You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.
Over the Simplon Pass, 28 February 2018
In the Villa Puccini in Venegono Superiore, Lombardy, a veritable museum of violin-making. Our amiable host is a grandson of the in-violin-making-circles legendary violin maker Leandro Bisiach of Milan.
We're packing up for our 3 or 4 hour journey home over the Simplon Pass, if the weather holds, and sorry to leave Lombardy on a cold but sunny day.
The neighborhood -- Leandro Bisiach's four sons, who continued in the trade in the early-to-mid 20th century, had villas here in the family enclave, we're told.
Trying out a priceless Bisiach violin, which revives the genuine post-Cremonese sound and look of a Stradivarius. Or something.
Such a fine violin would almost be worth trying to learn to play the violin.
Unless that's a viola.
Letters from Puccini and other musical luminaries from the time
And a page of an original Mozart score
Over the Simplon Pass to Switzerland
Approaching Iselle, Italy, near where travelers can, if they wish, load their cars onto trains that will convey them through the tunnel down to Brig on the Swiss side of the Valaisan Alps.
Beautiful downtown Iselle
Iselle is the venue of the Italian customs checkpoint, but we're going the other way.
Melvin the Doge has grown doubtful about our route-finding and insists on doublechecking everything.
At the far side of that building, we're leaving the EU.
And continuing towards Gondo . . .
. . . home of the Swiss customs checkpoint, where, of course, we will stop and report, if anyone's there.
Melvin has been suitably vigilant, but is nodding off.
Melvin is lightly snoring now. Susurrating.
Up to the Simplon Pass, at 2,005m altitude -- that's the Hotel Monte-Leone.
And over to the Swiss side -- the weather has held much better than predicted.
The Ganterbrücke, the bridge over the Ganter valley, 150m high, completed in 1980
The town of Brig below, in the Rhône valley, an hour from home