Monday, 25 June 2018

Of ferries, and monuments and odd bits of transport history ....... by Lake Maggorie at Easter

We were a mixed bag on the mid day ferry to Intra.

There were a handful of locals, off to meet friends and family, a few tourists and us, along with an assortment of cars, two motor bikes and a lorry.

There weren’t that many of us, but then the ferry service across Lake Maggorie runs every twenty minutes so unless you have a pressing appointment there is no need to force yourself on to a full boat.

That said I am guessing there is a morning and evening rush hour, but at noon we pretty much had the ferry to ourselves.

Now the weather at Easter can be unpredictable.  Earlier in the week it had rained incessantly with the odd flash of lightening.  But Thursday had dawned sunny and bright and by the time we arrived in Laveno it was almost t-shirt weather and so on a whim we had taken the ferry to Intra.

It is a short enough journey lasting about twenty minutes, and the views across the lake were magnificent.

Not everyone however was bothered with the scenery, and this included one of the tourists who resolutely spent the journey staring at a map, and continued to do so as we docked.

He didn’t even give a glance as the platform at the landing point was lowered into place, which was a shame because had he done so he would have got a glimpse of transport history.

Looking down there was the original landing stage which I suppose had been abandoned when the ferry’s got bigger or the vehicles got larger and there was a need to add a new ramp which is lowered when a ferry arrives and raised once it had departed.

Given the small number of people on the ferry, we were ashore in a matter of minutes and within another five were parading beside the Lake looking for a suitable place to eat.

And there were plenty of bars, and restaurants along with the usual mix of touristy shops and in the warm sunshine were doing a grand trade.

At the Caffe Sempione an elegantly dressed couple had taken up a table with a commanding view over the water having chosen to ignore both the “Tea Room” and the “Lounge Bar”.

But the majority of people had oped for the large cafe whose tables and chairs were situated just behind the the war monument.

And not for the first time I pondered on the difference between many British war memorials and those erected in Italy.

In Britain they tend to be sited by churches, cross roads or specially designated spots which only come into their own on special occasions.

Not so many Italian monuments which are planted foursquare at the heart of the town giving them a prominent position amongst the living.

And so while you sit sipping your coffee or aperitif, there is no ignoring the sacrifice made by people on your behalf in wars which might otherwise be long forgotten.

All of which I think is a fine way for a war memorial to work.

Location; Intra, Lake Maggiore

Pictures; Intra, 2018 from the collection of Andrew Simpson

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