This is Bellaggio in 1995, a little village on the shores of the Lake of Como. Switzerland is sandwiched between a few countries and many tourists do not know they have been there until they have crossed Switzerland and arrived in another country. Living in Switzerland has the advantage that in a few hours, the motorways not being one big traffic jam, you are already in he land of spaghetti and wine.
There were not many opportunities for Mrs. Angloswiss and Mr. Swiss to escape when the kids were younger, but they were now at the age when you could leave them alone for a few days, and relive the good old days when we were young and lovely. We had heard of Bellaggio as one of those places where the Hollywood stars like to go and so we made our way via Lugano. We had not reserved anything, it was just on the chance that we find a hotel On the week-end we arrived there had been a Bernasconi political conference in Bellagio and as we arrived at a very good hotel, the various business men in suits were leaving. We were lucky we had the choice of the rooms. Bellagio is a land tongue on the lake of Como, so we had a view of water on both sides of the room.
Bellaggio is a wonderful place and also goes up and down like most Italian villages. One restaurant remains in our minds, the food was good and the service. It was situated at the side of these steps. We were in Northern Italy. The first thing I noticed in the restaurant was a shelf with various wine bottles, for show. One of the bottles showed Mussolini on the label. The boss of the restaurant would sit at a table in the evening, and when customers arrived he disappeared into the kitchen to cook, but his favourite pastime seemed to be sitting at this table and being the capo di tutti capi.
He had a son who would also be hovering around in the restaurant, but mainly saying hello to the guests, especially the female ones.
I remember one afternoon Mr. Swiss and I took a walk around the area. There were some lovely gardens, and old villas and we saw the son of the restaurant owner. He had an American lady on his arm and was showing her all the sights. She only had eyes for him it seemed. He was really the rooster in the basket in Bellaggio and two days later we saw him again with another lady on his arm, this time an english lady. Was this pure Italian?
I also made my acquaintances in Bellaggio, but it did not bother Mr. Swiss so much. I was then 49 years old and having my last fling in Italian.
We left Bellaggio for home and stopped at Lugano on the way in a restaurant with an outside terrace. The sun was shining, we felt good, looked at each other and realized we had the same thought. We then booked in for two nights at another hotel on the lake of Lugano. The kids did not need us, they were on holiday as well getting a break from mum and dad. This was the Italian way to do it.