A passo di lumaca, proceeding at a snail’s pace, is a great way to experience Italy. We pull into our sleepy little town of Argegno’s tiny town square with stunning lake view, and our pulse magically slows. We have arrived.
Our usual apartment is booked. We find another. Minor disappointments include a treacherous spiral stair, no WiFi, and a faint and frustrating whiff of mold. Upside includes a bright, well-equipped kitchen, wondrous views, terraced lawn and garden. NOTE: The absence of WiFi is actually an upside, but this revelation dawns slowly.
From our balcony we are surprised by a direct view into our customary apartment. A man sits at ‘our’ dining table in a red shirt, typing. Fascinated, we invest him with the full cliché of writerly qualities – serious and bookish, traveling alone, working on a novel. Perhaps milking his publisher for a trip to Italy, like Playing for Pizza, John Grisham’s shameless travelogue in which an aging American athlete joins the Parma Panthers. Think Under the Tuscan Sun with meatballs.
Our stalker’s view consumes us. We linger on the deck, ignoring the lake, the boats and the birds, waiting for The Writer to stretch or get a snack. He rarely does. We’re delighted to catch him fussing with his laundry on the outdoor rack. We telegraph our approval, yes!, it’s perfect drying weather, as he gently drapes his socks across the delicate plastic strings.
Lack of WiFi forces us to leave our post once a day. Mornings, we amble down the 66 stairs to Bar Motta for cappuccino and free WiFi. Most afternoons we can be found at bar Pensavo Meglio over a Campari Spritz in the cozy glow of a perfect internet signal.
One afternoon, a man in a red shirt sits by the fountain, tapping on a keyboard. The Writer! The fact that he is sitting with a woman affords us several hours of joyous, idle, overheated speculation.
The next morning, he is gone. Just like that. No keyboard, no novel, no girlfriend. No red shirt. Our cozy little passo di lumaca slides to a thudding halt.
We head for Lenno’s open market where there are plenty of consolations. We enjoy the best meal of our stay: a paper cone of calamari, freshest ever. Next time we will grab a lemon and savor 2 cones, maybe 3.
We walk the Greenway to Villa del Balbianello, a romantic villa on a lush promontory overlooking the Lake Como. The walking path is shady and overgrown, with blinding breakout views of the lake – glorious.
Our pulse begins to quicken. We begin to notice the lake, the fish, the swans, and the boats. The water is very clear and the air is soft. We do not miss our obsession with The Writer, and do not miss our snail’s pace.
Next up – Carmignano!