The Washington Post

Lame ducks can still fly… to Lake Como


A lakeside view of George Clooney’s villa Oleandra on Lake Como, northern Italy, taken Thursday, July 8, 2004. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

Sen. Saxby Chambliss will cap his congressional career with a little pre-retirement jaunt to Europe … courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer.

Chambliss (R-Ga.) will retire at the end of this term, but before he goes he’s taking advantage of one of the top perks of being a member of Congress — the enviable codel. His swan song junket with six of his Senate friends and spouses will take them to Belgium, Portugal, Spain, and of course, Italy.

We hear there’s even a stop at Lake Como on the tentative itinerary. Seriously. If they get there, may we recommend Ristorante Il Gatto Nero with its breathtaking views of the water. And say hi to George Clooney for us.

Word is the all-male group of senators on Codel Chambliss includes Sen. Lindsay O. Graham (R-S.C.) and a token Democratic senator, Joe Manchin of West Virginia. They’ll fly over on the obligatory military jet with staff and escorts at the end of the August recess for some serious fact-finding. And what better time to find those elusive facts than a late summer excursion in Europe?

Chambliss’ office confirms the trip, but said the “exact itinerary of the trip has yet to be finalized as it is over a month out.” The primary purpose is to visit NATO headquarters in Brussels to “discuss the ongoing conflict in the Ukraine with our European allies, and urge them to condemn Russian involvement, among other topics.” Chambliss is ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee and sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, though as a lame duck.

With the schedule still fluid, if they’re going to be in Brussels, they should really take the quick 90-minute train ride to Paris.

We expect they’ll hit the popular western Europe cities. In Madrid, you gotta go for the 23-course menu at La Terraza Del Casino. And what’s that saying, when in Rome…? If you’re there, you might as well dine at any number of the Michelin-starred establishments like La Pergola’s at the Rome Cavalieri hotel. Save room for some gelato at Giolitti.

It’s not Paris in the springtime, but it’s pretty darn close.

Colby Itkowitz is the lead anchor of the Inspired Life blog. She previously covered the quirks of national politics and the federal government.

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