Last days in Porto

November 18, 2017

Initially we planned to stay in Porto for 3 nights but ended up staying 8 nights in total, it really is a lovely place which was particularly enhanced by the fact that we had clear blue skies most days. Now that I was feeling a lot better we had a couple of things we wanted to either go back to do, or to see, before we departed.

We had a trip out along the coast to Matosinhos, on the northern side of Porto across the Duoro river, with a long stretch of white sandy beach it is popular with surfers and beach goers alike.

We came across some interesting sculptures, the first an homage to the fishermen who made their living in this area. The sculpture is a flexible stylised fishing net with the mesh net billowing in the breeze. At night it is floodlit with changing colours which must make a spectacular sight.

Further along the beach is a poignant statue of a group of wailing women and children all looking out to the sea. The statue is a tribute to the fishermen of Matosinhos and their families. the victims of a tragedy when 4 fishing boats were wrecked in storm on December 2 1947, a total of 152 men lost their lives which greatly affected the area leaving over 200 orphans and 71 widows resulting in serious economic and social problems in the region.

We were surprised to hear that there is a direct connection between New Zealand and Porto, lining the foreshore in Foz is a stand of Pohutakawa trees. They must look spectacular when they flower in the summer.

The beach sweeps around to the exit of the Duoro River and we travelled along the river edge back toward the city. We passed fishermen packing up their nets for the day

Boats moored in the river

Looking across the river to a castle and grounds

Heading back into town, a traditional boat cruising down the river

Last but not least we went for a ride on the funicular which takes passengers from the river bank up to the old part of town.

passing another carriage on our way down

looking back up at the funicular

the funicular showing it’s clever leveling system

The single track funicular uses a central loop system that is nearly 300m in length, allowing it to descend the 61m with the steepest gradient below the passing loop. Due to the slope along the line, the cars have self-levelling platforms allowing the car floor to maintain its horizontal position no matter the incline. You exit at the top near the Dom Luís I Bridge, and the lower level exits along the river edge along the Ribiera.

We also went back to the local market to pick up a couple of souvenirs for ourselves, we didn’t stay too long as the smell of the fish at the market was a little too much for my still delicate tummy to handle!!

So that’s the end of the Porto segment, there is so much more we could have written and lots more photos of places and things we have seen and done but it’s time for us to move on.

Obrigado Porto.

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While the cat was away …..

November 17, 2017

Well it had to happen some time. We have been very lucky in our holidays abroad to have had no real health issues. This time it finally caught up with us and one went down. However that is not the “it” that I was referring to, no, “it” is the fact that I am writing a blog (after a period of prompting).

Whilst the boss was laid low I made my usual excursions around the town and now have to report on them. Early on the first day I was making my way to an appointment at a certain bookstore when the clock on this building began to chime and doors under the clock opened and these four characters paraded to the front. Each hour they undertake a routine of coming to the front pirouetting bowing and otherwise performing before doing an about face and returning home.

Following this I made my way to an area of the city I was not familiar with and found my way to a somewhat famous bookstore. Here I found myself confronted by a large number of excited adults (some children, but they were in the minority) queued to enter said bookshop.

Once inside, after having to purchase a ticket at a store two doors away and leave all my worldly goods locked away, I found a veritable host of people milling around taking multiple photographs and generally ignoring the books and only showing interest in one particular author.

Some may well recognise the setting!!

Or perhaps the ceiling!

In my experience of visiting this bookshop I believe they have now given up selling books as they are obviously making a good fortune out of the number of people visiting. Not only do they charge an entry fee to go into the bookshop, in the shop they have set up as a ticket office they also sell souvenirs and memorabilia, not only of Harry Potter books but also other popular books and TV a series including Game of Thrones.

Next door there was a very old store with all of its features preserved and repurposed.

Early the next morning I went on my usual wander and found a section of the original city Wall and with the early morning mist it made quite an eerie scene.

On the way back to the market I came across one of the more amusing aspects of the narrow streets in Porto. Next to the market there is a bus stop and the buses turn out of the Main Street into a much narrower street. As the photo shows it pays for both pedestrians and bus drivers to coordinate their activities.

At the market that morning there just happened to be a group of 7 or 8 music students performing.

I learned later in the morning that this same group had serenaded Bernice as they performed in the street immediately below our apartment.

Wandering a little further afield I found this shop which should be of interest to you in particular Christine!

