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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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

46.0036778, 8.951052

Monday 16. [16 March 1896] Excellent breakfast at Bale [Basel
(Basle)]. Past Lucerne [Luzern] and over the St Gothard [St Gotthard].
Switzerland was looking wonderfully lovely; lots of snow over the
pass; avalanches right over the roads. Brilliant sun; the fields of snow
dazzlingly bright. Reached Gˆschenen at 12 and lunched. I went to
sleep after the tunnel and didn't wake until Bellinzona. That valley
leading down to L. Maggiore is too lovely. The flat plain between the
mountains was green with young grass, the willows were all green, the
peach trees in full flower - all the rest winter, grey trees, grim
mountains, snow peaks. But the fields were thick with primroses and
anemones. Exquisite journey all the way to Lugano, which we
reached at 3.15. Wonderful view down onto the lake, the water all
misty and full of the vague great shadows of the mountains, the
campaniles of the town between us and the lake. Our hotel is the
Hotel du Parc down on the water's edge. Next door to us is the church
Sta Maria degle Angeli with the Luini frescoes. The great crucifixion
faces you as you come in - jumps at you. One's first impression of it is
that it is too crowded, the simplicity of the crucifixion group is spoilt by
all the other episodes of the Passion in a second plain behind. But
the group of soldiers and centurions, apostles and women at the foot
of the cross is very fine, and the three crosses tower above all with a
magnificent composititon of flying angels round the head of the Christ
which balances the crowded foreground below. At one side a little
chapel covered with the ghosts of Luinis dropping from the wall - 2
Virgins heads bent over the child are still distinguishable. In another
chapel a very exquisite Madonna with St John on one side of her and
the Child with a lamb on the other - very Leonardo-ish. This came
from our inn which was a monastery as also fragments of a Last
Supper which look as though they must have made a fine picture.
Papa went back to the hotel and I climbed along terraced vineyards
thick with primroses, violets, anemones and the helebore I found in
the Carpathians and up a little wooded hillside where I had a beautiful
view of the lake swimming in shadow and mist and looking as though
it hung suspended between its rocks. Table d'hote, early to bed.

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