Sunday, May 31, 2015

Day 5: Lake Como, Italy

                It is Wednesday, May 20th. We are here at the quaint Lario Hotel in Mezzegra, Italy. We have a very busy day ahead of us. After our breakfast, we make our way by bus to Como, where we will take our boat tour of the Lake. Unfortunately, it is raining. But, the beauty of the lake is still present. After a light breakfast of a cappuccino, an Italian tradition, we meet with Roberta Caprani. She is our private tour guide of the lake and she spoke English for us due to the minimal English signage. The boat that we travel on seems to be a bit older than most, but the views outside the windows are magnificent. There was no handicap access on the boat, so any passengers with wheelchairs had to stay on the main level. The safety of the boat was strong, with little open areas and a large amount of guardrails. The history of the lake was very interesting, and seeing the aged villas and castles on the shores was something to remember. When we arrived in Bellagio, the pearl of the lake, we had time to shop a bit and to get lunch. We first went to a restaurant called Aperitivo et al. While we ordered a take away meal due to a time crunch, the staff seemed annoyed at this. The food quality was satisfactory and was enough to suffice. After I shopped for a bit, we had to leave to make our way to the Locanda Dell’Isola Comacina on a small island in the middle of the lake. We had the privilege of sitting in a traditional coffee ceremony that claimed to cleanse the evil spirits that roamed on the island. The owner of the restaurant, Benvenuto Puricelli, was very hospitable towards our group and invited us back anytime. While we did not eat here, the levels of service seemed to be the highest of anywhere we had been thus far. The island was very old and not accessible by handicaps. After we explored the island and all of the history it had to offer, we were taken to Domaso. We made the long walk up to the winery Azienda Agricola Sorsasso. We were greeted very warmly by the staff and were given a pasta making demonstration. Afterwards, we were taken into the wine cellar to indulge in a three course dinner where we tasted three kinds of wine with different food pairings. The quality of the food was superb and the service was fine tuned to the atmosphere and the level of hospitality. The winery seemed to be an older building; therefore there was little accessibility for wheelchairs. The most beautiful thing I saw on this day was the eerie feel of the lake and its beauty. The most surprising thing was the history of the lake and the many historical events that took place there. I feel that the level of hospitality that we received at the winery should be used as a model for American businesses to retain loyal customers and experiences.  

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