The Northern Hemisphere may be very quickly heading into the chill of fall, but the warm edged memories of summer are still fresh in our minds. Several months ago, a photographer and her family traveled to Europe.
When you write the story of two happy lovers, set it on the banks of Lake Como. I do not know of any place which is more demonstrably blessed by heaven; I have never seen another one where the charms of a life of love can appear more natural.
So said Franz Liszt, who famously frequented the area with his mistress, Marie D’Agoult. Lake Como is an exquisite area in northern Italy, bordered by the rugged grandeur of the Alps with the edge of Switzerland a short distance to the Northwest. It was in this setting that photographer Darcy Troutman found herself, along with her husband and children, this past summer. Darcy’s husband is a lawyer and when his main case settled a week before trial, planning a last minute trip to Europe seemed like the perfect idea. Darcy loves to travel, both for the thrill of the actual boots-to-the-ground adventure experience, and for the planning.
“I love the spontaneity and adventure of travel, and … I love the planning. The planning is an odd hobby, but whenever I’m stressed or sad I plan a vacation, even if I know we won’t be able to pull it off for years. (I’m the type of person who is always saving money for our next vacation, which often drives my husband crazy – we need a new car, but instead we went to Europe.) But I love when the planning comes together with moments of spontaneity. For example, I’ll never forget the magic in my son’s eyes when we visited a “real” castle.”
When Darcy travels, she makes sure to plan in downtime for her family. Constant movement and jam-packed site-seeing schedules can work for an exclusively adult party, or when traveling with older kids, but the elementary-aged group and younger needs regular time to let their hair down. Not to mention, days without a plan often yield the hidden gems of authentic life in a travel destination. The leisurely strolls down side streets or quiet lunches in a tiny corner café never fail to surprise with the way they become the most treasured memories of a trip.
Darcy and family stayed in the town of Sala Comacina, which is one of the less touristy areas around the lake. They found a wonderful pizzeria/ristorante and the kids devoured their fair share of the dessert menu while the adults lingered over the ubiquitous and invariably oh-so-lovely liters of house red. Almost without fail, ordering house red while dining in Italy will provide a satisfying experience. Beyond the culinary delights, Darcy recounts swimming in the lake at dusk and hiking to Varenna’s castle as the highlights of their Lake Como experience.