And obviously the person who created this mural on a wall only metres down the road also had an interest in the shop.

And just to finish off, here’s another attempt by a bus driver to play the local game of “pin a pedestrian”.

This may have been claimed as all my own work however frustration set in part way through and as I am a damn sight better dictater than writer, Bernice took over secretarial duties!

Bernice here…I think that should be dictator!!

Porto and a change in plans

November 15, 2017

It’s just as well that we are not tied to a schedule and can pretty much plan where and what we do from day to day, we were so enjoying Porto and its environs that we decided to stay another three days. And just as well we extended our stay as you will find out later on!

There is plenty to see and do in Porto, and as our apartment is right in the centre of the old part of town, there is always something going on outside in the streets.

views from our apartment; top pictures taken late at night -cobbled street pattern, men putting up Christmas decorations, university girls singing traditional songs

We went on one of the hop-on hop-off bus trips around the city to orient ourselves and to see what was around and about. We’ve used these buses before and they are good value as our two day ticket also included the river trip and the port tasting, all for €28. NB to buy individually the river cruise was €15 and the port tasting and tour €10.

Sights around Porto.

On the street corner just down the road from our accommodation are a couple of interesting buildings with statues on the top – he’s looking at her and she’s pretending not to look at him

Just along from the apartment on Santa Caterina Street is a wine shop/bar that offered tastings of local wines as well as tapas tasting plates of local produce. We seemed to gravitate there each late afternoon on our way home from our days exploring, for a glass of wine, a plate of tasty tapas and some good company as well. We met other travellers but also the owner and his son whom, after a couple of nights, started to greet us with a hearty Olà and a handshake for Roy and a kiss on both cheeks for me. We had some great wines, ports, cheeses, meats, pates, olives and breads over the next week including trying lots of new things.

the ‘green wine’ was particularly delicious and a new experience for us.

We thank Ramiro for making us feel so welcome, and part of the local scene, it really made our time in Porto very special and wish them every success with their business, Saboriccia.

The Majestic Cafe is also located in Rua de Santa Caterina, it’s famous for its Belle Époque vogue with ornate timber interior featuring carved wood, mirrors and chandeliers. The staff are dressed in old style black trousers with white jackets and brass buttons with the senior staff in all black suits and white shirts and black ties. We sat and people watched whilst we had our coffee, apparently JK Rowling spent a lot of time here whilst she wrote the first Harry Potter book.

The outside of the cafe before the umbrellas and chairs are put out for the day

Scenes from inside the cafe

Oh and another aside about the Harry Potter connection to Porto and JK Rowling (she lived and taught in Porto for 10 years) is the dress worn by university students here. It’s all part of a tradition that started back in the 14th Century when the new students are initiated by older students in a ceremony known as Praxe. Every university has its own traditions, but garb worn after initiated is similar – the women (as seen in the first picture above) wear black skirts and jackets, white shirts, black ties, black stockings and flat black shoes whereas the boys wear black suits, white shirt, black tie and they both wear black capes. Hence the Harry Potter connection with the capes.

There is another Porto connection to Harry Potter but that’s for the next blog!

Now back to the change of plans, as I said previously we had already extended our stay by another 3 nights and it was just as well as I got a terrible dose of food poisoning! I ended up being bedridden for three days and took another day or two to gain my energy back. We are not sure what caused it as Roy and I had mainly eaten the same except for the night before this started when I had a salad but we also suspect a sangria that I had when we were down at a riverfront cafe, as it did taste very odd! Anyway, whilst I languished between bedroom and bathroom, Roy went out doing a bit of solo exploring which is why he will be writing the next blog about his explorations!

We also ended up extending our stay by yet another 2 nights to make sure that I recovered well enough before we moved on. And yes, 5 days later I am nearly back to my usual self.

Douro River and Port

November 14, 2017

The Douro River empties into the sea at Porto, it is around 900kms in length originating in Spain with the navigable part of the river mainly in Portugal. To give you some semblance of comparison, Porto sits at a similar latitude as Nelson in NZ so the temperatures for this time of the year (autumn) is very comfortable with daytime temperatures between 18-20C.

After spending a day gaining our bearings and scoping out the town we put aside a day or two to explore the river area.

view of the river from one of the many bridges crossing the Duoro.

We took a ride on the river in one of the traditional Rabelo boats, Portuguese wooden cargo boats. These boats are unique to Portugal with its history closely linked to the production and transportation of Port wine. The name Rabelo means “little tail” on account of the long timber rudder at the stern of the boat.

a traditional rabelo with the historic district in the background.

