Nom de Plumage

April 10, 2012

Zurich 6 Degrees, Lake Como 18 Degrees – BRILLIANT!

Filed under: Diary,Solo Travelling,Travel Journal — nomdeplumage @ 8:00 pm
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I left Zurich in the wee early hours through the cold and heavy fog. My bon voyage with Nadine was as cold as the weather and yet I felt no sadness. I was still feeling very emotional and humiliated and nervous about travelling into Italy and the unexpected. To my utter delight, when I bought my train travel pass for three months, I requested economy class. I believed that was what I got, only to discover when I made my first booking that it was in fact first class. I was stunned and had never planned on such luxury, but needless to say, I did not complain and envisage three months of comfort. What a treat?
The train journey itself was stunning. Slowly navigating through the snow capped alps, mountains, past towns/cities, waterfalls and beautiful open farm land. Half way through my journey, an arrogant young French woman gets on carrying three huge suitcases. The train was at full capacity and space for luggage was very limited. But this woman had a “I do not care” attitude and dumped her luggage in the aisle for people to trip over. She did not blink an eye. A brave American man got the courage and spoke up, only to have her quite rudely retaliate and say that she has travelled on this train many times before and had the same problem each time. Which begs the question, do you not think then it would be wise to cut down on the amount of luggage? I mean really, how much clothes does someone need for a two week holiday?
I arrived at the small and empty station at Lake Como, feeling totally overwhelmed and lost. I walked up and down the main concord, looking for a tourist bureau or help point? Nothing! Walked outside to the bus terminal, but could not find the correct bus. Walking up and down, inside and out, my luggage becoming unbearable and I started to sweat. Yes, you read correctly, pure unadulterated stinky sweat. The temperature was 18 glorious degrees, with the sun shinning and not a cloud in the sky. Which begs the next question, what was I doing in cold and foggy Zurich? I finally got the courage and asked for assistance at a little cafe. The man in his poor English and my terrible Italian, gave me directions. I had to walk down some stairs, cross the main road and wait for my bus there. So far so good! My next hurdle was to buy a bus ticket. A challenge, but a successful one. I had to stand ¬†as the bus was quite full and I really did not want to take my bag off knowing it would be impossible to get it back on. Plus, I knew that I would only be travelling a few stops, so it was not worth the effort. Diligently I was looking out for my stop. Well would you believe it, the stop before mine, a large group of rowdy school kids got on and blocked the exit? When my stop came up, I could not jump over these kids fast enough before the door closed in my face (little terrors!). Giving them a filthy stare was my only consolation and I was able to get off at the next stop. Thankfully, it was a down hill walk and when I got to the hostel’s main gate – it was locked! Stunned, I had no idea where to go until thankfully the owners son arrived to open the gate and let me put my bags in a secure area and told me to come back at 4:00 pm when the office will be open. No problem! A short walk (maybe 400 metres), lead me to this;
The view that lay before me was breathtaking and I could only do what any overwhelmed person could do, and that is sit down on a park bench by the lake and soak up the view. With the warmth of the sun penetrating deep into my bones and the glorious sensation of feeling warm again, I sat totally and utterly emotionally exhausted. I felt no need to sight-see, just sit and ponder. My thoughts wandered to what had just transpired in Zurich, to my rash decision in travelling solo, to missing my family and Australia and just feeling lost. It was all brewing and boiling over. I shed tears for a moment until the realisation dawned, that I was in Lake Como, a place that I had wiped off my itinerary to visit Nadine (and here I am) and that I was at the beginning of my travel through my dream destination – Italy.
When 4:00 pm arrived, I walked back to the hostel to check in. The hostel itself was nothing special, but it was clean and secure. But what it lacked in luxurious accommodation, made up for in abundance with my hosts. They were beautiful people. Friendly, warm, funny, cheeky and so Italian, that I loved them on the spot. I felt that I had arrived into the home of a wonderful family and they gave me more love and friendliness than my own friend. I knew then and there, that I had made the right decision. My room was an all female dorm and once I unpacked, I went downstairs for a home cooked dinner of pasta with tomato bolognese, fresh bread and a glass of red wine. A traditional Italian meal with some friends. I was blessed!


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