Lake Como is about an hour-and-a-half car ride from Milano centrale, which is just a hopscotch away to enter into an entirely new culture. Here are a few more photo highlights from Villa del Balbianello, one of my all time favorite villas. Naturally it's filled with tourists and has made its debut through films like James Bond and Starwars, but it still holds a special place in my heart from the first time I visited with my family in 2005. By no means do these shots do this villa any justice (actually on second thought, they are pretty spectacular thanks to my amazing photographer Sarah), but at least you can get a glimpse of the dreamy world that I got to live for a few days.
There are several places that one can drive or boat to while at Lake Como. That's the beauty of Europe. If you want an exciting change of scenery, you can escape into a different country in a matter of a few short hours. This is a very different philosophy than what I am used to in New York City. Of course the surrounding cities to NYC are wonderful in their own right, but it's nothing like it is in Europe. To the north of Italy is Switzerland and Austria, to the west you have France, and to the east you have Croatia; imagine the endless options available to you if you were to even take a plane for an hour-and-a-half. It makes me wish I was living in Europe again. I ponder back and forth on whether or not I would be happier there. I think the best thing I can do is be open to change and whatever the world brings my way.
In everywhere I live though, it seems as though I have gone on journeys of viewing flats that are in the hundreds, before walking in and thinking, "this could be my home". I actually really enjoy the entire process of finding a new place to live. I enjoy doing things that most people find tedious and annoying. In Paris, I prefer to live on the top floor with the view of the varied Parisian rooftops and a view of the sky. The space has to open to nature, so I like living by parks. When I lived in Paris, we lived close to the Jardin d'Acclimatation, Jardin de Ranleagh, and had views of the Eiffel Tower. Jardin d'Acclimatation was the most perfect park to sit at on a Saturday afternoon and run at on a Sunday morning. Throughout the day, there are vendors from local farms that set up shop so you can purchase fresh produce and bread along the way.
In London, I prefer to be on the first floor, since you will get higher ceilings and a more spacious unit. London in particular though is five New York's in one, so choosing your neighborhood is almost as important as choosing your partner. Imagine having to travel fifty minutes by tube to visit your boyfriend every night. Trust me, it's not fun. In New York, I have my list of preferences that I look for- natural light, elevator, high ceilings, central air, real plank wood floors, closet space, central location, open floor plan- the list goes on. I've been fortunate enough to live all around New York, so I have really gotten to know each neighborhood. But unlike other cities around the world, the beauty of New York is that each neighborhood has its own facets and idiosyncrasies that make it unique.
I've quite enjoyed my time in Europe and it's given me a lot to think about in terms of what I want my life to look like in the future. I can't say I know all the answers as to where I want to live, what I want to do five or even ten years from now, but what I do know is that being close to Europe in some way or another is absolutely a necessity for me. Comotose seemed like a fitting name for this post, since I'm still in awe of this beautiful place even after so many years. In a sense, I never want to ever leave. More holiday diaries coming up soon...