Thursday morning and I oversleep! The oh-so-romantic (ear shattering,) BONG! of the town clock makes sure I hit the ceiling every hour. It reminds me of the Wizard of Id, when the town crier calls out
“Two o’clock and all is well!”
One night he falls asleep, jolts awake (much later) and calls
“Four o’clock and all is well”
A window is thrown open somewhere in the village and another voice yells out,
“Hey! What happened to three o’clock?”
Yeah, I felt like that somewhere in the middle of the night, but it was such an old and lovely hotel, steeped in Italian history and ghosts, that I forgave the damn clock. In fact I only remembered it now as I was writing! Ha, ha!
But anyway, Jackie forgives me for not being ready (she’s so nice like that) and after a quick breakfast (did I say croissants? Mmmm,) we jump in the car and set sail in the general direction of the Italo-Swiss border.
Oh, oh, oh. I’m not going to flood you with photos, (because I took a disgraceful 455,) but the scenery just gets better and better. Little cobbled roads flanked by rows of terracotta tiled houses, give way to the busy highway, which pulls traffic along at a serious pace. More than once we top the speed limit when we think no one is watching. Great feeling!
As we fly past Torino we’re tempted to dive and take a look, because it’s one of the older cities in Italy. But, with nearly one million inhabitants and being something of the automobile capital of Italy, (Fiat, Lancia and Alfa Romeo), we look at each other grinning,
“Nah!” We roar with laughter. No boys in our car, remember? Heh, heh.
I’m not telling, however, about the road works around Torino and how we get lost … nor how I find a way back to the highway by a most circuitous route, but rather about how we’re giggling and shaking the dust off our Italian-Motown shoes and starting up the foothills of the Alps. My skin is tingling. I’m so excited.
White water races down the rocky mountain face, splashing into winding rivers which turn green-blue as they meander along the emerald valley. They must be icy cold and I feel as if I’ve fallen into a National Geographic calendar as my ears go pop-pop-pop.
“I want to have lunch down there,” says Jackie pointing to a spot on the map without taking her eyes off the road. It’s the Lago Maggiori.
“OK, I’m on it.” I start looking for a good exit off the highway that’s beaded with tunnels and bridges (and did I mention I get very easily carsick? Especially when it twisty and in-and-out of tunnels!) But I find an exit and we roll downhill, pop-pop-pop, into the pretty little town of Baveno just north of Stresa, because I can’t find the road that would take us to Stresa, plus I’m getting hungry and dizzy, so we park and tumble out of the car.
When you sit on the edge of an enormous, peaceful lake, surrounded by misty blue skies, birds, water and little boats coming and going – something rather wonderful happens. We rest, we laugh, we get a little teary-eyed; then, in silence, we share the moment in a magical way you can only do with someone in who’s company you’re entirely comfortable.
Italian food is simple and delicious and in honor of Dad, we take our time to enjoy the pasta and fresh bread. I think we have dessert as well – for Dad, you know?