COMO, Lombardi – Sometimes the best thing to do after a tough loss is to clear your head. For the Dartmouth men’s hockey team, Friday’s activities did just that.
No buses, no games and, after 11:30 a.m., no set plans. That was when the team stepped off the boat following an hour tour of Lake Como and onto the shores of Bellagio.
The hills around the lake seem to jut out of the banks high into the sky, encompassing the water below and allowing homes and villas to nest on its shoulders. Bellagio was one of those towns and a surprise to many after spending the day there.
Giosi and Sergio of Eurosporttours provided information and commentary on the boat as we made our way to this hidden gem on the lake, showing us the homes of famous actors and buildings that served as the backdrops to several well-known movies. However, the day really became memorable upon arrival at our destination.
Bellagio is home to many shops, restaurants, gelaterias and cafes, but for a few members of the staff and parents, the trust in Sergio’s insistence we leave the city for lunch for a place called Trattoria Baita Belvedere was rewarded. A group of 14 people climbed into a van (10) and a small car (4) driven by two men would seemed to come out of nowhere. Sergio made a phone call prior to their arrival and assured the group it was worth it.
Twenty minutes of winding roads that eventually culminated in the car taking a detour up a dirt road lined with cows, dogs and vineyards ended at what appeared to be a nondescript farmhouse located on the side of a hill. Walking out on the deck where the tables were located quickly quelled the notion that this was any ordinary restaurant. Breathtaking views of Bellagio and Lake Como stretched out in front of the group as they sat down, leading to as many pictures as servings of food, of which there were plenty.
After the family-style meal, the group made their way back down those same winding roads to the lake-side club where many of the players had spent their day. There, they went swimming, laid by the lake on a man-made beach lined with chairs for rent.
Others spent their day in the city, hiking the stairs that were lined with silk shops and other specialty stores. Like many of the other places we have seen in the areas around the lake, Bellagio also featured stunning old buildings and churches that were open to anyone walking the streets.
The boat ride back was less about sightseeing and more about returning the team back to Como where they were free to get dinner and explore more of the city on their own. The parents and staff did the same, choosing to eat with Sergio in a local restaurant located in the small courtyard area of the building that housed it, covered only by four connected and suspended umbrellas.
A day that seemed to be a free-for-all when it began with no real plans, turned into a great chance for players to spend time with one another in one of the region’s most beautiful settings.
The team returns to the ice Saturday evening in northern Switzerland to take on Thurgau in Weinfelden, Switzerland.
Bellagio's docks from the area near where most of the team went swimming.
The panoramic view of Lake Como and Bellagio from Trattoria Baita Belvedere.
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