Dark Clouds Over Ticino

We had been looking forward to our vacation in Ticino for a long time. We had only been to the Italian speaking part of Switzerland once before, just passing through on the Bernina Express and I had been for a couple days for work. We thought that after more than a year of Covid that a week in the southern canton with its mediterranean feel, Italian influence, and amazing food and wine would be just what we needed after a year+ of cabin fever. Elise had it all set up, working with a colleague to find an out-of-the way village tucked away in a quiet valley with an old bed-and-breakfast only a short trip away to Lake Lugano with countless trails all around us. We had treks selected and were so excited to spend a week finally hiking and enjoying the natural beauty of Ticino.

Yes, it was just what we needed. What we hadn’t counted on was climate change bringing us one of the coldest, wettest, and stormiest summers in recorded history. With the summer traffic jams around the Gotthard pass usually being the bane of Swiss vacationers, the hour wait at the pass was the pleasant part of the journey with the remainder of the drive in torrential rains with sight limited to about 10 meters (30 feet) at times.

We arrived at our lovely bed-and-breakfast as nervous wrecks, relieved at making it safely only to turn our attention to the weather report we had so fervently hoped would change, only to see it had gotten worse.

Every morning brought rain followed by storms in the afternoon. On reflection, Elise rightly pointed out that we have been so fortunate to never have to cancel a trip due to weather that it really hadn’t occurred to us that we might finally have to do so. So we sat it out, finishing off a few books, enjoying fine bottles of local wine in the lounge, and most importantly dining on some wonderful regional specialities in a fantastic restaurant literally around the corner (the photos are disproportionately focused on food, even for us). We seized gaps in the weather to enjoy the view from the terrace and when it was dry enough, we managed a walk or two.

The weather finally broke for our last day and we enjoyed a hike from San Salvatore in Lugano to Marcote through green forests with views of the azure blue lake below us. The weather was a huge disappointment to us, but we are grateful for the beautiful last day.

It gave us a great reason to go back. So maybe it really did turn out to be just what we needed after all.

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