Our flight from Canada to Italy via Swiss Air had been relatively uneventful but, as is usual, I was still happy to have my feet back on the ground with luggage in hand and legally into Italy with the blessing of the folks in the Customs and Immigration wickets.
When I travel on my own I don’t expect any fanfare when I arrive so just quickly walk past all of the folks with their signs who are there to meet and greet people. However, when I am on a tour package I rather hope (or expect) that someone from the tour company will be present to say welcome and show me the ropes and quickly get me on my way. Upon arriving in Malpensa Airport, there was no sign held aloft to greet us at our arrival point so, without wasting too much effort, we moved quickly to Plan B and headed over to another section of the terminal where our transfer voucher indicated that a shuttle bus would be waiting for us. We found the right spot without too much problem but no bus and no tour guide were there to greet us either!
At moments like this, it is nice to find someone else in a similar predicament. We found one of our fellow travelers, then another and then a few more and eventually had a nice group assembled. Some went back inside the terminal to watch for our tour guide while others stayed outside with me to watch luggage and watch for something that might resemble the shuttle bus that would take us to Como.
We eventually saw a bus, found our tour guide, exchanged a few pleasantries and hopped aboard the bus (a nice new Mercedes bus). An interesting way to meet fellow travelers but not the greatest way to start a two week tour!
Malpesa Airport is Milan’s largest airport and is located about 40km NW of Milan. Our final destination for the day was Como, Italy which is located more or less directly north of Malpesa Airport. After we had traveled what seemed like 15 or 20 km SE toward Milan, I began to get a bit worried that there had been a change of plans that I might have overlooked. As it turned out, my worries were unnecessary and we eventually got onto the right road heading north toward Como, Italy. Turns out that, in order to get to the turnoff, motorists must first travel quite a distance past the intersection and make a loop back.
Motorists travel on the right hand side of the road in Italy. This was great news for North American travelers but something else to adjust to for our UK and Australian colleagues. On the main freeways and heavily traveled roads through the countryside, I felt that driving conditions were very similar to what I might expect to see on any given day in Ontario, Canada.
However, once we left the major roadways and dropped down into town and city driving environments, I was happy that I wasn’t the driver of our 42 foot long bus.
I was happy to arrive at our hotel and take a look out of our window. Lake Como was in front of me. Unfortunately, so was the local bus stop. The sound of diesel buses stopping in front of your hotel window until well past midnight tends to dull the enjoyment of an idyllic view of the lake.
Location was great though and I was happy to be able to get out onto the streets of the historic parts of Como and start clicking away.