“I think I’m gunna like it here.” Annie, Annie.
The concierge at the Hotel Walter au Lac was of equal build to me and had benevolently agreed to take our bags up to our room. My eyes interrogated him as we shared the lift to the 6th floor. I wanted to know if he resented his job and you can always tell if you look at someone long enough. A forged smile perhaps that dissipates into melancholic vacancy. A tuned-out expression that suggests one is in the grips of spiritual accidie. But he was perfectly happy, and why shouldn’t he be. It’s not like hodding bricks up a ladder (there’s a lift for a start) or chopping the bark off a roll of willow that’s encrusted with ice. (Yes I’ve done it all). This is not a bad gig for him, still he didn’t get a tip. Honestly no one tipped me for reaching the summit of a scaffold carrying bricks and cement, or for dipping the ends of willow clefts in wax for 10 hours straight. I digress. The concierge directed us through to the room, scuttling along the corridors muttering, ‘Isss sis way,’ and again, ‘It’s this way,’ once more, this time I heard ‘It’s the Swiss way.’
Lake Lugano is not achieved with a meagre budget. There are seldom stag do’s or package holidays seen around these parts. Easy Jet does not fly to Lake Lugano. The residents of Lake Lugano are far removed from avarice, however they have no compunction to share their treasures. They don’t even export their wines, perhaps due to tax reasons, or lack of produce, but it’s just a microcosm of ‘The Swiss Way‘. It’s good, they know it’s good. The Swiss Way is them saying, ‘we’ll just hold on to it, and if you want it, you’ll have to come to us. If you want to come to us you’ll have to fly to Milan, get a bus to Lake Lugano, a taxi to the hotel and hire a water taxi to envoy you across to Grotto San Rocco, where Michel will walk you through every item on the menu without revision.’
Hotel Walter Au Lac is centric, between piers Lugano and Paradiso making it highly accessible. For 500 francs you’ll be permitted two nights, two people with breakfast included.
For frequent visitors, or if you’re looking to stay for a week it might be worth investing in a Swiss Travel pass. You’ll be able to use this on trains, buses and boats across the lakes. Approx 150 francs.
You’ll need to book the water taxi’s in advance. It’s the easiest way to facilitate your way between the various cantons and grotto’s. Best check them out here. Approx 80 francs. (There and back).
A special mention for Grotto San Rocco. Michel delivered the menu with neatness and expedition. The local wine selection beautifully tempered the fish, when I asked for a cigar he unveiled 5-6 cases from under the bar, without having to dig around in panic like the untrained bartenders of the UK. Approx, well lets just say you should be a little capricious, a little less frugal, and just enjoy the decadence.