Biting off a bit more than we could chew…

The outing for today turned out to be a bit overly ambitious. We may be asking too much of the kids with the epic walking we’re doing. But they soldier on. Our punishment is a relentless barrage of “how much longer?” and “are we there yet?” That’s enough to drive us to day-time drink. Who are we kidding, we’ve been daytime drinking since we got here!

The goal today was San Salvatore – the high mountain across the lake.

Our destination for the day.

The best way to tackle San Salvatore is to take a funicolare trolley up the mountain and then hike down to then return to Lugano by boat. Well, it was our hike to the trolley station in the hot, hot sun that was our error. We arrived at the beginning already fully spent. 

On the way, a nice stretch of shade.
How the Garcia’s swim on a hot day, fully clothed, with the private swimming patio of the rich and famous just in the background.
She and I have so much in common really…I came so close to wearing my skin tight white pants and heels in the 32degree heat too. Goodness, how embarassing that would have been. It would have been like we were twins!

Once finally at the funicolare we looked way up at the track. The grade this car climbs makes Canadian chair lifts look like the magic carpet. It’s insane.  I think it’s impossible to ride it without contemplating how horrific it would be if the cable snapped.   

Arrived at the Funicolare station.

No photo does justice to just how terrifying this slope is.

A lovely patio at the top of San Salvatore.

The view from up top. A bit hazy from the heat.

Thankfully the hike down was in the shade.

Our goal was to make it the full way down to Mercote but already we realized that we’d need to assess the strength of our troops at each stop along the way. The first stop was a lovely town called Carona. 

After a long hike in the heat, with not enough food packed to sustain us, we were famished and I was getting the shakes. The lack of food packed was my responsibility but I honestly thought we’d see a grocery store on the way to the hike. No matter how much bread I buy we seem to eat through it at an alarming rate. I packed carrots, apples & crackers which had long since been eaten knowing another town was just down the trail.The town we would arrive at first was was called Carona. On the hike here D asked “how much further until Kokanee?” (Tee hee, good boy knowing Dad’s beer brands.)

Upon arriving, struck by its beauty, we experienced slow…the kind of slow community where all citizens take long siestas in the middle of the day. The whole town goes quiet, not a soul around, all shops are shut and dark. Sounds dreamy doesn’t it?

Buildings clearly centuries old made to look so pretty.
Another lilac bush teeming with bees. Must track down some of this honey.
Decor in every window.

The unfortunate part for us was that we had arrived in this town desperate for food and something to drink.

 We had not anticipated arriving during siesta time. Some shops were closed for another hour and a half but we lucked out and found one claiming to be open in 20 minutes. So we parked our tired & hot selves out front and waited. And waited.  I worried, knowing that in a true SLOW town time is merely a suggestion. The promised 3:30 opening time came and went with no sign of a shop owner. 

Waiting. Desperate for something cold to eat.

I should confess that we did find a super quirky shop that was open, sort of- a very medieval looking place, selling bizarre door knockers, hooks and pornographic bottle openers – the shop owner there had a little cooler stocked with beer and an honour system for payment while she napped as well.. God bless her. 

The shop we found the mostly-cold beer in. The dirty-bottle openers are on the right. Look closely…you know you’re curious.

Strange little shop but thank goodness for the beer!

So Manolo and I were going to survive. It was the long promised ice cream for the kids we still needed to find. 

If we chose to not focus on our despair, but rather the amazingness of this town, it was not an unfortunate situation at all. 

It was a town that time had forgotten. Teeny, tiny narrow lanes that cars meticulously negotiate through. Corners every 100ft and every corner is a blind corner. Cars had to continuously jockey for position at every bend, like a special automotive tango. All of it was quite cringe worthy as any smash up would likely involve cars worth more than 3 times an average persons’s annual salary. 

Everyone was sleeping, even the garden gnomes.

The narrowest streets and yet somehow this house has an SUV parcked in front. How the heck!?

Having concluded that our little shop wasn’t going to open, we set our sights on getting the heck out of there to find a town with civilization; civilization that was awake to be more precise. Luckily one was arriving in a mere 4 minutes. Now if we had felt nervous about the cars on these streets, nothing prepared us for the bus. Hats off to that driver. I hope he makes a little extra for stress pay. 

The bus negotiating down the narrow hair pin turns was like a ride at Calaway Park – standing room only. Brace yourself, squeeze your eyes shut and pray that your daughter doesn’t need to throw up in your purse. 

This was the clearance the bus had while my back was pressed up against a stone wall while waiting at the bus stop.
Sorry for the bad shot but wanted to capture just how close these busses drive to the walls. Total madness.

Arriving back into Lugano we stormed the first kiosk we found and wolfed down pizza and Popsicles. No idea how much it cost us as we would have paid 100CHF

We arrived home thrilled to have Auntie Bea waiting for us. Now someone new for the kids to focus their never ending questions on. Mind you I may have come up with a clever way to quiet the questions.  Our new fascination with counting stairs. After supper that kids and I returned to the lake for a swim, to wash the hot-stickiness of the day off. +650 stairs between our house and the lake – one way.

 Tomorrow we’ll have to try a different route to quietly count the stairs again.

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