We last saw Bubba at a brew pub outside Verona, Italy. He was partying pretty hard with a passing group of hard drinking action figures. He started making a fool of himself so we distanced ourselves from him and, the next thing we knew, he was gone. We spent the day in the Lake Garda region and had a very relaxing time in the small villages that line the shore of this tranquil lake.
Small fortified, medieval villages catering to the German and Swiss tourist trade gave us a pleasant day strolling, shopping, and eating in the broad lanes.
We then moved over to Lake Como. Driving in Italy is an experience. I think the “Stop” signs mean yield and the “Yield” signs mean “Go for it”. On the main roads, leaving unoccupied space between cars is a no-no so there is a mobile, high speed game of leap frog occurring. Driving gives you a chance to see the small towns unvisited by tourists. On one of our driving days, we stopped for lunch in a small restaurant next to the road. The staff spoke no English so it really tested our Italian skills. We asked if we could eat lunch and were ushered into a back room that was filled with tables that were mostly empty. On the back wall was one particular long table that had a huge high-backed chair in the center. The ornate carvings and colors were reminiscent of a renaissance throne. There were a couple of these long table and big chair combinations and I can only imagine they were for the patriarch when the family went out to eat. The food was good and the waitress lovely. When we finished our meal and paid the bill, we were treated to her sole phrase in English, “Have a nice day.” Italian courtesy at its best.
We eventually dropped off the car and went, by train, to Lake Como. Lake Como is another of northern Italy’s great gems. Quiet villages surrounded by towering mountains. I don’t know if it was the calm waters or a lack of Bubba drama but we had the most peaceful and relaxing time of the trip.
As we sat and enjoyed the scenery, I wondered how Bubba was doing.
I woke up to find the hotel I thought I was in was really a Laundromat and the action figures were hitting the road yelling, “Good Bye, Bubba” at the top of their lungs. I had to read the last post to see how it was that I came to be here. I was lost and had no way to find my friends. I overheard a group of kids saying they were going to a small town near a lake. They were Germans and I couldn’t quite understand them, but the name of the town sounded like someplace I may want to go. The German kids were a lot less effusive than the Italian scouts that rescued me earlier in the trip, but they took good care of me and helped me on my way. We all sat on the train station platform and waited.
As we neared their destination, anticipation grew. From the name of the town I imagined it must be filled with people just like me. Maybe it would be a place where I could settle down and make my own way. Then I was crushed! I saw the sign and couldn’t believe my eyes. I asked one of the students to hold me closer so I could see for myself that the spelling of the town was just a little different from what I thought and I was not headed to the town of my forbearers after all.
The kids dropped me off at another train station and I was again lost and on my own. I couldn’t reach the ticket machine and the only choice I had was to try to walk through the narrow tunnel. That looked a little too close, even for me.
Oh what I wouldn’t do to get Rick and Spider back.
Our day at the lake had to come to an end so we walked up the steep hillside to the train station. We admitted to ourselves that we really did worry about Bubba and missed the little guy. Waiting on the platform, I thought…yes it was…I saw a familiar bit of white and yellow plastic about to step off the platform and violate the forbidden zone behind the yellow line. After a brief and emotional reunion, we all decided to join up again and go to Milan.