Lake Como– Where Everyone is the Papparazzi

Menaggio, Lombardy, Italy
Saturday, September 24, 2016

I didn’t take the private motorboat tour of George Clooney’s front lawn when I went to Lake Como, but maybe I should have. I figured this guy just be tired of seeing boats whizzing by his 10 million dollar villa loaded with tourists taking videos and photos with zoom lenses hoping to catch glimpse of him doing whatever movie stars do in Italy. While 2 of my friends were in a cafe in Rome they happened to be sitting at a table next to Alec Baldwin and some producer type guy, apparently discussing a movie deal. While Baldwin was putting away a whole pitcher of beer my friends were taking pictures of him. He looked a little bloated, like he’d been eating too much pizza. Instead of touring “la Villa di George Clooney”  I took a bus from Menaggio –where my hotel room on the lakefront was — to Como and then to Bellaggio. Maybe next time I would see some of the Cribs of the long gone mega wealthy that you can actually go inside and take tours of.  Walking through the towns were good enough for me, since every two blocks there was a store with awesome Italian fashion for not a whole lot of money. I bought lots of clothes and people watched to see where everyone came from and where they were going. One thing you might want to buy in Bellaggio are silk scarves. They’re amazingly cheap and locally made. If you bought them here they would be super pricey, so if you give them as gifts people will think you spent a lot on them! And when you wear them you’ll feel like a movie star. You could pass for George Clooney’s neighbor.
THe bus ride from Menaggio to Como is about an hour and runs past a lot of cool little villages along the lake that are worth a little stopover to explore.

But Como is actually a huge city, where you can see a scenic view or a refugee camp of Serians living in tents on the lawn in front of train station. Piles of blankets and tents were on every square foot of dirt available, far far away from the world of George Clooney.  In moments like this I really want to punch people who complain about little things. They really should spend some time in a war zone.
I took the finiculare up the side of the hill for a view of the city from way up high. It’s a great place to have lunch and feel lucky I’m  not a war refugee. If George Clooney’s villa will make you feel envious and deprived, then I highly recommend touring the refugee camp by the train station instead.
The fast express ferry from Como to Bellaggio trusts me to a charming like town where I can gawk and ogle all the ornate architecture and upscale streets, where waves of British tourists are doing the same thing, only with a lot of booze. I kept running into the same groups Brits in different bars around the Lake drinking wine and shots of limoncello. Cennturies ago they might have been searching for the holy grail. Now they’re searching for George Clooney. Or more shots of limoncello.
They make sllk in Como, so you can get a killer silk scarf for the price off a pizza.
Photos of  celebrities who hung out there are available to buy in case you don’t want to stalk them with your Go Pro.
This lake area is a place I like coming back to. Mainly for the ridiculously clean air and the friendly ducks. The booze swilling Brits are always fascinating to watch. I don’t know how they can put away so much beer, wine and appertivos without being hung over the next morning at the breakfast buffet. They seem chipper and ready to start doing shots right after breakfast. If I drank like that I’d need a liver transplant by dinner time. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I started watching a woman who were wearing full-on face burka trying to eat spaghetti. The guy she was with was sailing thru his pasta slurping while his wife had to lift the drape of fabric that covered her nose and mouth with revel walking her face to get a forkful under there without splashing sauce on the inside of it.
Not something George Clooneys wife would wear. The booze swilling Brits might enjoy this face gear if it had a built in barf bag. But so far it’s restricted to religious extremists enjoying a day in Bellaggio. Next time I might take the private paparazzi tour for a glimpse of celebs in their villas taking out the garbage. For now I just take mental images of the Alps that reflect on the deep blue lake. Switzerland is a few minutes drive across the border–where you can take a private tour of celebrity bank accounts.

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