April 6 – 10, 2023
Easter break. It catches me off guard every year. I blame that on the fact that the dates are rarely the same from year to year. That, and I’m just waking up from my winter’s hibernation. This year I saw the holiday on the calendar and asked Dan “Where do you want to go?” We eventually decided on “Como”, mostly because the Alpine passes are still closed and the weather in the north during April is “iffy”. I arranged cat care and sorted out our transportation.
Dan picked out our hotel, but I was in charge of getting us there. I refused to fly anywhere for the short trip, and the train was the only reasonable way to get south at this time of year. I decided to make things easy on myself and went to the SBB office to purchase the tickets. I figured that they would know the best connections and times, and potentially the best price. Because I waited until just a week before the holiday, there was only room in First Class for the leg from Zürich to Como. Ah, what a shame!
Our train didn’t leave Basel until almost 4 pm, giving us a leisurely morning and a chance to chat with our cat sitter. The train to Zürich was crowded, and I was glad that we had reserved seats (in First Class!) for the rest of the journey to Como S. Giovanni, the name of the station at our destination.
Coming into the Zürich station
The train was a direct line to Como – awesome! And I was thrilled that part of our journey was through the new Gotthard Base Tunnel – the world’s longest train tunnel that was “just” completed in 2016. I had followed along in the building of this tunnel and watched the Opening Ceremony, so it was great to finally get to see it in person. Well, sort of. It was really dark.
Not quite spring in the northern parts of Switzerland
Upon arrival in Como we had a 20 minute walk to our hotel, the Villa Platamone. It was on the other side of the city, which was surprisingly small, but we took a few wrong turns and made the walk a little bit longer than it should have been. We found the Villa’s gate, rang the bell and after a short time, our host Silvano let us in. We walked in the dark up to the building and found the main door. Silvano greeted us warmly and despite the late hour and having just traveled for 5 hours, he instructed us to “Put your bags down – I’ll give you a tour!” My blood sugar was low, I was tired… but ok.
I took some photos when we arrived, but here are some that I took later. “Out of order”, but at least they are in the daylight, so you can get a clear look.
The gates of Villa Platamone
The approach to the Villa, built in 1830 (the three tiny windows are where our room is)
Silvano was clearly enamoured with his place of employment. He pointed out the 19th Century snooker table, various portraits of people important in the history of the Villa, the ceiling decor that was a replication of a 400 year old fresco and the all-important breakfast room. Finally we had toured the main floor and Silvano lead us up to our room. I had chosen a room on the top floor, taking advantage of the skylights and views. But before we got to our room, Silvano pulled us aside to show us the exercise room and the sauna on our floor. It was all very nice, but I was tired and just wanted to take off my shoes and relax.
Detail of the room’s ceiling corner
Looking into the dining room
The main staircase, with skylight
Eventually Silvano left us to our own devices and we settled in for what was left of our evening. It was a welcome and comfortable sleep.