Lago di Como was entirely beautiful. The train ride from Milan was short and filled with gorgeous scenery, and before we knew it, we arrived. We chose to stop in Varenna, although there were several other possible destination locations. I had just read about how this little town has a romantic feel and was especially picturesque.
We were able to quickly find our way to the fun parts of exploring. My goal was simply to wander and enjoy the Italian beauty, while my mother’s goal was to find the town church, and it was my father’s prerogative to get some food. Sounds pretty simple. Off we went!
Upon finding the town’s church, Chiesa di San Giorgio, I walk in, slightly out of breath from the steep uphill climb. With my unspoken desire to find the church completely empty having been granted, I sat in the back row listening to the silence. Quiet, empty churches are my absolute favorite to stumble upon for so many reasons. One of those reasons happens to be this: empty churches are somehow calling my name, begging me to fill their spaces with worship. Something within me aches to let out a loud and passionate song from within. So, it was my time!
I took a deep inhale and let out, “Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee!” and then the priest walked in. Oops. At first I thought he was angry with me. This is my trepidation- I never want to be perceived as disrespecting the house of God. I know that there are cultural differences and protocols on behavior. I am also not a Catholic. Am I actually allowed to sing in here? I am thinking all of these things as I pause my song and make eye contact with the father. He seemed to give me his approval, so I close my eyes and finish, “How great Thou art, how great Thou art.”
Then out of nowhere, my heart could flutter no more. A tourist in the back stepped in and let out the most beautiful and strong bass harmony to accompany my melody in the key of G, while at the same time, my mother sang the alto part.
Strangers, gathered in a building consecrated in the year 1313, using it for which the walls were intended, worshipping our Creator and Papa, God.
I stood, smiling probably the biggest ever, nodded at the priest, then at the tourist, and exited the church that now rest once again quiet and still and peaceful.
That was a moment I could only dream about, and now one I will replay and remember forever.
After that glorious moment, we headed down to catch a ferry to have lunch with Mr. Clooney.
Just kidding. But we did go to Bellagio.
Elegant, but still somehow crawling with overweight, tired, and sunburned fanny pack wearers, it was pretty fun to be there. As expected, prices were absurd for items such as un caffe macchiato (in Rome usually being under 2 Euro). But, dad thought is was a special day, so we splurged a bit on lunch.
I would love to return again and spend more time keeping my brain off and taking deep breaths over and over again. I can see why Las Vegas attempted to copy this part of Italy. It really is the backdrop to a movie and a place romance novels make up. There is something beautiful everywhere your eye can cover and somehow Varenna places a desire in you to discover all of her secrets.
I thank God for Italy every day of my life. Leaving was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I trust I will be back. It is impossible to imagine my life without her.
Enjoy the photo journey through Varenna and Bellagio, in Lago di Como.