1st of August is Swiss National Day, a Heritage Day indeed (coun t the years as of 1291). In the morning we wandered to the Emarcadero of Melide, a very simple affair at the end of a pleasant walk along the lake. We boarded the motorboat Italy and in 20 minutes we were in Morcote. It is an old merchant harbour with narrow lanes into the tightly packed houses and a long, covered walk under arches along the lake. Lots of restaurants, pizzerie, gelaterie, and cartolerie (postcards and more).
We had our lunch right on the shore, better price than any of the eateries and a little slug included.
Above the village thrones Santa Maria del Sasso and 404 steps leading past other chappels lead to the village church. A surly fountain figure would not give up a drop to the sweating climbers.
In behind the church on the steep slope is a terraced graveyard dating to the mid-18th century. Many a stately tomb adorns the place amongst subtropical greenery. Steep trails and stairs lead back to the town which was flagged for national holiday. Gelato at last and then the bus back to Melide.
In the evening it is traditional on the National holiday to light bonfires and launch fireworks. However, this is such a dry summer that half the country is under an total outside fire ban and it includes fireworks …unless you’re on a lake.
Well, before the artificial fireworks got lit there was a goodly thunderstorm. Natalie counted 177 lighting flashes, forked and sheet lighting. Watch the rain coming in and the sky being lit. No forest fires got started, I’m happy to say and the rolling thunder impressed us all. Once dark had fallen, the artificial fireworks followed the natural ones with banging and cracking elliciting many oohs and aws.