Italy, September 5, 2008
Stunning views on the good life in Italy
Would you ever think there could be a "water taxi lifestyle"? After a long weekend on Lake Como, taking the water taxi daily, and twice on Sunday, I declare there is such a lifestyle, and its high living at that.
Dressed in a tux, my hot pregnant wife at my side, I step onto the gangplank of a Lake Como water taxi with a spring in my step. The boatmen, strapping young Italians, politely gesture to a fine wooden seat, where Amy and I retire to enjoy our ride.
After paying the cheap fare, and a Euro more for buying tickets on the boat, we enjoy the stunning view; crystal-clear Lake Como reflecting high mountain peaks and the mansions that cling to their slopes. A vacation area since ancient times, I can feel the relaxation and well being seep into my mind.
Amy and I are gussied up for my cousin's wedding, but you don't need a tuxedo to enjoy your own Lake Como water taxi lifestyle. Water taxis leave regularly from several piers in Como, to all the cities along the lake. The fare is cheap, a few Euros, and you can buy tickets on the boat if you're in a hurry.
But why be in a hurry? No one else is.
The boatmen sure are not. They do run the water taxi on a strict schedule, but like any sailor, they take nature and the water in stride. With a clang, they pull the gangplank back from the pier and the motor rumbles to life.
Leaving Como, we pass a jetty that's literally, all locked up. As I noticed on a morning run, the loves around Lake Como, attached locks to the railing of the jetty protecting the Como harbor. Each lock has lovers names on it, symbolizing love that they hope lasts past the summer's warmth.
On out into the open lake, the waters get a light chop from the winds swirling through the mountains and those that sat in the bow find a wet ride in store for them. Amy and I, snuggled close inside laugh as spray sends wet tourists headed back to join us. Back at the stern there is another open area, but too loud for me. I've had enough growling diesel engines for now.
Out the window, real Italian Renaissance mansions remind me that Italy is a wealthy nation, and despite the fame of the mob or the dysfunction of the government, Italians know how to make serious money. In fact, we're headed to one such mansion today, the Villa Passalacqua, where my cousin is to wed.
Others in the water taxi are just out on joyrides to gawk at how the others live. Somewhere farther up the lake is George Clooney's house, a must see for the ladies on the boat. Amy just bought the postcard.
As we passed the different towns, Amy and I were lost in dreams of what life would be like in one of these mansions. Life with servants, chauffeurs, and the many supplicants that such wealth brings. Neither of us were sure we would be happy with that, but we're still both willing to give it a try. Even if you're just middle class, you should really try the water taxi lifestyle.
As we pulled up to the dock for our stop, relaxed, refreshed, and with a smile only a Lake Como water taxi can bring, Amy and I felt lucky. To be alive, to be in Italy, to boat to our destinations. Even if only to visit.