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We then came to Lake Lugano, crossing it on a stone viaduct. The views of the lake as we were crossing were charming. Passing through the town of Lugano, which is situated on the lake side and is quite attractive with its parks, flowers and arcade. It looked very like an Italian town, but both town and lake are in Switzerland. This has been a delightful ride, but it was getting late in the afternoon, and we had yet a long distance before us, as we expected to reach Pallanza for the night. Pallanza is on Lake Maggiore. Gusty suggested that we cross the Ticino river, which flows into Lake Magiore at a nearer point than Bellinzona, the crossing we were expected to make. The maps we are using show a good road leading across the country, which would enable us to cross the river at a nearer point and would shorten our ride. This we finally decided to do. We had been told, however, to take the farther crossing. We turned from the main road into quite a narrow one, which took us across the delta-like mouth of the river. Suddenly we came on to a very narrow and very shaky wooden trestle which was never built for motor cars. It was qutie long and had two sharp turns in it. Once on it, however, we were obliged to go over. Gaston was very careful and went as slowly as it was possible. We did reach the opposite side in safety, and all breathed freely once more. Gusty remarked “That was the last time she would suggest taking a short cut.”
Our road now ran along the west bank of Lake Maggiore, passing through Lacarlo, a pretty little town at the north end of the lake.
It was not yet dusk and we could see what a lovely country we were in. Tall cypress trees grew along the banks, while roses and flowers of every kind grew in great profusion. We crossed the Italian frontier, passing the customs for the second time that day. They were very kind to us, and would come smiling up to the limousine, look in, ask their questions in Italian, bow and leave us. Night had settled now, and the rest of our ride was not so pleasant, but nevertheless enjoyable, as the air was soft and balmy and filled with fragrance of flowers. We intended stopping at Hotel Eden about a mile this side of Pallanza, but passed by unknowingly and were obliged to retrace our road. This was difficult to do, but we succeeded by asking frequently of people who passed, and finally reached it. We had a fine suite of rooms facing the lake, and had dinner served in our drawing-room at 9 P. M., late, but we were hungry after our long and strenuous ride. Opposite Pallanza, at this end of the lake, are the beautiful Borromeo islands. They belong to the old Italian family of the Borromeos. Hence the name. Isola Bella (Beautiful island) and Isola Madrea (Mother island) have both lovely chateaux on them. The beautiful gardens are terraced to the lake. They are also well wooded with cypress, orange, lemon and magnolia trees, also oleanders grow in profusion. The third island has a fishing village on it.
Saturday, October I. We started fairly early, motoring through Pallanza and then commenced our climb over the Simplon pass.
Not long after leaving Domodosaola, we crossed the Swiss frontier and stopped at Gondo, a little hamlet for the Swiss customs. While waiting here, we saw men at work on fortifications on the opposite side of the ravine. We crossed the bridge over a muddy, rushing, roaring mountain torrent. Both Italy and Switzerland have fortified this end of the Simplon pass. After leaving Gondo, we entered the Gondo gallery, which is a long tunnel cut through solid rock. We came out from it into the ravine of Gondo, one of the grandest gorges of the Alps. I think, without exception, this is the grandest and most beautiful ride we have had.
The high mountains, rocky gorges, beautiful dancing waterfalls and lovely valleys, all of such rugged wildness, form an entrancing picture that we have seen nowhere else.
It was a ride of delight all the way, and the picture forms a beautiful bas-relief on memory's walls.
Our little motor did fine work that day in its many climbs, with Gaston's steady hand at the wheel to guide it. We lunched on top of the pass at Hotel Bellevue. We had a fair meal. This hotel is to close Monday, so we are just in time, and that is all. We rested a while after luncheon and looked at the snow-capped mountains. We saw several glaciers, having had glimpses of them all along the way. Here at the top of the pass we are surrounded by them.