From Milan, it was a train to Varenna and a ferry to get to Bellagio.
And yes, the same Bellagio that George Clooney had apparently fell in love with and purchased a villa there (now supposedly in the market for a whopping $100 million, crazy much?). The villas here are gorgeous - definitely a place for the rich - something we witnessed before physically touching ground on Bellagio. As we board the ferry, we were treated with a full visual display of flashy cars leaving the ferry - Ferraris, Porches, Lamborghinis. Roofs down, bronze families in chic hats and sunglasses more expensive than my year's salary.
It is almost too easy to fall in love with Bellagio - narrow alleyways, rickety stairs, glimpses of the azure blue Lake Como beyond petite cafes , and cute little gelateria framed by flowing vines.
The very scenic route towards the Villa Mitzi, one of the top attractions in Bellagio (cos really, there isn't much to do other than to eat, drink and be merry. Oh, swimming, and cycling too, but I'll come to that shortly).
We were lazing and reading at a bench in the grounds of Villa Mitzi when I started feeling off - feverish and nauseous. I wasn't sure if it was something I'd eaten, or I was dehydrated. I wanted to go back to the hotel so that I could put my head down, and on the way we stopped at a clubhouse for some water.
There was a bar just close to the entrance and I flopped down to an armchair. Vinnie went to the bar and asked for a bottle of water. He didn't have small change so I took out my purse and gave him some. Somewhere between that and leaving seems to be a haze. We got back to the hotel eventually (me stopping again and puked out my lunch - clam spaghetti) and dozed for a good few hours.
When I finally woke up, it was close to 8. I felt a lot better, although still weak. We discussed dinner and I was looking forward to head out after wasting previous holiday time on the bed... got ready and realized my purse was missing.
I panicked, and backtracked events of the day - the last I'd seen it was at the clubhouse. Vinnie took off to search the clubhouse while I searched the room. Nothing. V came back and nothing still. He said nobody at the club has seen it. I was devastated.
I've never been in such a helpless situation before - because I always take actions to prevent anything like this from happening! All of my IDs are in the purse - my driving licenses, all of my credit cards, ATM cards, and over $1000 cash!
We asked for directions to the police station - took us a good 20-30minutes' walk! Wished we'd gone on the bicycles, it would have saved us so much time. And when we got there..... it was closed.
I was well close to tears, we got back to the clubhouse to speak to the manager. She said nobody has seen or mentioned seeing a purse. I noticed CCTVs in the clubhouse and asked if she could go through the recordings. She wasn't familiar with them, but asked us to come back in another hour when the security guys are here.
I was already preparing myself for the worst. True enough, the armchair I flopped myself on earlier in the day is a blindspot on the cameras! I couldn't believe it, it all seemed like a horrible nightmare that wouldn't end.
We got back to the hotel and called the banks to cancel my cards... I started making plans to head back to Malaysia as well because I have no cards, and will have to lodge a police report to reissue my IDs... it all seemed like a huge big mess!
I was exhausted and still unwell. In the middle of the night, the hotel phone rang - it was the clubhouse manager. She said the cleaning lady has found the purse and we could get it tomorrow! So it turned out the same cleaning lady nicked it, didn't report it and of course wanted a reward for it - Important thing was I have all my cards back, with a few hundred Euros missing - a small price to pay!
I was back and smiling for photographs:
Couldn't find a road bike so only managed a cross-bike for Madonna del Ghisallo-
A church with altars dedicated to bikes!
Simple bruschetta with cheese and tomatoes - effortlessly delicious! Cappucino was good, as always!
Lesson learnt: Never bringstore all your cards and cash in one place!