Day 1 – We've arrived!
We had a nice flight and landed safely at Malpensa Airport outside of Milan in the morning. Unfortunately, neither one of us slept much overnight. A daytime flight a day before the tour began might have been a wiser choice for us. Our first mistake was to cash in American dollars for Euros at an airport exchange booth. It was not a fair exchange! For the rest of the trip, we used a debit card at a bank ATM or paid with a charge card (I think Rick mentioned this). We hopped onto a train at the airport and traveled to the Milano Centrale Train Station where we caught another train to our first overnight destination, Varenna. An electrical storm caused our train to break down for an hour or so. It turned out that the two people sitting across from us were on the same tour… how nice! We also chatted with a charming, Italian lady sitting next to us named Josephina. As an English teacher, she easily translated the Italian updates coming over the loudspeaker. The views of Lake Como from the train were breathtaking. We checked into our hotel which was right on San Giorgio Square and were very pleased with our room. It had a beautiful balcony view of the lake and the historic church tower complete with a tolling bell. We met with our group at 5pm and shared some sparkling wine then enjoyed a relaxing dinner on our own at a lovely, grotto-type restaurant called Quattro Pass.