Lugano fifty minutes into our bus journey ...
Trip Start Apr 01, 2001
89Trip End Ongoing
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Fifty minutes into our bus journey from Menaggio we entered Switzerland and had our passports checked for the first time in almost three months. Good job we got them back yesterday!
For the last week Paul has been itching to get to a new country. After forty days in Italy he had figured out how things work and the novelty value of hole-in -the ground toilets had worn off.
The first thing we noticed in Switzerland was that traffic actually stops to let you cross the road. We walked through Lugano town crossing the road many more time than was necessary, just to see if this was for real!
Swiss trains are a dream... they run on time, all look brand new, have soft seats, blinds to keep the sun from your eyes, airconditioning that actually works, no grafitti, and non-smoking carriages in which... get this... no one smokes! We were surprised that they let two "Smelly Backpackers" on. Yes, we now class ourselves as "Smelly Backpackers". Doing laundry has become less of a priority than at the beginning of the trip, and, perhaps it is just summertime, but there seem to be an awful lot of flies following us.
We have had some wonderful recommendations for hostels from fellow travellers, and "Backpackers" in Lucerne was no exception. It is big, but still has a friendly atmosphere - unlike the large IYHF hostels.
Lucerne is extremely picturesque; situated on the lake with a quaint wooden bridge which dog-legs across the river as it feeds into the lake. The riverside is a hive of activity with several beer-houses, restaurants, and evan an English pub with authentic Mancunian bar staff!
We took a day trip to Interlaken, which is where we had planned to stay until we heard that Backpackpers in Lucerne was a better base. We were both glad that we didn't stay in Interlaken. Although it is situated between two lakes, you can't see either of them from the town. Lucerne has traditional paddlesteamers on the lake, but Interlaken had a somewhat tacky boat decked out to look like a dragon...it even blows steam form its nostrils. Interlaken might be a good base for the extortionately priced private railway up to Jungfraujoch, but this was well outside our budget, plus, the trip can be done from Lucerne anyway.
We couldn't leave Switzerland without having a Fondue, so we asked the staff at Backpackers for a recommendation of where to go. They suggested Pfistern on the riverside. The Fondue was great, and there was plenty of it. Tonya usually moans that she is still hungry after a fondue party, but not today. We got instructions on how to eat from the couple sitting next to us... very "artistic looking" couple they were too. The guy had a delightful powder blue suit, and shirt and tie. All the same colour, and obvoiuosly designer. They were locals and told us we had chosen the best place in town for Fondue. For those who haven't tried Fondue you have to attach bread to the end of a long fork, then dip it into the cheese sauce and stir vigorously... five or six times... remove your fork and eat. However, should the bread have disappeared then you have to kiss the person sitting next to you!