From skiing in Livigno to playing golf in Lake Como – what a contrast of sports!

After leaving Livigno mid-morning we drove to the famous Bagni Vecchi baths just outside Bormio to try out the natural hot water spas discovered centuries ago that I had previously read about and are now part of the Bagni Vecchi hotel. The hot water springs have since been developed into a series of spas for the use of hotel guests and visitors. After changing into swimming costumes and donning on white bathrobes handed to us by the spa’s receptionist, we immediately headed for the small outdoor warm water pool already full and where we managed to find three empty ‘flat beds’ made of aluminium rolls to lie on and immerse ourselves in about half a foot of water while hot jets of water massaged our bodies.

Around us was most stunning scenery of snow-covered mountains. Despite being the first week in May, everywhere was still covered in layers of snow left over from the heavy snow storm that had hit this region the night before. After spending half an hour in the open air pool, we then went on to try out the antiquated indoor Roman baths, (apparently identical to these used in Roman times), before investigating other types of spas, some in heated tunnels and others in open indoor spaces.  Afterwards I spent a pleasant twenty minutes ‘recovering’ in one of the themed relaxation rooms which I found very therapeutic.   

Two hours after leaving Bormio we arrived at Cadenabbia on Lake Como and immediately whisked off to a block of large luxury apartments belonging to the Hotel Britannia where we stayed for the next three nights. My large luxury two bedroom apartments had magnificent views over Lake Como, and a large modern bathroom and huge TV screens in both the bedroom and living room. That evening we all met up with the hotel’s owner Ross Whieldon for a glass of champagne in the lakeside Phoenix restaurant which is also part of the hotel. Ross, like me is a champagne lover and over dinner we must have consumed at least a couple of bottles between us but as I was playing golf early the next day decided to call an early night. 

The magnificent Menaggio & Cadenabbia golf club has an 18 hole par 70 course and is the second oldest course in Italy. It was first built in 1907 and originally only 9 holes but over the years the course has been restored and redesigned from a par 64 in 1963 to its present par 70. On arrival I was met by the club’s caddy master who had agreed to play with me and guide me round the course. Although a deceivingly tough course in places, it is a very interesting and pretty course to play and in parts reminded me of green, leafy wide fairways of Wentworth.

Fortunately I was playing with someone who knew the course well and who was able to explain and help me tackle some of its many intricate and challenging holes. After our game, I joined the rest of the group for a pleasant lunch in the wooden panelled dining room overlooking the 18th green and even found time to spend looking round the club’s fascinating library which has shelves reaching to the ceiling and all stacked full of every conceivable old and new book on golf.  

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