To a melody of foreign music, cheap lollies, fresh fruit, free toilets and the smell of diesel fuel, we prepare to race along the A15 and the A1 covering 215 kilometres from La Spezia to Lake Como and Lake Lugano.
Lake Como and Lake Lugano are in the northern Italian Lakes District between Milan and the border of Switzerland. The whole area is just mountains and hills.
When I was researching information on this area of the world I came across the following description.
‘The lakes district might possibly be Italy’s best kept secret!’
that statement was followed by
‘Lake Como, has been a popular destination since Roman times.’
Are they saying people have been coming here for over two thousand years and they
haven’t told anyone about it, I don’t think so.
From what we have seen during our travels so far there’s hardly a place in Europe
that the Romans haven’t been to, built a wall and then gone home.
That being said, the view of the Swiss and Savoy Alps is just breathtaking and it probably will have visitors gasping in awe for another two thousand years.
There is a cable railway which takes you to Mount San Salvatore, 912 m above sea level. The 360° view from here is incredible.
You can look back down on Lugano, the lakes, the Alps and the Lombardy plain. Perched so high up above everything you feel you could easily drop a stone onto the city roof tops below.
pic by Susan Reid – see it can’t swim, it’s actually standing on a rock WAC (what a cheat)
From the summit we descend to the foot of San Salvatore. It is there we find the Hotel Calispo which is only a few minutes’ walk from Lake Lugano. We book in and then take a walk to enjoy the beautiful views of the lake.
At the Hotel Calipso we meet Kevin, from England. He works at the hotel. Little did we know that he would turn out to be an oracle.
When he found out the girls were from Australia he disclosed that he had been to Bondi and he had an aunty who lives on the Gold Coast. And it didn’t end there; finding out we
were heading towards Switzerland he was just so helpful in advising us of all the fantastic sights and experiences that lay ahead for us.
He enthusiastically tells the girls “There’s the drive to the Gotthard Tunnel, the Tunnel itself, the cute village of Wassen, the famous church of Wassen, and the Gotthard rail line double loop and finally the drive of all alpine drives, the Susten Pass where you’ll cross over the Swiss Alps and see the Stien Glacier.”
Without so much as a breath he continues “You must see the church at Wassen, but not just the church, it’s the rail loop, first you see the train, then you don’t, then it’s in front of you, then it’s behind you, then it’s in front again on the below and then on the right above, it’s this loop thing that helps get the train up the steep hill. Just don’t miss it.”
Ok what Kevin was saying might sound confusing but from this depiction of the loop I found on Wikki you can see what his mind was visualising and his mouth was trying to explain. It’s not an easy task to bring all that together.