At the end of the William Tell Express we found ourselves in Lugano, Switzerland. It is in the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland – and it sure felt quite different from everywhere in Switzerland we’d been to date. We’ve only been to Rome in Italy, so are not Italian experts, but I do think that the city and the region felt more Italian than Swiss. The diversity of Switzerland is really incredible, considering its compact size. This is largely due to the mountains. Regions that might only be separated by a small number of miles are quite separate if there are treacherous mountain passes. In times gone by these areas got quite cut off from Switzerland in the winters, and turned to their Italian neighbours – and the flow of people and goods left its mark.
In Lugano we stayed at a really great hostel, Hotel and Backpackers Montarina, It was well organized, very comfortable and the other guests were older and more quiet than those we encountered in Germany (were we said we’d never bother with another hostel). The location is great – right above the train station. And our terrace had a beautiful view over the city.
After arriving in the late afternoon we headed into the city to walk around and find dinner. We ate at La Tinera (Via dei Gorini), a wine cellar, hole-in-the-wall sort of place. Really yummy homemade pasta.
As we walked after dinner we saw ominous dark clouds approaching – and also spectacular lightning. (something we see very little of in England) We then decided we needed to get back to the hostel before getting caught in it, and just as we reached the funicular they put up a sign stating they were shutting it because of the storm! Yikes! We had to hoof it back up the steep slope to our hotel (thank goodness we’d mostly recovered from Ebenalp by this day). We got back and continued to watch the sky from our balcony.
Then it let loose. Boy did it ever. Most people had caught on that it was getting bad, so not many people were caught out but the ones that did resigned to the fact they were drenched and just calmly continued on…