In truth, both Cinque Terra and Lake Como are two very different places even though they are made up of several towns facing large bodies of water. For one thing, Cinque Terra faces the Mediterranean Sea while Lake Como is made up of several towns around a lake, namely, Lake Como.
During my visit to Milan, I took a train to Lake Como. The lonely planet guidebook advised me to take the train to Como Sud. Which, is the WRONG station. I should have taken it to the Nord station because that lands you in the middle of the town Como. After I got off the train, I took a bus to Bellagio. Again, while the cheaper option, was probably the dumber of the options. For one thing, I get car sick. And this bus went looping around the mountains. There was very little to see along the way, and I got increasingly nauseous. I seriously thought I was going to get off half way and just walk! By the time we made it to Bellagio, the furthest town from Como, I thought I would faint. However, it was a little early when I got there so I just wandered around. I saw a church, on top of a very very long stairway. In fact, most of Bellagio was built on these slopes so these stairways were rather important. I feel very sorry for any old person who has a mobility issue. Then I saw the boats. And even though I get seasick too, I figured what the hell! Might as well givee it a try. So I took the ferry. The boat ride is A LOT better by the way. Unlike Lake Michigan which can get really choppy, Lake Como was nice and calm. However, it started to rain on the boat. The boat ride back to Como was 2 hours. I didn’t get off at any of the other towns even though I was really tempted becasue of the rain. Once I got off the boat, well, I got a train ticket back to Milan. Because honestly, wandering aroudn in the rain just isn’t fun. At all.
And then I went to Cinque Terra, which is essentially made up of 5 towns facing the Mediterranean Sea. I had paid for a tour via Viator. To be honest, I feel really really stupid for doing that because I really could have just gone there on my own. I was really expecting a tour. You know, someone explaining what I was seeing, taking me around the towns and stuff. But it turned out that all our tourguide was going to do was take us to La Spezia, bundle us onto a boat. And then shuffle us from place to place. She didn’t really tell us anything. I actually tagged along on another tour to learn about what I was seeing. Seriously, I should have just taken the train to La Spezia myself and then take the boat myself. I won’t have had to be so dependent on the group schedule. I think I might have had a better time. That said, the view from the boat was magnificent even though the ride was super choppy (it was the sea after all). And I got a small can of olive oil, some pesto and a bottle of wine that is apparently unique only to Cinque Terra.
So lesson learnt. Next time I decide to visit Lake Como and Cinque Terra. NO MORE TOUR GUIDES. Also, another lesson learnt is to always take the boat ride. Always.