By John Sieger, Special to   Published Oct 02, 2013 at 6:36 PM

I have had longer treks than the one from Salzburg to Como (no, I haven't seen George Clooney yet ...), but when you're expecting one thing and it becomes a tedious other thing, it tests your ability to enjoy a landscape that was only hinted at by the old masters.

The trouble is, when we cross the Austrian/Italian border, Klaus is no longer the translator of choice. Thus, the sign that says there will be a massive jam somewhere up ahead on the freeway actually says, "Whatever you do, don't get off and try to find another route. You will be gridlocked Italian style."

Now, the Alps you see in Austria are chiseled, craggy and magnificent. They were designed to be a perfect backdrop for soaring eagles. Somehow, when you enter the land of Caravaggio (the name of the Bergamo airport, by the way), they become brooding, soft-shouldered giants, strewn with vineyards and castles hidden by warm mists.

The cypress tress tower and do their best impersonation of the background of the Mona Lisa. After almost eight hours, though, I'd settle for ugly, something to eat and some rest.

We do finally arrive sometime after dark, and a passable Italian meal ensues at the oddly named Just Hotel. If that's the case, what's with the ristorante? On to a less than restorative night's sleep, and after breakfast, we are on glamor patrol, looking for a laundromat. Heaven can wait, I guess.

Como is two cities, the gleaming old city on the lake that climbs to unnatural heights and the part of town where our club, Woodstock, is located. You have to travel this far to somehow associate that golden event from hippie history with KISS the band. But sure enough, right under the club's name is a hurried mural of the worst band in history in makeup and full regalia. To the right of that, just above the door, a sign reads, "Welcome To Live." This could have two meanings, neither of which make much sense.

The afternoon was less than perfect and dragged on, the way many laundry days seem to. This one was complicated by a little fender bender as we were looking for a WC so I could relieve myself. I was already about an hour past where I needed to be to stay in dry pants. The rest of the story is best left untold, but know that a second trip to the laundry was not necessary, and all is well. I'm in Italy after all; I'll take the occasional fly in my zuppa.

You will hear more from me after we play Woodstock.