Wednesday, August 12, 2015

More Switzerland

After our amazing time at the lake in Lucarno, we went up to take a look at the castle above us, and it turned out to be a church. 

There was a lovely arbor path leading to it from below which overlooked the lake, and altogether, I think it was one of the most beautiful and breathtaking settings I have ever been in. 

Gorgeous and peaceful, and as if that weren't enough, there were GRAPES growing from the arbor roof! 

The church was small, but lovely.

We finally left to go look for some dinner, which had been hard to find the previous night. We seemed to have caught a holiday of some sort, we never really found out which, that had all the restaurants around our hotel closed for the weekend. 

And I've complained before about Google Maps including stairs on its routes without

warning, but this time it led us down a path that in no way resembled a road of any kind. 

However, although Google is not quite so accurate in Europe as it is in the States, it definitely has caught on to the way these little alleys are used all over Europe and the UK for foot traffic. If you ask it to give you a walking route, you will end up in some unusual places. Which is fine, most of them are pretty nice. This one certainly was.

We were very surprised, though, to have stumbled upon a film festival! It's one that has been around for quite some time, and since they were waiting for dark to get started, we weren't going to get to see very much. We also weren't sure if there would be English subtitles, but we were very curious to see what they'd be showing.

About halfway through our meal, we were really surprised to see them start with an old
American movie, Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid. It's from 1973 with James Coburn and Kris Kristofferson. 

And, of course, we weren't about to go start asking people why they made such a randomly weird choice. So it's another one of those mysteries we come across in our travels. They kind of drive me crazy if I start dwelling on them.

Heading home after dinner, we came across a super modern telephone booth. With so many places now getting rid of public telephones almost completely, it seemed so strange to come across one so obviously on the newer side. 

But although I am a huge fan of all the old architecture in Europe, and I don't often like to see ultra modern stuff mixed in with it, I am also a big fan of good design wherever I find it. And I think it's the complete transparency of this phone booth that makes it merge so well with its surroundings. Very futuristic, I liked it a lot.

The next day, we went searching for this fabulous rocky stream in the mountains that
Adrienne had spotted on Pinterest. She got the route figured out, and it wasn't too long of a bus ride, so we went and bought our tickets. Of course, the kids were amused to no end that the local bus system is called the Locarano Fart. 

I was not at all amused, however, that the bus ride was up narrow winding mountain roads with sheer drops down the side. I hate those kinds of roads with a vengeance, whether I'm driving or not.

Of course, it was absolutely gorgeous when we arrived. But the rocks were slippery and the water was freezing, so none of us actually lasted very long out there. Still, it was an incredible experience just to see it. 

So we grabbed some ice cream cones and went to sit in the little shrine that was used as a bus stop, while waiting for our ride back down the mountain. Locarno is just over the border from Italy, so the shrine wasn't too surprising, they're everywhere in Italy. Finding one used as  a bus stop was a bit unusual, but we've learned to take these things in our stride.

This was our final stop before heading back to London so Adrienne and the kids could catch their flight home. We didn't have quite enough time to sit and eat at the airport before our flight, so we ended up having to grab Burger King to take on the plane. 

Not only was this a shame on so many freaking levels, especially since we'd been so good at staying away from American food for most of our trip and then having to eat at McDonalds TWICE in Locarno because everything else was closed. But take a look at these prices.

The Euro was running about 10% more than the dollar, so that 16.90 for a whopper meal equaled over $18.50. Yeah, Switzerland is breathtakingly gorgeous. But definitely pricey.

Still, we enjoyed it very much. It wasn't on my agenda, but I'm glad we went. It was very different from all of the other places we'd been, mainly because we'd only been hitting major urban areas. 

This wasn't exactly rural, but it was a whole different type of experience. Definitely more off the beaten path, it was the only place we really ran into a language barrier. Lots of people here did not speak much English, which always multiplies opportunities for disaster.

Most of all, though, it was simply more beautiful than anywhere else we'd been. More than anywhere I'd been in the whole five months I've been traveling, in fact, which is saying something. Because I've seen some wonderful things, but Switzerland is so amazing, it's practically surreal.

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