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Just a thirty minute coach trip from our hotel on Lake Como and we are in Switzerland and sitting lakeside in Lugano, admiring the view… and what a view. Lugano is the 9th largest city in Switzerland and is located in the south of the country, with a population of around 150,000 Italian speaking people. The city is set on the shores of the lake and it exudes wealth and sophistication. Though that wasn’t always true and the area has another claim to fame, smuggling. Not smuggling any old contraband though, these guys smuggled Salami… in a submarine. The Swiss are nothing but novel in their approach to crime.
We nearly didn’t arrive in the lovely city, as my wife decided at our hotel to follow a bunch of tourists out of our hotel to a waiting coach. It wasn’t until I pointed out the tourists were all speaking German and the coach’s destination wasn’t Lugano that she decided she was in the wrong place with the wrong people.
Lugano boasts three Funicular railways which carried 2.4 million people in 2007, one of the busiests railways in the country. If you have no idea what a Funicular railway is, consider your nearest railway line, then picture it slapped on the side of a mountain and you will have some idea of what a Funicular railway is about.
Sitting watching the boats full of tourists ply their trade up and down the lake, you can’t help notice the beautiful, and obviously rich, people strutting their stuff along the expansive tree-lined promenade around the lake. But as with all beautiful places with beautiful people, there is a dark side. This city’s dirty secret is its love of cars, all cars, from small minis to supercharged Bentleys, this city seems to be full of noisy petrol heads and some of them like thumping out tuneless rubbish on their expensive sound systems. The Swiss authorities are not exactly car friendly, a drop of oil on the road is considered a major crime and washing your car on a Sunday is outlawed. So with this in mind, I was surprised at how car friendly they are in Lugano, because the noise and air-pollution are something else along the lakeside.
At the very end of our time in Lugano, there was yet more noise, this time from the skies, where we were treated to a breathtaking display of precision flying from the Swiss Air Force PC-7 aerobatic display team. And what a performance.
This display was a training flight in preparation for a display over the following two days.
I take my hat off to Lugano, they certainly do things in style… noisy, but stylish.
Tom Kane © 2018
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