Nom de Plumage

April 22, 2012

Going, Going, Gone – Hello Winter !


Today is officially the last day of beautiful warm weather. The past few days have given me the chance to thaw my cold bones and soak up some much appreciated sunshine. But ultimately all good things must come to an end and so now I can only brace myself for the onslaught of a bitterly cold winter. Really missing Australia right now!

On my train journey to Lake Como, we passed through another lake district called Lake Lugano in Switzerland. It appeared to be a beautiful little city and so I decided that I would go back to explore. The grey sky now appeared dull and the clouds becoming thicker and greyer for the impending cold snap. I stood at the bus stop, absorbed in the changes of the weather, when a young man approached me from behind and scarred the living daylights out of me when he said hello. I jumped and turned quickly towards him and there stood a handsome young Italian man with a beautiful smile. He started to talk to me and for the life of me, I could not understand a word. How I cursed myself for not reading my phrase book in more depth. I muttered in very bad Italian that I spoke English only and that look of defeat that crossed his face was so humbling. My bus arrived at this point and I bid the man good-bye very reluctantly and he responded in very poor broken English – “Have a good day”. If only……………..

My journey to Lake Lugano was not a direct route. The bus navigated it’s way along the coastal route to a town called Chiasso. From here I had to walk through a border-checkpoint, only to not have my details checked (easy) and walked to “I do not know where?” I kept walking and praying that I would have directions to the train station leap out at me. I need not feared the worst because I found the station without any great difficulties and caught the EC train to Lugano.

The train station sits high above the lake and it’s surroundings and so from here there is a wonderful vantage point. Although very beautiful and in many ways, very similar to Lake Como, I thought that the Italian lake had that ‘wow’ factor. Mountains surround the whole lake, with houses/villas situated high on them. The city itself sits at the very edge of the water. It has a slightly less ‘Swiss’ feel to the city and yet I still did not feel wholly comfortable being back so soon in a place I rather forget. Not allowing the past to surface, I started my exploration of the city with a steep descent to the heart of the city.

The city is very beautiful and has that feel of being the playground for the more affluent tourists than the humble moi? But nonetheless, I enjoyed the walk along the lake and past the beautiful hotels, restaurants/cafes and stunning homes. I came across what I can only assume to be a dog, but gees was it huge! Somewhat terrifying in size, it was the most docile and beloved pet of a family that I actually followed them for a little while, just to observe the dog and all his friendliness. 

The only criticism of the city is that it is not flat. Great exercise if you are so inclined, but after a good two hours, I decided to make my way back to Italy. In all fairness, apart from shopping, the city itself holds no great excitement and although very beautiful, I felt that two hours was enough. So with the grey clouds slowly ascending over the lake, it was time to say good-bye to Switzerland.

Now what really galls me, is that I have this phobia about making it obvious that I am a tourist by constantly having my camera out and clicking away. So silly because I did not take any photo’s of the city of Lake Como. So stupid! And what a little beauty she is! So typically Italian with it’s narrow streets that is pedestrian only. I weave myself through in an a unoriented  way, just walking and observing the relaxed Italian way of life. They somehow live life to the full. Everything about them is so elegant and ancient. The beautifully clothed mannequins behind shop windows are just a taste to the stunning clothes that are on offer. Do not even mention the shoes…………………….

When I arrived back to the hostel in time for dinner, my new found friends and I sit down over a wonderful meal of pasta and wine and share our life stories and new adventures. I met a lovely Canadian guy who enlightened us on the tribulations of Montreal’s language dilemma in schools and the work force. A crazy Dutch woman who laughs and jokes so much, that she entertained us all. To the two who made a wonderful impact on me and that is Valerie and Paolo from Brazil. Valerie spoke perfect English,although Paolo spoke barely any. But this did not deter us and although there was a lot of translating to be done, I spent a wonderful evening with some wonderful people and new friends.

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