Our trip along the river took us downstream under some of the six bridges that cross the river linking Porto with Gaia on the north bank. The Luís I Bridge was designed by none other than Gustav Eiffel and is a double-deck single arch bridge constructed between 1881 and 1886 with rail running across the top of the bridge and road and pedestrian traffic on the lower level. At the time it was the longest metal arch bridge in the world.

view of the bridge from the water

interesting bricked river bank

Another bridge just 1km from the Luís Bridge is a very similar looking bridge called the Maria Pia Bridge. The arched bridge is a railway bridge and also attributed to Gustav Eiffel and was built in 1877.

the Maria Pia Bridge with the new Infante D. Henrique Bridge in the background. The Infante bridge was, until 2003, the longest single span concrete bridge in the world.

The river journey starts and ends in the famous Ribeiro area of Porto with its UNESCO Heritage site colourful buildings.

.

laundry hanging out along the building frontages.

a selection of views.

Church along the route, built in 1391

further downstream, new apartments built in keeping with the historic area

The historic walls of the city could easily be viewed from the water

At the end of the tour we enjoyed lunch in one of the cafes lining the Ribeira,

After lunch we took the water taxi across the river to Gaia as this is where the Port Caves and tastings take place. And you thought that the Port in the title alluded to a sea Port? No, it’s the Port wine that you drink!!

looking from Gaia across to Ribeira

The port company flags lining the riverbank

boats loaded with casks

We had a tour of the Calem Port cellars and their museum, which is a very informative tour as well as innovative in its techniques for displaying material as well as being interactive. We were told about all the differences between types of port i.e. Ruby, Tawny, White and Rosè as well as the differences between vintage, reserve, late bottled vintage, colheita etc and then the 10, 20 and 30 year old vintages.

The following small cask of vintage port took my eye, being a very good year I thought!!!

We enjoyed our tasting as we sat at a large table with a veritable United Nations of people (NB. all of these people were on the English language tour) from Italy, Sweden, England, Germany, Netherlands and of course us Kiwis. After the tastings got underway, everyone relaxed a little and as the port flowed, so did the conversation.

happy tasters!

Lucerne – Geneva – Porto

November 12, 2017

Yet another train trip for us, this time from Lucerne to Geneva, leaving the Alps and travelling through rolling green countryside in a journey that will last just under 3 hours. The trains leave Lucerne every hour on the hour with this train taking us north as far as Olten (half way between Lucerne and Basel) then south west toward Geneva via Bern.

the countryside was very pretty with views of typical Swiss chalets dotting the landscape, as well as cows with bells around their necks.

Swiss Chalets

Into Bern

rolling landscape

Lausanne

The trip seemed to take no time at all, either watching the countryside roll past or watching people getting on and off the train made the time go very quickly and we were soon at Geneva Airport. A short walk from the train station and we were at the airport through security and time for lunch before we boarded our flight to Porto. Yes, we are off to Portugal where hopefully the weather will be a bit warmer.

view from the plane to snow topped hills of Geneva.

After two and a half hours we were ready to land in Porto.

the view of the Portuguese coast.

Warmth and sunshine greeted us on landing and we were soon stripping off our scarves and jackets before finding our way to the Metro ready to take the train into town where we have an apartment booked in the centre of the old part of Porto. As we stepped off the escalator rising from the Metro we were met with a noisy, busy, vibrant street scene landing right at the top of Rua de Santa Caterina, one of the main streets of the old part of Porto, and this amazing sight in front of us

This church is covered in around 16000 tiles depicting scenes of Saint Catherine and Saint Francis of Assisi.

We arrived just on dark but we can check the Church out later. The street was alive and buzzy with street traders selling everything from art works, to souvenirs to roasted chestnuts and people everywhere out enjoying the evening. Musicians seems to be on every street corner and there is always something going on.

We picked up the keys you our apartment, which is in Rua de Santa Caterina. We are up on the 4th floor above the Main Street and is perfectly located for us to explore the city.

the Main Street in the early morning before the crowds appear. It appears that traffic is allowed down the centre of the street, one way, until mid day and then it’s pedestrians only and it seems to work very well.

We have booked in for three nights but we may just extend that, depending on our explorations tomorrow. The apartment is lovely and has a kitchen as well as a washing machine, which gives us a bit of freedom to eat in occasionally as well as catching up on laundry. A good nights sleep is in order before setting out to explore this part of Portugal.

