For those that have been following our whirlwind trip through Italy in 10 days, I have been saving the best for last – but not for the reason you might think. The last leg of our trip entailed a return to our starting point in Milan in order to catch our plane back to the states. Mr. Travelbypoints decided to redeem his 2 free Hyatt nights (a credit card sign up bonus) for a stay at the ultra-luxe Park Hyatt Milan. A night there can run upwards of US$800/night (I kid you not. A month’s rent in most cities!). Prior to our trip, he had informed the hotel that we were celebrating our long delayed honeymoon and when we arrived we were pleasantly surprised to find a bottle of champagne, a scrumptious fruit plate and a gorgeous bouquet of fresh roses waiting for us in an upgraded room. A very sweet gesture that epitomized the understated, upscale elegance of the brand.
With a few hours to play before dinner, we skipped across the street to the Duomo di Milano (the Park Hyatt is located just steps from the famed gothic cathedral) and spent some time walking the square and people watching at the nearby shopping center, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. While Rome was historic and epic, Milan was modern and tres chic, as evinced by the beautiful and fashionable Milanese strolling the Piazza. Continuing our pursuit of fine gelato, we made a stop at Grom Gelateria (the best gelato we had in Italy) before retiring to our hotel. No concrete plans had been made for the next day (our last full day in Italy) and we continued to deliberate the merits of staying in Milan versus making a day trip somewhere by train. In the end, our disinterest in fashion and shopping won out, and we decided to take our chances with a day trip to nearby Como, despite predictions of intermittent showers in the forecast. Bright and early the next day (a common theme you’ll notice in all our travels thus far), we caught the morning train from Milan to Como, grabbing a quick breakfast on route prior to settling in for a comfortable hour long train ride. I must have dosed off (travel with Mr. Travelbypoints does take its toil on the body sometimes) and when I was nudged in mid-reverie, I woke with a start. Without a word, he returned my glare with a slight incline of his head towards the large picture windows. I sucked in my breath at the sight – morning sunlight streaming in from atop a glistening jewel. We had arrived in Como.
Words cannot describe what I felt during the next several hours that we spent in Como. We came with little expectations (having decided at the last minute on a whim) and knew very little about the place other than the fact that George Clooney owned a villa there and it was the inspiration for more than one Las Vegas resort (Five Star Bellagio and Gorgeous Lake Las Vegas). The town was just waking up from a dream, with only a handful of people to be found strolling the cobblestoned streets alongside us. It was an ambiance reminiscent of the quiet streets of Siena, but completely different. The air was imbued with a calmer, more ethereal energy which I couldn’t seem to breathe enough of as we wandered aimlessly through one postcard vista into another. As we leaned against the railing of the boat ferrying us across the majestic deep lake, I couldn’t help but wonder how we managed to end up right there, together at that moment. It was the first time I have truly understood what it felt like to witness something so beautiful it made me want to cry at the sheer joy.
The rest of the day – like our Italy trip – went by like a dream. The before and after and all the in between became blurred in a vortex of detail, leaving only one thing at the center – pure, unadulterated joy. We can’t wait to go back.