The Swiss name their Italian Canton of Ticino “Switzerland’s sunshine parlor”. Living with what we call “Continental climate” with so many rainy days throughout the year, you wonder if the Swiss might not be right.
Surrounded by the majestic southern Alps—and fronted by Lago Maggiore, the piazza of Ascona is one of the most breathtaking lakefronts in Europe. With its excellent restaurants, numerous art galleries and elegant boutiques, Ascona is a celebration of luxury and breathtaking beauty.
It was the beginning of autumn 2015. The hassle of summer tourism and extremely humid days were well behind us.
I met them at the restaurant of 7easy on Ascona’s picturesque piazza, an in-place of Italian and Swiss fusion. It was too late for breakfast and too early for lunch and the usually most crowded place in town was calmly empty.
I was having my daily late macchiato while Chilli Boy, our Golden Retriever, was patiently munching a piece of buttery croissant on the floor.
They were sitting at the very end of a long table next to the window and seemed quite surprised when I answered my phone call in English. They did not look like the typical German tourists and I gathered they were English. Every autumn Ascona hosts the well-known Settimane Musicali di Ascona, a festival of classic music, which attracts many classical music lovers from Great Britain – a definitely different crowd from the usual summer visitors.
It took them some time to summon their courage and start a conversation that lasted long after lunch and ended with an invitation to dinner at my house.
Some encounters in life start as a coup de foudre–love at first sight–and end up shortly after.
My encounter with my best American friends from the Swamp was indeed a spontaneous coup, but has since been crafted by a blue print of true friendship, a source of joy that found me after a sad summer of mourning over Ira, our Irish Setter, who passed in the beginning of 2015.
They visited me several times after that, and each time we realized how many values we shared and cherished.
Five years later we are embarking together on that new journey.