Lucerne/Luzern

November 11, 2017

The sun was shining across the Lake as we arrived in Lucerne, we were met at the station by Billy, our Airbnb host, who then led us the 150 metres to our accomodation. Not only was it close to the rail station, it was also close to the famous Chapel Bridge, in fact as we stood on the street corner by our accommodation we could see the bridge through the street opposite, again only 200 metres away.

Chapel bridge.

Once we had settled into our room and sorted ourselves out we went for a walk to see the bridge, walking across a parallel bridge to get a good view of the historic bridge.

just to prove that we were there!!

From here we went for a wander around the old town, which is on the other side of the Bridge. Lucerne is not a large city, in fact it has a population of just 80,000 and as an interesting aside it has over 500 firemen to serve the city!!! Back to wandering the old town, which is located on the north side of the Reuss River, the river that feeds Lake Lucerne. We found a number of interesting buildings painted decoratively.

as you can see by the picture, it was dark by now, and time to find somewhere to eat. Although there were plenty of choices around, the cost of everything in Switzerland is very high. I was hoping to find somewhere selling fondue as when in Switzerland one should at least try the local. famous local dish. We did indeed find them, however the prices started at CH36 and went up to CH55 (that is about NZD52-80, or £27~42) and that is per person! Guess what? No I didn’t try fondue that night!

We wandered around the old town before heading back across the Chapel Bridge, or Kapellbrücke. This bridge was built in 1333 and spans 204m (669ft). And is the oldest covered bridge in Europe, although a lot of it has been replaced after. Afire in 1993 destroyed a large part of it as well as many of the 17th century painted panels depicting scenes from Lucerne’s history.

Roy admiring the panels

Time to retire for the evening and see what’s the new day brings. The new day brought rain, low cloud and mist so that didn’t bode well for the days planned activities. Never mind, we donned our newly purchased ponchos and set off to see the Lion Monument, a dying Lion carved into a rock face to commemorate the hundreds of Swiss guards killed during the French Revolution.

the Lion in its surroundings with lovely autumnal colours.

Roy in his becoming but effective poncho.

Close up of the Lion

After the wander around in the rain we decided we deserved a bit of morning tea

morning tea

It was also time to regroup and replan our activities as this rain was due to last another 4 or 5 days, not the best weather for sightseeing. The planned Lake trip was put off as we had earlier seen the boat disappear off into the mist, hmm, not ideal to see anything. The other options that were also postponed was a trip up Mt Pilatus, mind you the thought of going on that trip was heartstopping! It comprises of a gondola ride which is a rotating gondola, a cable car then a train down.

the route

and the thought of the train hanging over the cliff edge and the height of the cable car ride was enough to say thank goodness it’s raining and covered in cloud!!!!

Therefore that put off a similar trip to Mt Titlus which is renowned for the “highest and scariest suspension bridge in the world.

as regular readers will know, neither of us are into heights and certainly do not need to scare ourselves. We are happy to admire the pictures that others take and secretly thank goodness that the weather played into our hands.

Instead we headed to the Rosengart Art Gallery to view the works on display which included and extensive collection of works by Picasso, Klee, Chagall, Joan Miro, Renoir, Cézanne and Monet to name but a few. I have to admit that I prefer the early Picasso works rather than his later works but my all time favourites are the French Impressionists. It was a lovely way to spend an hour or two out of the rain.

There is also another bridge just downstream from the famous Chapel Bridge, the Spreuer Bridge, which was built in 1408 but had to be rebuilt in 1566 after the original was destroyed by flooding. The picture panels in the Spreuer Bridge are much clearer than those in the Chapel Bridge.

Time for us to leave Lucerne and the weather behind us, tomorrow we are off again.

Train to Lucerne

November 10, 2017

Have we mentioned before how much we enjoy travelling by train? We were on yet another train journey, we had already travelled 1 hour via train from Mendrisio to Bellinzona and this 2 hour train trip was heading though the Gotthard Pass and tunnels to Lucerne. We are moving from the Italian speaking part of Switzerland to the predominantly German speaking region of Switzerland.

The scenery started off Alpine-like, with great views of snow capped mountains. It was quite an overcast and cool start to the day as we climbed higher into the Alps.

