After two nights in Bologna, we drove nearly 3 hours north to Lake Como, and after a horrible 30 kilometer drive down a one-lane road with a million turns, we arrived at Bellagio (not the real Bellagio in Las Vegas, but the Italian Bellagio.) This little town rests at the tip of a lush green peninsula that jettisons into Lake Como. Our guide books pronounced Bellagio “the prettiest Italian town”. Truly, there is nothing like it. The lake is narrow and deep and long. The cliffs rise from the water into tall mountains. We are nearly in Switzerland, and it’s easy to imagine how the steep precipices morph into Alps.
We spent three nights here. During the day we swam in the pool with the Germans, Swiss, French, and English. There was hardly anyone speaking Italian; they must have gone somewhere else for vacation. (Certainly not Perugia or Bologna.) But we got along with all the other nice tourists. An English family taught us a new card game. It was perfect for the four of us: easy to learn, entailed a bit of strategy and can be played in about 10 minutes. A hit. It’s called “Sevens”. To play, deal out a deck of cards to three or more people. Arrange your cards in numerical order by suits. Aces are low. Whoever has the seven of diamonds begins the game by laying his card face-up on the table thus starting a stack of diamonds which will be played in ascending and descending order. The player to his left then plays either a six of diamonds by placing it below the seven or an eight of diamonds by placing it above. He may also set down one of the other three sevens and begin a new pile in that suit. The game continues clockwise. Players must add cards in ascending and descending order and by suit. If someone can’t play, he passes. The object of the game is to be rid of your cards first. Strategy is introduced when a player tries to suspend play for the others by holding onto a card. For instance, if I have more than one option to play, I will decide which card is the most important for others to be able to play, and then hold onto it. I would choose to play a king before a 10 because a 10 would then allow the jack then queen then king to be played. Players must play a card if they can. (No optional passes.) Hope that makes sense. Post questions on the comment bar. Here’s a photo of the game as it nears an end:
What Bellagio lacks in ancient ruins, Renaissance influence, and an adventurous atmosphere, it makes up for it all in pretty flowers and great food. We ate fresh fish caught daily from the lake, the creamiest risotto ever, and a meat sauce that rivaled Bologna’s. And we always had an appetizer of gelato around 6:00.
And I’m sure everyone is wondering about George Clooney. He has a villa somewhere nearby , but we failed to spot him. We did, however, hear a rumor among the locals that he is selling his house to Tom Cruise.