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Sunday, 4 May 2008

Cannobio's Sunday market

Thirty-five degrees at 2pm and sunny. The children have today gone into short sleeves.

This morning we made a mistake that we inexplicably often make, and equally inexplicably never learn from. We forgot how much we hate Cannobio's famous Sunday market. It's the largest market at the lake, running the whole length of the lakeside walk, or lungolago. And it attracts many more visitors than Cannobio can comfortably cope with.

On holiday weekends, the entire town is to be avoided. There's a traffic jam from here to there, and when finally you do make it into town there's not a single inch in which to park. And when finally you do find a place to leave the car, the walk along the lungolago is more akin to rush hour on London's Northern Line (think canned sardines) than an enjoyable shopping experience in one of the lake's most charming and best-preserved old towns. Want to take the weight off and goggle for a while at the human tide passing by? Don't even bother trying to find a table at one of the lungolago caffe's. There won't be one for at least half an hour.

There are only two ways to do the Sunday market, if, that is, you can't live without doing it. The first is to get up horrifyingly early and be there and back before 8am. The second is to take the boat, waving in a smug kind of way at the motorists stuck in the lake-road tailback as you putt-putt along. Arriving in Cannobio, drag the boat up onto the beach (no parking problem, no parking fees) and then launch yourself into the fray like a cruise missile programmed for a surgical strike on your favourite deli stall and then beat a rapid tactical retreat back to the boat before your brain starts bubbling.

This morning, waiting (in vain) for the friends who had lured us into this seething cauldron of shopping insanity, I found myself wondering why I hated it all so much when everyone else seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Or perhaps I was wrong.

I started to look more closely at the mothers with the bawling babies, the husbands with the eternally-dawdling wives, the tourists hoping to find authentic Italy at the made-in-China handbag stalls, the dog-owners with their overheated, getting-snarly German shepherds and the pouting teenagers trailing after their parents dressed in sulky, sweaty all-over black.

Perhaps I wasn't alone after all...

2 comments:

Gypsy at Heart said...

You know, for some reason, the post didn't accomplish its goal. I still feel like I want to see, smell and taste the market. Chalk it up to foreigner adventurousness. You locals are too jaded ;-)

Louise said...

Hi! I'm actually glad that you'd still like to see Cannobio's Sunday market. I felt slightly traitorous being down on it - the market provides lots of income for the town and its innkeepers, and that means I and my family benefit in all sorts of ways, from cleaner streets, better services and lots of great facilities.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Cannobio's Sunday market

Thirty-five degrees at 2pm and sunny. The children have today gone into short sleeves.

This morning we made a mistake that we inexplicably often make, and equally inexplicably never learn from. We forgot how much we hate Cannobio's famous Sunday market. It's the largest market at the lake, running the whole length of the lakeside walk, or lungolago. And it attracts many more visitors than Cannobio can comfortably cope with.

On holiday weekends, the entire town is to be avoided. There's a traffic jam from here to there, and when finally you do make it into town there's not a single inch in which to park. And when finally you do find a place to leave the car, the walk along the lungolago is more akin to rush hour on London's Northern Line (think canned sardines) than an enjoyable shopping experience in one of the lake's most charming and best-preserved old towns. Want to take the weight off and goggle for a while at the human tide passing by? Don't even bother trying to find a table at one of the lungolago caffe's. There won't be one for at least half an hour.

There are only two ways to do the Sunday market, if, that is, you can't live without doing it. The first is to get up horrifyingly early and be there and back before 8am. The second is to take the boat, waving in a smug kind of way at the motorists stuck in the lake-road tailback as you putt-putt along. Arriving in Cannobio, drag the boat up onto the beach (no parking problem, no parking fees) and then launch yourself into the fray like a cruise missile programmed for a surgical strike on your favourite deli stall and then beat a rapid tactical retreat back to the boat before your brain starts bubbling.

This morning, waiting (in vain) for the friends who had lured us into this seething cauldron of shopping insanity, I found myself wondering why I hated it all so much when everyone else seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Or perhaps I was wrong.

I started to look more closely at the mothers with the bawling babies, the husbands with the eternally-dawdling wives, the tourists hoping to find authentic Italy at the made-in-China handbag stalls, the dog-owners with their overheated, getting-snarly German shepherds and the pouting teenagers trailing after their parents dressed in sulky, sweaty all-over black.

Perhaps I wasn't alone after all...

2 comments:

Gypsy at Heart said...

You know, for some reason, the post didn't accomplish its goal. I still feel like I want to see, smell and taste the market. Chalk it up to foreigner adventurousness. You locals are too jaded ;-)

Louise said...

Hi! I'm actually glad that you'd still like to see Cannobio's Sunday market. I felt slightly traitorous being down on it - the market provides lots of income for the town and its innkeepers, and that means I and my family benefit in all sorts of ways, from cleaner streets, better services and lots of great facilities.