The Swiss really know how to build things, a valley? build a bridge or viaduct, mountain? tunnel through it, not enough room for a two way highway? Build another one above the original road!

viaduct leading into tunnels

one road on top of another

mountains pepping through

map of where we are travelling

past lakes

Swiss chalets

more mountains

And finally arriving in Lucerne

Mendrisio and about

November 8, 2017

High on a hill was a lonely goatherd

Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo .….

echoes round and round in our heads as you really do need to have mountain goat genes to live in this neck of the woods. I had to laugh when I saw this ad, it seemed very appropriateil caprone = goat, and io = me.

The following picture is taken looking through a window from our hotel in Mendrisio, if you look very closely toward the top middle of the cliff in the tree line break, there is a house! How on earth they get to it is anyone’s guess.

Just in case you cannot see it, I have circled it for you!

There are homes like this all throughout the area and it seems as though the only access to many of them is on foot only.

Around and about in Mendrisio. The following three pictures are the outside of the Church and a couple of different internal shots. Inside the church are elements from previous churches that were on the site i.e. paintings, alters, sculpture and stained glass, some of which dates back to the 13th Century with some of the alter pieces from the 15 & 16th Centuries.

Outside the church on an old bell tower wall is the following remains believed to have been remains from early Romanesque times.

Have fun translating that!

A picturesque street view

And an optical illusion, yes this is a painting on the end wall.

When we were at the top of Monte Generoso, in the shop there were some preserves made by a Vanini, wonder if they are related?

We returned to Bellinzona the following morning via the free train, before transferring to the train to take us to Lucerne via the Gotthard tunnels. But before we left Bellinzona, we had time to return to the friendly bistro we found the previous day for breakfast, and we looked forward to a change from pastry, cold meats and cheese.

a couple of eggs to set us up for the day, served in the pans they were cooked in.

Monte Generoso and Bellinzona

November 6, 2017

Monte Generoso was to be our first call today and with the skies blue it was the perfect day to do some sightseeing. We caught the train from Mendrisio to Capolago where we were to change to the rack system train to take us up the mountain. As part of our free train pass for Ticino, it also gave us a 30% discount on the scenic train to the top of Monte Generoso.

we caught the train at Capolago FFS which is where the other rail lines run, and as per the picture above it wend sits way up the western side of the mountain stopping at two points, San Nicolao (707m or 2320ft) and Bellavista (1222m or 4009ft) where some keen passengers (and dogs) disembarked to walk one of the many trails. These two stops also have passing loops for descending trains to pass.

the passing track showing the rack system down the centre between the two rail tracks. The line is 9km or 5.6miles long and is 800mm or 2ft7in gauge. It is a rack railway with a maximum gradient of 22%.

Once leaving Bellavista, the landscape changes from heavily forested lower slopes to more open meadow before reaching the summit. There was some spectacular views down towards the lakes to be seen on the way as well, however with just one of us admiring the views. This is Capolago looking straight down with the outskirts of Lugano on the far side of the Lake.

Now regular readers will know that one of us is particularly nervous with regards to heights, especially in forms of transport other than flying or walking! So by the time we arrived at the top of the mountain (1704m or 5600ft) let’s say one of us was content to keep away from the edge of the viewing platform!!! The same someone was pleased to see this sign, especially the second item from the top!!!

The terminus building was only opened in April of this year with the rail line closed to the public for four years whilst the new building was completed, so we were very fortunate to have been able to arrive once it was all completed.

the building is called Fiore di pietra, stone flower.

The views are over Lakes Lugano and Como (as seen in the following picture), with Lakes Maggiore and Varese also in view. To the north are the Alps, stretching from the Matterhorn via the Jungfrau to the Bernina Range. To the south are the Italian Lombardy Plains and the Po Valley with Milan visible on a very clear day.

If you look very carefully in the next picture you will see what looks like a causeway between the two lakes, we will be heading over this later in the day to Bellinzona.

And to prove that we were both there, my selfie taking ability is still terrible!

Time for us to descend

The view from inside the train looking down

and that’s where we have been.

Once we had reached the train station it was a 3minute wait for the next train to arrive to take us to Bellinzona. With scenes like these along the way to keep us enthralled.

We arrived in Bellinzona in time for a bite to eat before we headed off to the Municpal buildings…we always seem to strike them when they close for lunch! Never mind, we again found a lovely small bistro where we enjoyed a bite to eat and some friendly banter with the staff.

someone looking a lot happier on terra firma, or perhaps it was the local Bier that helped?!

