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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

Reference code
Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 entry, paper

45.4642035, 9.189982

Tuesday 23rd [23 January 1894] We reached Bale [Basel (Basle)] at 6.30. Mary met some friends, Lady Margaret Majendy and her daughter who were breakfasting there. Started off at 7 through Switzerland in a carriage to ourselves. There was a hard frost on the ground and winter takes all the colour out of Switzerland but after Lucern [Luzern (Lucerne)] we got into beautiful hilly country, lakes and snow peaks noble companies of them defiling all white and glistening past us with villages in the deep valleys and waters lapping round their feet. I was desperately tired and slept a little and thought much of you Beloved and wished for you. We lunched at Gˆschenen - "at the end of the tunnel" said B‰deker "the traveller is immediately conscious of the climate of Italy." If that be so I have been much misled, for we were conscious of a climate but it was one composed of deep snow and thick mist. The mountain tops were hidden and the chestnuts loomed out through the mists; Maggiore looked limitless and grey, and in all the villages the snow hung on the desolate bowers and in the leafless galleries of vines. At Bellinzona we found there was some mistake in our tickets and we got out in the snow, had some tea and went on to Luino where we arrived at 3.30. Our train did not leave till 6, our luggage had gone by Chiasso and stopped there! We pinned up our gowns and sallied forth in the sleet - down a narrow avenue leading along the edge of Maggiore, over a bridge and up into the little town where in spite of sleet and rain our hearts were rejoiced by the sight of yellow and pink plastered houses, green shutters and cloaked and hooded people. Luini was born here but he has left no trace. We went to a cafÈ and had chocolate - the oddest sort of brown sweet paste - and biscuits then we returned to the station were [sic] the kind officials brushed our boots, hung up our clothes to dry, telegraphed for our luggage and put us into the train. But they omitted to mention that it was not the train for Milan [Milano] and at some further place (which Mary believes to have been Novara - I don't know why) we were turned out again and told we ought to pay difference. We refused and were packed into a train which landed us at Milan at 9. There we were confronted by the chef de gare but on our still refusing to pay he let us off. We drove to the Grand Hotel de Milan, had dinner, sat and talked a little in my room before the fire and went to bed.

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