Perhaps it is because of the Bellagio hotel in Vegas? Anyways, we were grateful that we were staying in quiet Varenna.
Bellagio from the ferry
We ended up on one of the car ferries from Bellagio to Varenna. Ken always likes to offer me money to do odd things. Get your mind out of the gutter. It is things like $5 for sticking my tongue on a dirty hand rail or something like that. So it should be no surprise that he offered me $10 if I would get a running start and jump off the back of the ferry.
Photo for reference. Clearly, I did not accept the challenge.
We arrived back in Varenna and relaxed in our room for a bit before heading out for a bottle of wine. We found a nice little spot by the ferry dock that had outdoor seating with some shade. We saw a husky and listened to some 20 somethings behind us talk about how huskies are just one step away from being a wolf. Yeah, sure they are. We had a good laugh about it and enjoyed our wine.
We grabbed a gelato and walked back to our hotel and I had the hotel make us a dinner reservation for the evening, which we were super excited about. We walked over to a place across from our hotel that had seemed popular and ordered another bottle of wine. This place had a small little buffet of snacks set up that consisted of chips and salsa and flatbread. If we were not going out for dinner, we definitely could have eaten enough here to skip dinner. Some of these places put on quite the spread for aperitif!
Ready for more vino!
Ken enjoyed the vino (and the snacks!)
A view from our seats. Our hotel is on the left. We had a great location in the town square.
Now about our dinner reservations. I had read in my Rick Steves travel book about a place called Ristorante il Caminetto that is located in the mountains above Varenna. A reservation is necessary because the restaurant will pick you up in the town square. Chef Moreno puts on quite a spread for his guests and we were super excited to get to experience it!
Waiting in the town square for our transportation to il Caminetto
The view of the church in the town square
A lot of motorcyclists ride into Varenna and take the ferry across the lake to different villages. I imagine it is a beautiful drive around the lake.
Soon enough, a van arrived and picked us and a British couple up to drive us up the mountain. It was an interesting ride. We arrived at the restaurant and Chef Moreno greeted us and took care of everything for us. We went with the four course meal which to us ended up being more like seven courses. Everything was delicious!
A small portion of one of our appetizers. I absolutely love the peppers stuffed with cream cheese.
Ken ordered veal as his main course and I ordered fish. The funniest moment of the entire night was when I was enjoying my fish and Ken asked me what kind of fish I was eating. Without hesitation I responded with "Lake Fish." I said it with such confidence that Ken about peed his pants from laughing so hard. Because of all the delicious fish out there, lake fish tops them all. My fish was very yummy.
We wrapped up the dinner with limoncello, which was pretty amazing. I am definitely a fan.
A view of one of the dining rooms in the restaurant
As we were leaving I spotted this picture on the wall. That there is my buddy Rick Steves with Chef Moreno. Ken made funny of me for taking a picture of it, but hey, Rick Steves is how we learned of this place, so thanks Rick!
One of the best parts of the night is that Chef Moreno drove us back to Varena in the van. Ken and I sat up front with him and enjoyed chatting with him the entire way down the mountain. I cannot think of a better way to end our time around Lake Como.
Having a blast with wonderful Chef Moreno. It was one of our favorite parts of our time in Varenna.
Ken grabbed a cocktail for the road and we packed up our backpacks in anticipation of our 7:30 am train the next morning.
We absolutely loved Lake Como. Varenna was a great place to stay and we received wonderful service everywhere we went. Albergo Del Sole was the perfect place for us and I do not have enough nice things to say about this hotel. I definitely would recommend it to anyone.
Up next, we travel to the Italian Riviera and get our first ever view of the Mediterranean Sea!