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Wed Oct 07 2015: Como Ver Here

We've got one eye on the southbound road ahead of us and another eye on the calendar, trying to stay ahead of the winter looming just over the horizon behind us. The weather has been pretty variable lately, with warm and sunny days alternating with wet and gloomy days, signalling the close of another fall season in Europe. We're in pretty good spirits. All the company that we've surrounded ourselves with has lifted our mood, so we're not going to fix what's not broken and we're on our way to see more people that we know.

Riding around the Swiss part of Lake Lugano

Morcote is one of the most popular tourist spots in Ticino

Bettina and Stefano took us here the last time we were in Switzerland, and now we're just riding through on our way to Italy. The pretty village and the lake-side scenery is complemented by the beautiful weather we're having. I can't believe it's so nice this late in the season!

And then suddenly we're in Italy once again! Ciao, Bella!

Now I can let Neda take over the reins of communication and just relax and be a "passenger" through Italy. Neda is the more extroverted of the two of us, and whenever we're in a country where I speak the language better than she does (basically only France, Morocco and Walloon Belgium), she ends up feeling a bit disconnected from the trip. I'm totally different. If I don't have to perform negotiation and translation duties, I'm much more happier just to sit back and enjoy the ride. Just part of my lazy personality.

It's been exactly a year since we've been here and right away, when we crossed the border we saw swarms of scooters parked on the side of the road and zipping through the streets. And all the women were dressed up to the nines as well. It's funny how much you forget about a place until you come back to it and then everything's like, "Oh yeah, I remember that!"

Trying to find our way out of Como

We're not spending any time in the big city, instead zig-zagging our way back north on the Italian side of Lake Como to explore the roads around the triangular peninsula called Triangolo Lariano. Yesterday, Bettina pointed out some great twisty roads up and down the mountain right on the peninsula.

Riding around Lake Como in perfect weather

The narrow roads around Lake Como are lined with steep roads that traverse the interior of the triangular peninsula

We take one such road up into the interior. Grigna Mountains across the lake in the distance

Turns out it wasn't just any road. This was the world famous Passo del Ghisallo. Famous if you're a cyclist, which we're not, so we didn't know what we stumbled upon. It's one of the roads that they race on in the Tour of Lombardy. Over a distance of 10 kms, the road climbs over 500m high. What makes it so challenging for cyclists is that the switchbacks are non-stop one after the other... I dunno, sounds kinda fun if you have a motor strapped onto your cycle...!

Museo del Ciclismo in Magreglio

At the top of a road is a chapel dedicated to the Madonna del Ghisallo, the patron saint of cyclists. I'm not making this up. The chapel also doubles as a museum dedicated to cycling, with lots of memorabilia, jerseys, bicycles and old photographs of famous cyclists over the years. Cyclists from all over the world come to ride this road and pay homage in the chapel/museum.

Here's a short video of our ride into Bellagio, down the Passo Del Ghisallo
No cyclists were harmed in the making of this video.

Riding into ritzy Bellagio

It's a small world after all!

We had just gotten off our bikes and were starting to do our requisite stroll around Bellagio when this gentleman exits a building and calls us out by name. Totally caught us off-guard. I'm really bad with names and faces, but I was pretty sure I didn't know him. He introduced himself as Gino, a fellow motorcycle rider and traveler from Scotland and he told us that he had been following our blog. Wow! That's incredible! What are the odds?

And that's not the entire story. Earlier this year, Gino and his wife had hosted Sara and Daniel, our fellow Canadian motorcycle friends that we traveled with in Norway. That really makes the world a small place! Gino and his wife were here on a vacation, albeit not a motorcycle one this time. We chatted for a while on the streets of Bellagio and wished each other a good journey.

I was drooling over this Ducati 999. Ah, Italian sportbikes in Italy! This is my favorite and I miss the one I owned dearly

Bellagio is a very upscale touristy town

They call this town the "Pearl of the Lake" and it's where rich Italians go on vacation in the summer months to escape the heat of the lowlands of Milan. One look at the storefronts and we knew we couldn't afford to buy even a soda here, so it's off to do more riding.

Como stai? Bene! Bene!

Andiamo, Bella! Back on the road!

Heading towards Milan

Spending a few days with Neda's sister and her family in Milan

The World Fair is being held in Milan this month. Goga told us that they went and it was crowded and expensive. Good thing that Touring Mode is Off for us, we're just here to hang out with family.

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