Friday, September 19, 2014

Our modern Roman dinner of the day before yesterday, more kindness, and another boat trip - this time in Switzerland

This morning at breakfast I am met with much solicitation.  How genuinely kind people are!  Two Australian women who are travelling with their mother on this trip shyly present me with a beautiful pashmina which they bought for me yesterday as I was missing out on the shopping!  I'm reduced to tears.

But I need to make note of our Roman dinner.
So on our last night in Rome, (Tuesday) being in Rome it was fitting to do as the Romans do and eat out at a family ristorante.  Most of the families in Rome live in city apartments - in fact this is true of everywhere I've travelled.  Houses and sections such as we have in New Zealand are the rarity.  The Roman apartments have very minimal kitchens, as most people eat out, so tonight we join the masses of people in the streets and make our way to an evening of delicious food, live entertainment, a few kisses and bum pinches and lots of laughter.  Actually having said that, and without photos, am not sure I know how to better draw it for you, suffice to say I'm glad I went, although was feeling a bit exhausted!

Anyway, after breakfast, we make our way north west, and our morning tea break is a good opportunity to treat my fellow tourists to some lovely little Italian biscuits to thank them for their loveliness.

We reach the border between Italy and Switzerland just after lunch.  It's the first time we've actually had a formal border stop - Switzerland not being part of the European Union - but we first leave Italy.  This border is the same formality we've met before, we are in a Belgian coach so are recognised in the EU, then roll forward a metre or so and are at the Swiss border.  We have been told to have our passports on us, as although bus checks are infrequent they do happen, and a delay in retrieving a  passport from the luggage compartment can encourage the Border Officials to ask for all manner of documents while they are waiting, resulting in a delay of some hours.  We are cleared immediately but the coach in front of us has been selected for a full passenger check.  We leave them to it and are in Switzerland!

I am suddenly curious to know more about my Swiss great-grandmother who married my English great-grandfather.  I think she was a nanny?  Or did I make that up?!  But it's time I heard the story again from those elders still left to tell it!

We have a competition to decide how long it will take us to make our way through the 16.9 km long St Gotthard tunnel (limit of 80k) and I win a toblorone by coming 3rd with 14 minutes 45 seconds.  Our driver Ivan is one skilled European coach driver, who has manoeuvred that giant bus round some steep and sharp roads, populated by far less talented drivers.

Just after 4pm we are in Lucerne, and after hearing the story of Lion Rock, we visit this dreadfully sad monument representing the Swiss mercenary soldiers who were killed rather than abandon their - well, employers I suppose.  Such a beautifully sad face.

Then a trip around Lake Lucerne - ahhhh!

Me in my pashmina from Florence that will forever remind me of the kindness of people

Mt Pilatus - tomorrow we go up there,
on the steepest cog-railway in the world...

My travelling companions

And dinner at a traditional Swiss ale house, akin to the oompa evenings of Germany's beer-fest!  Great fun!  Although I leave early, needing my bed!


  1. Love your travelling companions, almost teary just reading about them and your pashmina is gorgeous. Always wanted to go to Switzerland but never made it. Looks stunning

  2. Looks amazing, nice to be with a lovely group of people, hope you are well rested now x

  3. Hope you are feeling somewhat better! You have probably moved on from lucerne now - Morgie and I have very dear friends threre (one who grew up in the Hutt!), and went to their wonderful wedding in a Swiss castle about an hour from there. The Swiss are so clean and tidy - I always felt like I'd failed to wash!

  4. Much better today thank you!

    Lucerne is lovely, and a few very elegant looking castles around! Some of the most expensive property in the world here apparently. No one has house and section such as we do, we really are very fortunate!

  5. A beautiful pashmina! Beautiful photos! Such an adventure! Love you! xxxx


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