We live in a world with wants aplenty. Little do we know that we only want something till we have it. These “things” we desire and acquire, by various means, make us believe that they define us. On the other hand, if we are not able to make these purchases, we heave heavy heartfelt sighs, make a scrapbook and stick pictures in it. However, when you get a chance to travel to one of the most beautiful places on earth, literally, a slice of paradise and you don’t stop to collect experiences, wasting time to purchase things that you will forget after buying, there couldn’t be a bigger wastage of time.
I voiced these thoughts to myself as I trudged the way with my peers towards Fox Town – a factory outlet in Mendrisio, for a second time. It houses all the possible brands that you can think of, with names that challenge your articulation. So, here we were, taking in the window shopping experience for a second time and indulging in sinful chocolates at the Lindt Chocolaterie and swigging beer on tap with French fries for company.
Little did we know that the second half of the day had a slice of paradise in store for us. Lake Lugano was in the offing and our evening was to be soon filled with gasps and sighs louder than ever before.
A scenic drive, which was a shade shy of a half hour, took us to Lugano. With most businesses already on a summer vacation, the streets of Lugano wore a deserted look. Well paved streets, spic and span pavements, and the peculiar rarity of vehicular traffic greeted us, as we drove to a self-service parking lot.
A brisk walk brought us in the vicinity of Lake Lugano, and was quickly transformed into an enjoyable stroll. The pavement running along the periphery of the park was lined with trees and benches. Ice cream shops, espresso cafes and other sundry peddlers dotted the landscape. The benches looked over the fence onto the lake. The view was spectacular as sunlight glittered on the tiny waves of the lake.
We were on our way to Parco Civico – the city’s lungs, as they call it. A sprawling park on the shores of the lake. And boy, does it live up to the name. Pack up all your worries and throw them into the water, let the waves lap at your feet, and simply relax. The park is quite big and runs along for a few square meters, allowing you to rejuvenate.
One look at the trees and you’d know that they have been here for quite a number of years. The length and breadth of the park is divided, and while we found ourselves in the more sophisticated English styled gardens, the other half holds the original character of the forests of Ticino – packed enough to satisfy a botanical fanatic. This place was blissful to the eyes, as lush flower beds altered with green spaces, changing shades per the exposure to sunlight and shade.
From the main entrance, we experienced the first half of the park and came across many a building. One of them had a stately presence. Beautifully maintained, clean and with its own personal landscaped garden in front, quietly embracing a makeshift boundary wall. The Villa Ciani is a stately building for sure, exuding an amount confidence that comes from royalty of ages gone by. Today it plays host to artistic and historical exhibitions and maybe sometimes double hats for congressional meetings.
Kids trying their grit on skateboards were plenty, some screaming with joy after successfully mastering a trick, others crying in pain, after falling off from it. Then there were the curious ones, climbing trees, leaving their parents with outstretched hands beneath. On our way to experience the waters, we came upon yet another water fountain in the park. This was definitely potable, as a lot of the local residents were filling their bottles and flasks. We drank from it too. Cold and rejuvenating.
Onward to the banks of the lake, we came across many swans. Some enjoying the evening swim, some tending on the banks and others striding up asking for food. Since there are so many people who regularly feed these aviaries, they are used to human presence and are not shy. We didn’t have any crumbs to share, so we settled marveling at the pristine white of their feathers and the magnificence of their being.
Across the bank, the lake had a pier with many sailboats docked. with the skeletons of their masts exposed. Lake Lugano, is big and spills over into Italy. So sailing around on a weekend is a swell idea. Tiny waves greeted us gleefully as the soft sand weaved designs under our feet. Sunlight glistened on the waters making it look like gold coins floating on the surface. Parents with their little ones were in the water, swimming, splashing, having fun. Happiness! While there were some sunbathing with their favourite novella. We, were busy, trying to capture the beauty in the camera, clicking pictures together. Time flew.
We drew ourselves from the water, rolled back the denims to their full length and headed out to the pavement to grab a dollop of ice cream. We chanced upon a ferry in the lake and thought a tour would be nice as the sun continued its descend. The ticket counter allowed a sneak peek to the pier and we spotted all kinds of boats that could be rented. A paddle boat suited us fine, since the ferry was away for the next hour or so. This is when the vistas surrounding the lake came to life. Up, close and personal.
The streets of Lugano glowed. A combination of natural and some artificial lighting as we saw twilight flicker its last few strands of light. The waters of the lake now glistened in the street lights. Lugano is filled with beautiful vistas, with mountains and valleys. An evening well spent, and more exploration due.
Have you been to Lugano? Tell me your story.