Have you found that your summers seem to be getting shorter every year? For me summer used to be an endless time that stretched on for months, free from any serious pressures or obligations. Since graduating everything seems to have suddenly changed – leisure time has become scarce! Most of my friends have jobs or have moved away and coordinating meetings can be difficult. Finding time for a family holiday during a hectic summer proved equally challenging. However, eventually a week was chosen and we flew to Italy to soak up the sun!
Situated in the mountains, Lake Como’s stunning scenery provides relaxation with spectacular views. Quaint villages and towns surround the lake and offer endless opportunities for exploration. While a car would make a trip to the area simpler, it is possible to get by without one; buses and trains provide access and ferries allow you to travel easily around the lake. Bikes are also available to rent and there are many routes to follow into the mountains and between villages – they are very popular so make sure to book in advance! If you are feeling very adventurous try taking a trip across the border to Switzerland!
The views from the beaches will make you feel as though you are looking at a painting – though they tend to lack sand so I would advise bringing some water friendly shoes. Italy is known for it’s cuisine and in many of the restaurants this is no exception. However, if you love your food I would advise reading the restaurant reviews on tripadviser before deciding where to eat – we were surprised by microwave pasta on a couple of occasions!
With both Lake Como and the airport being close to Milan, visiting was a must! As our time was limited we chose to get a tour bus. Many of the buses are shaded so this was a lovely way to see the city on a hot day! As we ventured further into the city we realised that many of the attractions are within walking distance of each other – to avoid expense this is probably the preferable option.
My favourite part of the tour was our stop at Piazza del Duomo. Here you become truly entranced by Milan’s architecture. Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral) towers above you, glowing white in the sun. Turn to the arch and enter the world’s oldest shopping mall, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, home to many luxury retailers. The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci is one of Milan’s great attractions, unfortunately we missed it as tickets need to be booked in advance. If you are feeling the need to escape the heat, I would suggest relaxing with a Venchi ice-cream – possibly some of the best chocolate ice-cream I’ve ever tried!
Returning to Ireland after spending time in a sunnier climate always takes some adjusting. However, I am enjoying spending my last days of summer appreciating the familiarities of home before returning to London.