M C Escher was here.
Today we travelled from Lucerne to Locarno; from German to Italian; from Heidi chalets to stone villas - all very bizarre within the same country. The trip itself was a bit overcast which was a bit irritating.
Locarno was the one place where there was a bit of a hiccup with the hotel. It was clear we were not expected, but we'd the necessary paperwork so nothing was actually said, other than our room would be ready later; which it was.
In Geneva, Interlaken and Lucerne it had been very much the case that the vast majority were multilingual in some way or other, and often English was commonly a 'neutral' compromise between the local languages, espcially in notices etc.. In Locarno it seems that not even the other Swiss languages were very common, even among tourist-facing staff. There was much waving and pointing.
Passing the time before our room was ready we went in search of the local castle, Castello Visconteo, especially as our pass would get us in free on a 'travelling day'. (PS. the daftness of such an arrangement has not passed us by.)
The castle was manned by one lacklustre gent who was clearly not interested in tourists. After some arm waving we got in, and after some pointing we got in the right door.
It was a curious place with labyrinthine passages everywhere. I'm sure we must have passed through a couple of portals; there were just too many rooms to fit inside the building, and they all came off this stairway. I think.
It was curious in another way: the lack of care of the place. If this place was in the UK there'd be stewards around and barriers to prevent you carving your name into the history - something that seemed commonplace - and historic artefacts wouldn't be left open to the ravages of the elements and children.
On the plus side, I'd never have been able to photograph some utterly amazing Roman glassware in the UK. (These, at least, were under covers).
Echoing the earlier language comment, absolutely none of the signs or descriptions were in anything other than Italian. Clearly tourists were not expected.
The real irony was that the remaining medieval wall art and calligraphy was German!
Back at the hotel our room was ready and we settled in. For simplicity we ate in the hotel that evening. The waiter, who spoke only Italian, was a great flamboyant character (in contrast to the rather dour other staff) and with much pointing, waving and shrugs we managed well.