Monday, August 30, 2010

Bravo Baveno

Soul mate celebrated his 38th birthday weekend, (managed to talk him down from a week to a weekend), just with us and I was determined to make it special as there was lack of friends and family for celebrations. We started a night early with balloons, cake and a buffett of his favourite pickings (yes fish fingers were on the menu), and the children even backed up the joy with a sleep in the next morning. After speaking to family on birthday morning, we headed for the markets and then off to music shop to buy the birthday boy a guitar. Budget rose slightly and he left shop smiling like a teenager with his first playboy magazine. Once unpacking fruit and veges, hubby took out the rubbish and returned to the apartment to find packed bags for our overnight adventure. "So I can't play my guitar yet?"

After an hours drive north west of Milano, (and some more harsh words with Loise GPS advisor, for some reason she always wants me to stay at someones private house, hubby and her get along much better than we do), we arrive at Lake Maggorie. Baveno is our destination and faces the Borromean Islands, it is situated in both a lakeside and mountain setting, and is characterized by precious examples of architecture, 19th century villas and by its famous pink granite quarries. We have lunch in Baveno, very peaceful, overlooking the lake and watching the boats come and go from the islands. Soul mate braved the ordering of spaghetti, which son attacked while sitting on daddy's lap as there were no highchairs, Happy Birthday Honey... here have some spaghetti in your ear. We bought some floaties for the kids and headed to Hotel Spendid for a swim and to open birthday presents over a glass of wine. The name says it all; the hotel was splendid, so were the views, room, food and company.

We had a lovely swim in the pool with daughter jumping in and out with an abundance of energy, and son just happy to float and take in his surroundings. Soul mate and I got to relax for a little while in the sun (10 minutes is better than nothing), while prince explored the space of the patio and made some new friends, and princess jumped from day bed to day bed and removed and replaced all of the rocks from the pot plants.

Back to the room to plan our evening when son decided to party like a rock star by weeing all over the floor and throwing birthday boys cup of red wine across the room. We decided it was too late to bath then head into town for dinner, and room service was not an option as we did not have a menu in our room and we were both to lazy to organise one. A quick clothes change and we braved the A-La-Carte in the Hotel. This was not the ideal setting for children, but after making presence known, (by throwing cutlery, food and few colouring pencils) they attracted their self selected audience and were happy to entertain wait staff and other hotel guests. We had a lovely bottle of wine and the antipasto buffet, children were free (when will these people learn that it this is not in their best financial interests with the Gonzalez children), and also helped ourselves to the dessert buffet, (to later find out that it was not included, gobble, gobble, ooops)!

Splendid weather the following day and we had a relaxing morning eating breakfast on the patio and planning our day of travel ahead. We took a ferry ride to two of the three Borromee Islands; visiting Isola dei Pescatori an old fishing village, now filled with restaurants, villas and gift stalls (350m long by 150m wide, so did not take long to explore), and Isola Bella, (320m by 400m, also not large enough to work up an appetite) occupied by a palace, large Italian garden, restaurants and stalls selling same t-shirt/ fridge magnet merchandise as first island, oh, and a 'nutella man'. Both islands have skinny rabbit warrened paths, and a walk around the outskirts; foot is your only transport and boat is your only escape. Not that you should need to escape but I did wonder how many tourist have slept on the pebbled beach after missing the evenings last ferry.

The children loved the ferry rides between the islands, as did the boat crew who would throw in a quick line to catch a fish between the docking and take off time of a few minutes. We disembarked at Stresa, had a quick wander, lunch of spinach canneloni, pesto gnocchi and fish ravioli. Boat trip back to Baveno for departing Gelati and 26€ of dried and crystalised fruit (kiwifruit, strawberries, apples, pineapples and pears; yum), got way too much but I think the market vendor spotted the suckers a mile away.

When we first moved to Milan, I found it bizarre that everyone left the city on the weekends, Sundays you literally have to dodge the tumbleweeds down the street. We were told that the summers were always spent at the lakes or in the mountains. Now I know why. Lake Como was gorgeous and alluring, Lake Maggiore was charming and relaxing, (or the small part we have seen anyway), hoping Lake Garda will be next on the list, I am sure it will not disappoint.

Happy Birthday soul mate!!! I hope you enjoyed it my sweet and I look forward to many exciting birthdays to come. Mwah. X

No comments:

Post a Comment