The daily diary of a wandering restaurateur In Italy
July 31 - Lake Lucerne

We are ready to go home! Three weeks away is going to be about four days too long, I think. The cool air of Lake Maggiore felt terrific after the heat of central Italy, but we are getting antsy and after two days at Il Monterosso, it seems like time to move on. So we packed up the car and headed north to see what we can find in Switzerland. I will warn you that we are in the serious winding-down phase of the trip, so the final few days are likely to be less travelogue and more about the insights of the trip.

Heading up the west shore of Lake Maggiore again, we were blissfully free of the heavy traffic we encountered yesterday. This gave us time to stop and get a few photos that we missed the first time around. One of the most unusual sights is Castelli di Cannero, the castle in the lake. Although it is now in ruin, it looks like it would be an interesting place to visit (as soon as you find a friend with a boat!)

Heading into Switzerland, I was reminded that the Swiss do tunnels extremely well. There are tunnels everywhere -- wide, clean, well-lighted and very convenient. Margene's original concern about narrow, winding roads disappeared as we hit the four-lane autostrada up through the St. Gotthard tunnel (nearly 8 miles long!) Once through the tunnel and into central Switzerland, we got onto the side roads and wound our way around Lake Lucerne to the little lakeside town of Gersau where we tucked in for the night.

Once off the autostrada, the roads are narrow and thick with bicyclists and motorcycles. The motorcycles are not a problem -- they pass anybody anytime and anywhere -- but the cyclists can stop up a line of cars until there is enough space to get around them. I am surprised there are not more bodies along the roadside but everyone seems to have figured out how to coexist.

Our room was snug, but it had a wonderful shower and we were literally right on the water -- a very civilized idea! The boat that circled the lake docked only yards from our balcony. The prices are significantly higher in Switzerland than in Italy and the exchange rate less readily calculated, so buying decisions take a little more study. We are also having to figure out how to make ourselves understood in German . . . and just when we were getting good in Italian!

One advantage in leaving Italy, however, is that it is now possible to start the evening meal before 8pm! The food here is definitely Germanic -- weiner schnitzel, sausages and the like -- with a good dose of local lake fish. After two weeks in Italy, we are having some pasta withdrawal symptoms but the change of diet is wonderful!

The next project is to figure out how to get online. We have not been able to connect since Friday night, putting me way behind in posting the journal and meaning that it will take that much more time to download it all once we finally get a connection. We still don't know what we will do tomorrow, stay here another night or move on.

Photos along the way

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