Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Como's highlight and another wet day

Como is a very old city that has changed hands numerous times. There are remnants of the old fortifications (several towers), but the city walls were destroyed during times of change of ownership. The cathedral duomo (dome) towers above the town and is 78 meters tall. It was started in 1396 and finished in 1740. The stain glass windows and art within the basilica are impressive.

After we saw the cathedral we walked around the small harbor to a temple celebrating one of Como's native sons. Allesandro Volta, inventor of the battery, was born in Como and the temple houses the "original battery."

Further along the waterfront, we passed villa after villa, many of which had become governmental offices. They were quite grand, had private boathouses and stone jetties, and had many famous guests in the past
(Napoleon, Tsar Alexander, Empresses etc.). The Villa Olmo, property of the town council, had an art show of Italian Impressionist painters that was fantastic.

It featured an artist named Boldini, but also had paintings of four of his Italian contemporaries who also painted in Paris during the 1870's. The paintings were very beautiful and we could not help but think of Belinda's father, Robert, and how much he would enjoy the exhibition.
The day was dark and wet.

But it did not dampen this fellow's spirits.

Well, the rest day was much needed after 10 days of cycling. Today, Wednesday, was overcast as we left Como and climbed out of the glacial valley that is Lake Como. About 5 km out of Como, the heavy rain started and in the next 10 km we were soaked. There was so much water on the road we had a problem braking. We adjusted the brakes and then realized we needed to replace our brake pads and that they had worn out after 8400 km (6000 in 2008 and 2400 in 2011). We rode into Varese determined to find a bike shop and good accommodations to dry out in. Well we found both and hope tomorrow brings less rain than forecast.


Diana said...

Great photojournaling...feels like being there (almost). We did some very easy biking today in the Sierras and thought of you with an overwhelming sense of admiration as we follow your journey. Next stop?

Dave and Belinda said...

Thanks Diana, we hope you had fun biking and the rest of your vacation is sunny. Next we head south past Torino to Cunio, then we turn west over the Alps to France.