It was very easy for us to know we were getting close to Switzerland, as we ran into the mountains very soon after leaving Milan. At the border we had to present our passports and get our money changed, but there was no trouble like that we had with France and Italy as far as the customs were concerned. The journey of four hours was most interesting, as the scenery was very beautiful.
We arrived in time to have a look around before we had dinner.
Lugano is on the lake bearing its name and is surrounded by mountains. The country is quite different and the people are also different. We went out for a trip on the lake after dinner in a motor boat. This was very enjoyable in the moonlight. It is well illuminated around its shores and of course there are lights in the hills for the homes and streets.
Next morning we were taken for a motor drive around the lake, a distance of about 30 miles.
We saw an old country village and got a good idea of the country generally.
I wanted to get a front seat in the car so that I could take some photos. as we went along and I asked the driver if I could take the seat next to him if it was not reserved for the guide. We have a local guide in every case, as they must know much more than a man from another country.
The driver could not understand what I wanted and he said, “Do you speak German?” I shook my head. “French?” Again I shook my heard. “Italian?” Once more my head was shaken. “Sorry”, he said, “I only speak little English”. I was completely crushed, but saw the funny side and promptly took my seat in another part of the car.
In the afternoon we went up the Funicular Railway to the top of one of the mountains.
This is a double cable railway something like the Kelburn tram in Wellington. It is in two sections. When the car starts from the bottom there is another car at the top and this hauls the other one up halfway, where they both meet. The passengers change cars and the one which returns to the bottom hauls the other one to the top. There is a wonderful view from the top, but as the day was very hazy it was not good for photography.
The meals at the Meister Hotel where we were staying were excellent and we all had very good appetites. This food is very much like our own, whereas the Italian food takes a lot of getting used to before you can like it. We left this very pretty town on Friday morning, the 13th May, to go further into the mountains at Lucerne.