Monte Bigorio to Morcote
As during the previous two days, today starts with a hefty descent as well. Via an initially steep and rocky one, which is followed by a more shallow descent, I make my way towards Lugano. The sole of my feet are hurting a bit. The rocky Ticinesi trails have taken their toll. So I don't mind the road walk through Lugano and its suburbs, where the trail is not marked. I navigate by phone even though the way is quite obvious. Down to Lago di Lugano, then along the busy Promenade towards San Salvatore, Switzerland's version of the Sugarloaf, towering on the other side of the city.
The 800 meter steep climb in the noon heat is daunting. I take it slow. Sweat is dripping down. Never would I have imagined my body was able to sweat this much.
There were hardly any people stupid enough to do the hike up there. Yet, there is a heavily tattooed girl climbing it as well and we get into a refreshing conversation once we both took the wrong turn at an intersection. Turns out she's a Kiwi stripper, who got bored with New Zealand and thus moved to the UK. Obviously, I have to object to the "boring" part but she only shrugs and replies she might return once she's old. She asks me why the Swiss are so slow walkers. I say I have no clue but agree that we are indeed slow walkers. I also have to pass on the question, which city she can earn the most money with stripping. The questions keep coming until we reach the top of San Salvatore, where we say goodbye as she continues and I, as a slow Swiss, am enjoying the spectacular panorama from the top, which is reachable by cable car as well. I expected it to be crowded but luckily I am wrong. I have the observation tower all to myself.
Once I have soaked up the views, I continue along the ridge, passing through two lovely villages. I bump into the stripper again. Seems like she's not that fast of a walker at last. While she is staying, I continue along the shallow ridge, through a botanical garden and into the forest again. When only a short but steep descent is parting me from Morcote, and I spot the sand colored roofs, I start to realize how close I actually am to my goal of this summer's section. This makes me feel a bit overwhelmed. The well know being-torn-between-happy-and-sad-feeling. Sad that my wonderful time on the trail is over, happy to enjoy the amenities of the "normal" life. Proper food, more shade, a real bed,... But my hike is not over just yet. The last kilometer I descend via a steep stair, making me feel each and every muscle on my feet and legs. I look down at the emerald green Lago di Lugano. Knowing that I will be swimming in it in less than 15 minutes gives me a last energy boost.
After a quick stroll through the picturesque Morcote, I find a spot on the lake, taking off my shirt and jump in. I feel like a red-hot fire poker dipped into the water. It feels great. However, with a water temperature of 28 degrees Celsius it takes me a while to cool down. Doesn't matter. I've got 2 hours until my boat departs back towards Lugano.
I thoroughly enjoy my time on the lake. The happy-to-have-finished-feeling is now the prevailing one. Eventually, I make my way to the jetty. I feel like a "normal" person in a clean, good smelling set of clothes that I have been carrying across Switzerland.
At the busy jetty, the official ending or starting point of E1, I am looking for any kind of plaque honoring this fact. But there's none. Not even a sticker. Oh well, maybe I need to hike across the country again and take some stickers with me.
The boat leaves more or less on time. To my left, I see Morcote slowly getting smaller and smaller. On my right I see Porto Ceresio. The starting point of E1 in Italy. But that's for another time. Now all I am looking forward to is an air-conditioned train carriage taking me back home.