Monday, July 17, 2000 Day 2
We arrived in Milan at 7:00 a.m. which would be 1 a.m. our time. The airport was simply beautiful. Stephanie was greeted by a native Italian with a wheelchair. I was actually able to converse with her, not fluent but I was able to get the idea across. Our luggage took awhile to arrive. We were then greeted by our tour director - Luigi - a tall, suave, Italian gentleman and then we boarded our bus. Luigi had told us that since it was early and our rooms would not be ready, instead of going straight to Lugano, we would stop and see Lake Como. Lake Como was simply beautiful. Of all the lakes of north Italy, Lake Como, lined with elegant 19th century villas, crowned by snowcapped mountains, and buzzing with ferries, is just beautiful. Overlooking the lake there are houses and roads carved into the mountain. We stopped at the Cathedral de Como and admired the beautiful architecture.
Here is a beautiful pictures of the lake:
Here is a statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi.
Click here for history and other pictures of Lake Como.
We bought a bottle of water and used the facilities. I was introduced to Water Closets 101. in Italy I never knew there were so many different ways to flush a toilet and many different varieties of toilets. We walked around the town admiring many of the beautiful sights. Many of the stores were closed however because in Italy time is not structured as it is in the US. The stores would be open but not necessarily at the time we are accustomed to. The tour director asked if anyone was interested in going on a boat ride around the island but not enough were interested. I guess we all needed to stretch out a bit after sitting so long on a plane and then a bus. We got something to eat at the corner cafe as seen in the picture below.
We boarded the bus and were on our way to Lake Lugano, our destination for today. We arrived at the Holiday Inn Lugano Center Hotel at about 1:30 p.m. Our room number was 403. Lugano is located in Switzerland so if you needed to buy anything you needed to convert your money into francs. I was rooming with Stephanie and Kathy was rooming with Maureen. Stephanie and I were both exhausted and suffering from jet lag so we decided to catch some needed z's. Maureen and Kathy, however, walked to the lake and explored the city. Stephanie and I got up, showered and dressed for dinner. Before going out we decided to get a drink in the bar. We had no francs so we went to the hotel desk and had some American money converted. This was our first experience in being taken advantage of as an Americano. I asked for $5 worth of francs and Stephanie asked for $10. We got half as much as we should have. We knew the conversion for lira but did not investigate francs since this would be the only time we would need to do so. We went into the bar and Stephanie ordered a white wine while I ordered the American champagne otherwise known as Coca Cola. The bill came and we gave him the francs he asked for and we had no money left. That was an expensive white wine and coke. That was the first and last time that happened. We walked around for about a half hour before we boarded the bus to go to our restaurant which overlooked the lake. It was called Capo San Martino. Here is our menu:
We listened to music, had a wonderful meal. We sat with one of the newlyweds in our group, Jason and Jodie. They joined our group but unfortunately they came in from Amsterdam and the airlines lost their luggage. They were a great couple. Jodie was a teacher and Jason was in charge of discipline at at Technical School in Massachusetts.
Additional Pictures of Lugano
Touring train to see the city of Lugano
The next picture shows men playing chess on the ground:
Restaurant - Capo San Martino
The following are views of Lake Lugano from the Restaurant: