Daily Archives: August 9, 2009

Day 7: Wordsworth Alpine Adventure

“And Como! thou, a treasure whom the earth / Keeps to herself, confined as in a depth / Of Abyssinian privacy, I spake / Of thee, thy chestnut woods, and garden plots / Of Indian corn tended by dark-eyed maids…” –William Wordsworth, in The Prelude

William Wordsworth told his sister Dorothy in a letter that he and Robert Jones often traveled between twenty and thirty miles on foot each day during the European journey they took in 1790. Sometimes more. He wasn’t lying. As I researched their route, I became scared by this fact because I knew that I would try to do the same. They were hot-footing it through the Alps, and I didn’t know if I’d be able to keep up.

Locarno Train Station

I couldn’t. Once I crossed the Italian border, I’d mostly abandoned my dreams of walking the entire distance that Wordsworth and Jones had, mostly because footpaths have disappeared and superhighways have been paved in their place sometime within the past two hundred years. After the late night out in Locarno, I had no choice but to take a train or bus to Como, my final destination for this portion of the journey. The train proved to be the best option.

Italian Train

The Italian trains have a retro-cool appeal, don’t they? Although I had spent the previous day traveling by bus and boat to Locarno, this day’s train ride to Como was much more simple. However, I showed up in Como in the muggy summer heat—temperature was around 90-degrees Fahrenheit—and didn’t know where I would stay the night.

Del Duca

My accommodation search took much longer than the train ride, but I settled on a super-tiny room in the Albergio Del Duca, which overlooks the brilliant Del Duca piazza. This day turned into one of those days on which the reality of travel can’t possibly keep up with the dream of it. I simply had to take a nap and then write in my journal and go out for pizza. It seemed like Wordsworth and Jones didn’t have a day like this in their fourteen-week adventure, but I needed to rest if I were to continue walking the following (and final) day…

Note: this post is one in a series of posts about my recent attempt to retrace William Wordsworth’s footsteps from Chamonix, France to Como, Italy on the walking holiday the poet took with his friend Robert Jones in 1790.

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