And Chocolate Heaven - well it is Switzerland!
24.08.2012 - 28.08.2012 82 °F
...not like the massive scary black crows at The Taj in Mumbai where I suggested importing Trafalgar Square's falcons to the tearful restaurant manageress.
We sat marvelling at water and sky; both clear blue after the previous night's storm. Guests plodded, pottered and plopped into the (beyond chilly) lake for their morning float. Scullers skimmed from East to West and, in the distance, a lone water skier made graceful turns, the sunlight glinting on perfect spray arches.
However, my eye couldn't help but be drawn to a young Italian flinging herself on and off her sunlounger, picking up a book, throwing it down, lotion on, hat on, hat off, into the water, on the lilo, off the lilo. It was exhausting and I don't want you to think I was 'spying' (there's that word again) but...this was a fascinating study in female flirtation. I was just a bit slow on the up-take in realising her 'show' was for the restaurant waiters setting up for lunch.
Hooting ferries pass by;
time to get on the water. A ten minute stroll along Ascona's promenade (and a lighteningly fast produced pizza SERVED WITH A SMILE) saw us hop on a ferry (48 Swiss Francs/£32 each for a return trip) to Locarno. We didn't get off at San Nazzaro, Vira or Magadino en route; it looked as though they were sleeping.
Locarno is busy compared to everywhere else. The Piazza Grande is indeed Grande and a good place to wander, window shop and eat gelatto. Five minutes walk from the Ferry Station you can jump on a funicular railway up to an old monastery. The walk back down apparently takes around 30 minutes or you can swing up to 1,600m in a cable car. Sadly, we didn't have time for either; there is a shop very close to the Station selling heaven's idea of chocolate by the gram. Fashionable salty, chilli topped, nuts, black as black varieties all displayed like the jewels and watches in adjacent stores. The journey 'home' was obviously going to be fraught with anxiety; blazing sun = melting chocolate.
Our return ferry 'crew' were having a marvellous day flirting with senioritas on the small beaches as we came into dock at Magadino but making real messes of their mooring pylon lassooing. Yes guys...they did notice!
We hadn't bothered stopping at Vira (it looked the prettiest) because no-one wanted to get off. We were unable to establish what would have happened if someone wanted to get on? I imagine jumping up and down shouting like things possessed would attract their attention but not if they were still giggling and joshing over those senioritas.
1. Check the timetable. Weekends are different and sometimes you forget what day it is on holiday!
2. Take layers. It can be hot on shore but windy on the water.
3. Sit outside, up front for the best views.
4. Don't forget to tell the crew where you want to get off AND ON!
5. Don't be late; ferries here run with Swiss pricision timing.
6. There is a bar serving drinks and food on board.