Apologies for how long it’s been between updates, but Katie and I have been so swept up in our final two months that I’ve been neglecting the blog. So here’s the update from this weekend’s trip to Italy, and the not so normal route we took to get there.
It all began with nice people. Katie’s co-worker was kind enough to offer us the use of her car. Now, this is important because we haven’t had a car…. we haven’t rented a car… we haven’t seen cars… Okay, we’ve seen cars. But you get the picture. Everything’s been trains and planes and as much as we love those forms of transportation, there is something lovely about a self-directed road trip.
Seeing the opportunity on the horizon, we tabbed the Domecks as our co-adventurers and the week became a flurry of emails and Facebook messages to decide where we should go. There were two priorities to the trip:
- Get us to Italy again.
- Thermal baths. All the thermal baths.
The natural answer was Bormio. A small town nestled in the Italian Alps, famous for the better part of a century as a place that Italian and European folks could travel up to in search of warm waters and beautiful views. We followed in their footsteps…
Well, except the whole car parked on a train through a tunnel thing. Not sure how many of them did that in 1924… Two hours into our journey we saw a huge line of cars waiting to go the other direction. We laughed merrily and said, “Glad we’re not waiting like those suckers!” And then the roundabout told a joke and there we were… behind all those cars. We waited for two hours, because little did we know, the way to Bormio was taking us through a tunnel on a train in our car. 50 cars packed onto a ferry train every 30 minutes, bumper to bumper, and pulled out on the other side of the Alps. We spent most of our wait introducing Hailey and Justin to the glory that is Jim Gaffigan, before boarding and then crossing the Italian border.
What Google Maps told us would be a 4 hour drive quickly morphed into about 7 hours, but we had tunes, and comedy routines, and sermons to get us there. By the time we made it to Bormio, we were all a little car-stiff and more than ready to relax at one of the premier thermal baths in the village.
And it was… premier. Italian couples wondered from bath to bath in robes, dipping into the hot waters, staring at mountains as they carved the sky. It’s beautiful, and it felt fantastic, and we drifted from sauna to thermal to what I’m calling “simulated waterfall room.” At one point, Katie and I actually were on a stone table being rained on. Herbal teas are in each room. People try to steal your bath robes. Someone totally stole my shoes. I didn’t care. Here are some of the pictures, because words fall short:
Around 7:00 we packed back into the car and Justin navigated us to another town in the Valltellina valley (Poggiridenti, I believe). Our hosts were very kind and made us reservations at one of the best restaurants in town. After a death-defying walk along the mountain road, we found the amazing restaurant. It was the most northern Italian little place. A woman stood near us coating sticks of meat and setting them in an open-mouthed oven. The waiter bragged about their valley’s wines. We struggled to actually figure out the order of dishes we wanted and when they would come, but everything they put in front of us tasted divine.
What’s that? Yes, I’ll take the carbonara, again… and again… and all the time.
The next day, it was a drive up the coast of Lake Como (not featured due to the rainy blah), back through some of Switzerland’s famous tunnels, and home. We were honored to have Hailey and Justin join us (and by join us, I mean we had a car… and they kind of planned most of it) as we flirted with Italy and got a taste of some of it’s smaller, more northern towns. We’ll always think fondly of Rome and Florence, but my money’s on thermal baths in mountain vistas for the rest of… ever.
Thanks for reading!
(Oh, and bonus points for this Grand Budapest looking hotel)