Ah, lovely little Lugano. One of my favorite small cities in the world. A lake surrounded by mountains, with plenty of shopping, restaurants, cafes and gelato shops to pass the day away. What more could you ask for?
Well, as it turns out, Lugano in the rain kinda sucks.
The day started out pleasantly enough with a wonderful visit to the RSI television station, the largest in Italian-speaking Switzerland and one with a rich history that includes resistance against fascist Italy during World War II. We had a great time and a great tour. The trouble began when we left.
When we arrived at the train station that would take us back to the Lugano city center, the rain really began. And it was a cold, blowing rain. Fortunately we only had to wait about 10 minutes. But my, what a long 10 minutes.
Arrival in central Lugano a few minutes later brought no break in the weather. As we navigated our way down a steep hill into the old town, the stress level of the group rose rapidly. Upon finding the pizzeria Argenteno for which we had dinner reservations some 90 minutes later, our fearless leader Dr. Buddy Howell, sensing a growing mutiny, negotiated our way in immediately and out of the rain.
A delicious group dinner and bonding experience followed. As we dined, the rain stopped, and left us with an absolutely gorgeous evening in this small lakeside city. When the last pizza had been devoured, we broke up into small groups to seek out gelato, coffee, the perfect photographs, and much more. As the final hours of our first visit to Lugano passed, nearly all of the students had fallen in love with this favorite place of mine. Many returned the very next day.
In all, what could have been an ugly excursion turned out to be a fantastic afternoon and evening, our first outing as a family of travelers and scholars.