My Love Affair with Language and Italia

Friday, February 11th, was a good day. I found out my sister and brother-in-law are due to have a boy in July. I got to write, and I saw the sun. That evening lead to an impromptu dinner at my favorite restaurant in Wheeling, Later Alligator, with 5 girls and Phil. I caught up with an old friend, brought along some new ones and met a young girl staying here. She is an exchange student from Italy. So, I began to remember the language and it brought me back to the first day Phil and I spent in Italy.

Day 8, Interlaken to Como

We left Balmers after our meal ticket breakfast and jumped on a bus to get to the train station in the rain. We ran into a grocery store nearby to get pig rolls, (?) nuts, dried blueberries and snacks for our trip into Italy. We boarded into our comfortable seats. I read and wrote. Phil made a video that included music from his ipod buds. We had a train exchange in Luscerne which left us about an hour layover to explore the town. Just like eight years before, it was cloudy and the picturesque mountains were out of sight. We walked the crowded 14th century Chapel Bridge and grabbed a cup of coffee at Starbucks where we nearly didn’t escape the excited tourists gals wanting their photos taken, then another one with the barista, then another one… just because they were in a Starbucks. Fortunately we didn’t run into them near the Chapel Bridge.

8 years ago I took this picture in Luscerne Switzerland.

This photo of Botta’s work, The Chapel of St. Mary of the Angels was also taken in 2002. This time in Italy Phil and I gazed up at it from our train.

A bus photo taken on the move in 2002. Then, my first time in the border town of Como, Italia.

Terragni, Terragni, Terragni. The fascist architect whose public work we toured in o2.

As you may be able to tell… I look a bit younger 8 years ago.

Side trips into the country-side for one night or two. These are from Parma, Pecia, and other hill-top towns outside of Florence.

Phil and I finished a 45 minute loop tour and then jumped on our train to Como.

I wrote:

A birds wings tapping the water

skipping like well-worn rocks

The train a Lugano awaits me, Italia!

After eight years I arrive again.

Ah, Italia and film. Stone washed houses, pink facade worn.

Trains are good for us, through the mountain tunnels to the lump hills of the northern country.

The land of terraced grapes and olives.


In the plan of things, looking at a map, a simple 20 minute bus ride to the down town of Como looked easy enough from where our train would take us to the Switzerland/ Italy border. We had our passports ready… and then Italy began.

An odd start to Italy. Not even border control knew what to do. It was 4 or 5 in the afternoon on Friday and after walking along a sidewalk into Italy, then, walking back into Switzerland to talk to the Polizia, and again following the sidewalk out, we were entering into another country without a passport stamp. Ok. Then, we decided to walk to Como. Highways were the borders and I knew this was kaotic for Phil. This in-between place, the farthest outskirts of each country touching, no one seeming to care where we walked. We found Via Asiago on my Como map and decided to wait for a bus. After it didn’t come for 5th time the schedule said it would we decided to continue walking. We just weren’t exactly sure we were walking in the right direction. If only we could see the lake. Welcome to Italy, my secret garden, iron gate doors, cobblestone courtyards, skinny women in tight black clothes. It was ok that this was the entrance, it could only get better and I was in love. We walked and found someone to ask which bus to Como Central. The bus took us to the places along the lake that I recognized -sail boats closed up and wrapped tight in the sunlight. (But even the bus ride wasn’t without hiccups. Phil and I tried to pay, but the bus driver kept waving at us.. we noticed the money machine finally and being quite exhausted took a seat.) Then, here was Como Central! We stepped off, heard music in the piazza, found our hotel, the interior clad in ceramic tile, two men I addressed in Italian. One man showed us to our room and showers. Thank You! We left our luggage, opened the shutters and made a quick video to remember our crazy day.

We didn’t walk far for food -ordering Italian pizza in a courtyard set up for a reenactment of a renaissance dinner. Phil got funny and the men with roses, fuzzy animals, and glow sticks didn’t know how to treat a man singing to them. These men were relentless. Some men bought their girlfriends the whole bouquet. In love. I was happy and with my marito. We discussed how we needed to be better aware of what we did at home, walk more, like ourselves and what we did more. We walked arm in arm wrapped around one another as the streets became rainier.

Then, we tucked ourselves into our… bunk beds! What? Yes, the Twin Private Bedroom, second on the list of pre-planned choices of how to choose and book a bed while traveling, was not the option for honeymooners. Oops, oh well.  It’s a good think we don’t mind sharing a tiny bed.

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