One morning I took the ferry to Stresa. It was a long trip as the ferry stopped at all the little villages along the way. Isola Superiore dei Pescatore, Isola Madre, Isola Bella, Baveno, Verbania, to name a few – each with its own beauty. As we neared each village a crew member from the ferry would go through the process of docking and extending a metal ramp so that passengers could exit and board. The ramp would then be pulled in the rope untied and off we would go.
I watched this, and after a few stops, couldn’t help but notice how happy each crew member appeared to be, doing this repetitive job – day in, day out. The employees waiting at each dock to help with the process seemed to be the same way. They laughed, they joked – so proud and so well groomed in their uniforms. Certainly they have stress at work – possibly at home, I thought, but it was not at all apparent. Therein, I believe, lies a nuance of difference from Americans – they truly seemed happy, just like the workers on the ferry in Como singing after a long day of hard work as they made their way home to their small villages.
Stresa seemed much bigger than I had thought and I spent a couple of hours exploring shops and wandering around. After lunch, I headed back to the ferry for the return trip to Cannero Riviera. While waiting, one of the crew members from my trip over approached me and asked me where I was from, he introduced himself as Giulio and wanted to show me, on a posted map, where he was from. He spoke little English and I spoke little Italian, but we managed. When I told him “Arizona” in the United States, he told me he did not know this place. His crew members had boarded the ferry to take a different route back and he made certain I knew the correct line to be in to board the correct ferry, and asked one of the workers to look after me. Soon, his ship mates sounded a horn from the ship, telling him they had to leave. It was all very sweet.
As the ferry pulled away, my new found friend waved back to me until the ferry turned to head back, and I could no longer see him. It was all very sweet. I later boarded my ferry and made the long journey back to Cannero Riviera; to my hotel where I enjoyed a nice glass of Prosecco before dinner.