Travel Articles




BirthEasterDay in Italy

Christopher Allen on his ::coughs-th:: birthdayMy birthday always falls close to Easter, so we're always on a trip when the clock strikes 12 and I turn another year younger. This year, it was my great fortune to turn ::coughs:: on Easter. Oddly, one of my many nicknames over my ::coughs:: years was "Bunny" (given to me by Gretchen). I've had "Topher" from my friend Diane, "Peesh" from my friend Tom, "Christical" from my friend Jana, "Teen" from my friend "Theen" whose real name is Beth. And of course I'm "Boopie" at home. If you were to throw these nicknames into a nickname analyzer thing-a-magig, you'd come up with a fellow who kind of looks like this (well, actually he'd look exactly like this on his ::coughs-th:: birthday) on a ferry from Rapallo to Portofino:

Lago di Como, ItaliaWe spent Easter-slash-my-birthday in Bellagio, which is in the crotch of Lago di Como. The lake looks a bit like a frog whose head has been run over by a truck. If you imagine us right there where the frog's privates are, you'll have us pegged. Bellagio is a beautiful place, as the name suggests. Lago di Como is famous for being the home to George Clooney--although, except on calendars and commemorative plates, we never saw him. We did, however, see thousands and thousands and thousands of cars.

Bellagio, Lago di ComoAre you planning a trip to Lago di Como? Here's a bit of information that will make your trip less stressful: TAKE THE FERRY from one town to another. The roads around the lake are at times so congested that it will take you hours to get anywhere. The ferry is easy and not so expensive. We paid 26 euros for a big car and 5 people to go from Bellagio to Verenna. That's not very far, but it's better to put your car on the ferry than to try to maneuver those roads at night. From Verenna, you can take a straight road back to Como or Lecco and beyond.

Lago di Como, in contrast to Venice and Florence, is worth a visit. The mountains around the lake are beautiful, and the villas dotting the landscape are right out one of those James Bond movies. As hundreds of tourists waited in line to ride the funiculare up to Brenate (a high point above Como), we drove up the mountain and miraculously found a parking space (a rarity in Italy).

Easter Picnic on Cloud Number 9At the top, there's a kiosk that sells panini and wine. I found some gluten-free potato chips and this wonderful couple. They'd come up the mountain to have an Easter picnic. At the kiosk, waiting to order food and drinks, the woman and I sang "Cloud Number 9" with Bryan Adams on the radio. The song was oddly appropriate, considering we were all high above Como--and we'd all found a parking space. I couldn't resist taking this picture. There's poetry in the way they're holding hands.

Thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birtheaster on Facebook. If you're racking your brain trying to figure out something to give me for my birthmonth, you can stop by any of these places and comment. That would make my month.

Bellagio, Lago di ComoThe Easter Bunny in Milano
Shoe flowers in Bergamo
Spoon bouquet in Portofino
Spring's ready for its close-up.
Easter in BergamoIf you want, you can wish me a happy birthday by clicking on these links to my stories and interviews:

"Triangulation" at A-Minor

Red Alert #5 at Amazing Australian Adventures

The Absurd and the Surreal at Flash Fiction Chronicles

A Year Ago on I Must Be Off!

To continue with I Must Be Off! A-Z, go to J is for Jerusalem.

I must be off,


Christopher Allen is the author of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire), an episodic adult cartoon about a man struggling with expectations. Allen's award-winning fiction and non-fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in SmokeLong Quarterly's Best of the First Ten Years anthology, Prime Number Magazine, The Best of Every Day Ficton, Pure Slush, Bootsnall Travel and Chicken Soup for the Soul. A finalist at Glimmer Train in 2011, Allen has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize twice. He is the managing editor of the daily litzine Metazen. Recently, Allen--along with editors Michelle Elvy and Linda Simoni-Wastila--hosted Flash Mob 2013 in celebration of International Flash Fiction Day.

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