Off to visit the records office in Bellinzona, the capital of Ticino, where three people (two of whom had no English and the third a little) proceeded to discuss our request at high speed with a little hand waving, actually a lot of hand waving. The outcome of this was the same as what happened in Mendrisio, they could not help because of the time frame. However they did provide an email address of a Catholic Archive in Lugano which we will follow up later.

Time to head back on the hour long train journey to Mendrisio, it’s been a full on day.

Mendrisio

November 5, 2017

We arrived in darkness and eventually found our hotel. After getting off the train we started looking at the maps we had with us, as well as google maps, also checking the notice boards at the train station to figure out where our hotel was, after he saying this way, and she saying no it’s that way, we looked up from our maps and directly across the road from the train station was our hotel staring us in the face!!! Well, that was easy.

As we had had a bite to eat in Milan we decided an early night was in order ready for a day of exploring. The next morning we headed down stairs to have breakfast in the hotel, although adequate, it was nothing to write home about so we made the decision to find our breakfasts elsewhere. Our first port of call today was to visit the Catholic Cathedral here in Mendrisio as we knew this was where Roy’s GGrandfather had been baptised.

Here in the canton (region) of Ticino, a ticket/voucher is issued by your accommodation provider which entitles you to free bus and train travel within the region plus a discount on other forms of transport and special tourist attractions plus free access to museums and the like. This is a brilliant scheme that we took full advantage of by catching buses into town and exploring the region via train.

Top map has Mendrisio marked by blue dot, the bottom picture is a closer version with Mendrisio marked in red.

We found the Catholic Church on top of a hill in the centre of Mendrisio. I have to add here that everything around here is either at the top or the bottom of a a bloody steep hill. You definitely need to have mountain goat genes to live here.

We went into the church for a quick look around. This church was replaced between 1863 and 1875 therefore Damiano would not have known this building. After wandering around the outside of the church we went inside for a look.

the church – La Chiesa dei SS. Cosma e Damiano Di Mendrisio

There was no one in sight anywhere so we had resigned ourselves to not having any luck today.

Just as we were about to leave a gentleman came in, through our limited Italian and his non existent English, we finally worked out that this was Father Claudio, the senior priest of the parish. Roy had written a bit of an intro and a list of names we were looking for and had used google translate which he had saved to his iPad which he showed to Claudio. With a flurry of oohs and ahhs, Father Claudio said follow me.

the Rectory

We ended up in the rectory next to the Church where he went and found another priest, this one spoke reasonable English and was very helpful. With more “follow me”, both men led us down two stories to the archive room where low and behold all the original Church registers are held.

With appropriate dates given, they found the right books for the baptismal records and we started to troll through the entries, how amazing to be able to handle and search through books over 300 years old (and no, we did not have to wear white gloves). Lo and behold we found Roy’s GGrandfather, however his name was registered as Santinus Damianus Vanini (note the one ‘n’ in the middle of the surname) but the details for his parents matched perfectly. We photographed the entry and then started looking for his siblings, we found just the one entry, for his sister Maria but the other two brothers who were born later were nowhere to be found. They could well have moved to another parish or even town by this stage.

Once we had exhausted all the options by searching the appropriate books, it was time for us to go, but not before Claudio disappeared for a moment or two to reappear with two books in hand as gifts for us! One book is on the Church and it’s history and the other on it’s Madonna. Now we just have to get our Italian up to scratch to read them, but the pictures are great!!

The priests would not accept anything in exchange for the books and we left feeling very lucky to have had such a welcome and such great assistance. Before we left the men suggested that we visit the local municipal building to check out records. They informed us that however were closed from 12 – 2pm so we had plenty of time for some lunch before we went.

We found a charming looking small bistro in the backstreets away from the main centre which was being frequented by both office workers and workmen alike. We were very warmly greeted, and sat down at a table for a drink to start with. We ascertained from the menu that today’s special was a chicken dish, we watched as others were brought the dish and it looked delicious. So that was my choice, Roy went with a pasta dish.

It was a great meal, so much so that all was required for dinner that evening was a snack!

Soon it was time to head to the municipal building to see what we could find. Unfortunately, we had no luck as they had no records prior to 1850 or 1860 as there was no central registry requirement in Switzerland at that time.  In fact, registry came in over a period of about 25 years Canton by Canton.  They did however suggest that we go to Bellinzona which is the Capital of Ticino Canton. We shall go there tomorrow.