Helen in Europe travel blog

looking into a private yard and down into Lecco

trompe l'oil shutters (they are painted on)

a local resident with a great view

a local pizzeria

cheap groceries docket

one of the many views during my walk

charming church and grotto I stumbled upon

at The Shamrock

“The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”

― Alexander Supertramp Chris McCandless

The above quote is a mantra I often return to to motivate me to be less complacent and try new things; sometimes it's something as mundane as a new gym class or a dance, but recently it has been exploring landscapes that I may have been too scared to do on my own. But what if you are stationed in the one place for a month, as I am, in Lecco? It's easy to blow one's budget on day trips or as I did recently, with a six day Swiss sojourn; with context, one shouldn't travel to save money and sometimes you just have to pay more; I don't regret my Swiss experience at all. However, if you don't venture far, you can indeed save money by staying somewhere where you can walk and cook your own food, especially in Italy where groceries (and in particular wine!) are cheap. As I have been blessed with amazingly fine weather in Lecco since my return from Switzerland, I have had no excuse not to get out and walk. So today, I decided on taking another hike, not planning an exact location and just head off in a slightly different direction from last time. Lecco is described as an industrial city and indeed there are factories down at the ground level but if you head upwards you are faced with a contrast of architecture. Some houses are gated and have large lush yards and million dollar views. With the same views, however are some tiny, very traditional homes and these are easily evidenced by walking along the charming old narrow laneways. In some of these neighbourhoods, the silence belied the fact that this was a city as there were no major roads that cars could pass through. Upon return, and a daily chat with Marcella, my host in the garden, I pointed out the Manzoni Itinerary signage and she started to tell me about how the iconic 'The Betrothed' by Alessandro Manzoni was inspired by many actual parts of Lecco and that some of the novel is actually true and set during the years of Spanish rule in the 1600. Completed in 1842, it is set in Northern Italy and many of the places mentioned are now very familiar to me such as Milan and Monza. So rather than seeking adventure further afield, I found plenty just around here, and clocked up another 10 kms on the health app in doing so. Oh, and yes, today was the day Australia were hoping to do the impossible and get through to the next round of the Soccer World Cup, so I thought it only patriotic to head to the nearest Irish bar (the namesake of the Shamrock in every other town) that promised to show it on the big screen. The Australia v Peru game turned out to be on the small screen with France v Denmark taking centre stage and rightly so with more supporters. But this enabled me to have a lovely chat with the barman and some passing Aussies. It was perhaps the most charming Irish themed bar I have experienced.

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