Tag Archives: Lake Maggiore

Twelve Nights in Italy, Traveller Down

I’m never ill. Except clearly I am. And I don’t ‘pick up’ urine infections. Except clearly I do as I have one.

It hasn’t been diagnosed but I’ve heard enough descriptions over the years to recognise why I’m having to seek a ‘toilette’ on an uncomfortably regular basis without satisfactory results.

The location, the Cannero Riviera, is one of those ‘Italy as seen in the pages of Condé Nast’ destinations and the hotel room is fit for a king… of a very small country at least. And I can’t really enjoy either.

Seared tuna in Italy

In front of me is a dish of seared tuna that looks like the best dish of seared tuna that has ever been placed in front of me. I have no appetite; however, I go through the motions – smiling and nodding attentively, trying to make all the right noises when all I want to do is lie down and sleep… with a toilet close at hand. Well, not hand… but you know what I mean.

I’m pretty sure it was as a result of walking all day a few days previously without drinking nearly enough water. Whatever the cause I am now not functioning at a 100%, more like 50%.

I could kick myself for the rookie error and allowing my Scottishness to get in the road.

Sure, it wasn’t our fault that it was a Sunday and in this part of Italy, everywhere that would normally sell water is closed.

It’s definitely not our fault that the restaurant that we knew existed halfway along our walking route actually closed during lunch. It’s crazy. What sort of restaurant closes at lunchtime? Presumably they also closed at dinner times as well, only opening when people didn’t actually want to eat.

But what I do regret is saying ‘I don’t think so, there will be plenty of other places to get water’ on being told at a lakeside bar, the only open place around for miles, that a small bottle of water was €3.

Three euros seems a small price to pay now.


Twelve Nights in Italy, the White Peacock

It’s a sculpture, surely it’s a sculpture?

Brilliantly white peacocks don’t actually exist… apart from maybe in places like Narnia.

It stands stock still, not a movement nor a flutter of its delicate white feathers.

Definitely a sculpture.

I step closer. Nothing. It is made from alabaster. A clever whimsical sculpture amidst the leafy terraces of an immaculate Italian garden.

I start to turn away… and it blinks.

‘Ha, fooled you’ its arrogant expression mocks.

Then, just to convince me it really is flesh, blood and feathers, it slowly unravels a treasure. In seconds a huge, intricate white fan frames the snow peacock’s proud face.

White Peacock

I’m not sure I have ever seen a creature so spell-bindingly beautiful. It could have stepped straight from the pages of a fairy tale.

Now I’m the one standing still; as if petrified by an Ice Queen’s magic.

Twelve Nights in Italy, the Perfect Breakfast

The tiny, leafy terrace looks out over the lake. Across from us is another small island, Isola Madre. The world has yet to fully wake up. Everything feels morning fresh.

We are alone on the sunny breakfast patio of a small hotel on a 400 metre long island populated by fishermen.

Diego, the hotel’s supremely knowledgeable jack of all trades, has laid out a breakfast to match the beauty of the surroundings.

Breakfast on Isola dei Pescatori, Lake Maggiore, Italy

Blood red Sicilian orange juice, croissants, muesli, fresh bread, ham and cheeses, melon, papaya and pineapple… plus a steaming jug of wonderful, life-giving Italian coffee.

It is perfect. The view is perfect. The island is perfect.

And it feels like we have it all to ourselves.

This is what sighs were created for.