Sunday evening and I am happily ensconced in a deluxe hotel room in Florence, Italy eating dark Swiss chocolate. What a day this has been: it began in Geneva, included 3 countries, and 3 different trains, a crossing of the Alps, and spectacular rural scenery. Inirtially we followed Lake Lucerne where the hillsides are tiered grape arbors and an occasional castle or manor house catches our attention. The train (I am wild about European trains) then plunged into a long tunnel which bored through the Alps and burst into a corner of France. Back to Switzerland, then on to Italy. Matt’s Milan boasts the most aesthetically pleasing and most immense train station on the planet.
To date my favorite thing has been yesterday’s visit to a mideval castle on the shores of the lake; it was made famous by Lord Byron’s poem “The Prisoner of Chillon”. Built nearly 1000 years ago it is a stone monument to every book or movie I loved as a girl: a moat, long ramparts where narrow slits allowed archers to defend the castle, flags flying from the turrets, a cobblestone courtyard and a dungeon with a pillory. Of course. The great dining hall with a fireplace a man could stand in, my imagination peopled with Lords and Ladies, knights, minstrels and jesters, jugglers and dancing bears. Grandma Norma would have loved the etiquette: the long table cloths served as a communal napkin for greasy fingers since forks did not enter the scene until around 1300 and all refuse was thrown to the ever present dogs on the floor.
Jackie and Craig are a hoot to travel with and I am forever indebted to them for this trip; at 78 I am living a dream come true. Love, Mom/Barb/G/GG