Peaced out in Verbania

… And a little peaced off, to be honest. Sorry, couldn’t resist the opportunity of clever expletives 🙂
Tomorrow I am leaving Verbania to go to Verona. So tonight, I thought “let me give this town a chance” and set out to explore it on foot, shortly after dinner. Never in my life and my many travels have I come across a more dead Italian town. The streets were deserted!?! A few idle youth, beyond frustrated with their location, I imagine, were feebly attempting the classic passeggiata, but, frankly, when I encountered them again within 10 minutes I turned on my heel and dashed back to my equally happening retirement home :))

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I don’t know what’s happening, but this place really astonishes me. Italy has never before failed to entice me to be alive, to live life, to enjoy life! However, Verbania has a strange deserted feeling that I cannot shake. I walked the shopping streets, the squares, the waterfront and beyond in search of some sign of life, but was met with nothing but emptiness. Is this Italy? Am I in Switzerland already!? And then I remembered how once I had read how even in the Italian speaking part of Switzerland people are a bit reserved, lacking the usual warmth and joy of the Italian spirit. At the time I did not believe it, putting it down to the subjective feeling of a bitter and frustrated expat. Now, however, I am inclined to give credence to that statement and even take it further: I think the Swiss spirit made it over the mountains. The signs were all around me: the ferries did leave on the dot, the cashier shouted to get me back to the window for my change when I mistakenly gave him two 10 Euro notes instead on one, and the bar lady last night gave me credit in the country with no such banking notion. Could it be true? Do the influences on one nation spread over neighbouring regions of one very different nation!?

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I don’t know, and, no, I don’t get that fuzzy feeling from the Swiss, in case you’re still wondering.

All I know is that, when I reached the waterfront tonight, one poor duck, alone in the water, was crying its heart out again and again. Maybe it was a lost duckling, separated from its parents, I couldn’t really see that far out well enough to be certain. But maybe it was a Neapolitan duck, lamenting its estrangement and wondering, as was I, whether this is still Italy!

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