Point 1 for Switzerland: No stamp in our passports. The border control guys just waved us through in a secret, "don't tell the boss but you can just go on in" kind of way. Sheesh.
Point 2: Switzerland, which I thought was part of the European Union and accepted Euros as its only currency, has in addition to the Euro, its own special currency: the Swiss Frank. Which wouldn't have been a problem except all of the parking spots we saw had meters that only accepted the Swiss Frank ($2 coin) and I didn't have any of those. And this led eventually to...
Point 3: Trish and I were so frustrated by this time that we pulled into the first non "Privato" Autosilo we saw. That happened to be, we later realized (see point 4) was for a grocery store.
Point 4: After an expensive meal (do you know what the exchange rate is for Swiss Franks? NOT GOOD!) with a cranky waitress who took 30 minutes to bring us our check, we walked back to the Autosilo where we'd parked...and to our utter HORROR, discovered that it was closed--as in "no entry, no other way in, must wait until this place opens again to get your car" CLOSED. We'd missed it by 15 minutes!
Point 5: And then, to make matters even worse, we figured out that the grocery store (and thus by extension the parking garage) would not reopen until MONDAY morning. Yes, folks, that's right: we had to wait about 36 hours until we could get the car again...that's if it hadn't been towed already....
Point 6: There wasn't a phone number anywhere to be found on or near the garage or the store front--but it wouldn't have mattered anyway because my new fancy global BlackBerry unit didn't have service, despite its fanciness. And the battery died because it takes a lot of power for the fancy phone to sit in my purse and tell time. And because my fancy phone was dead, we couldn't call our Field Relations Manager, Walter, who lives close to Milan to help us out. We were completely on our own. (Did I mention that by this time, it was 10:45pm...and we were in another country...alone...?)
Point 7--Winning Point: This point was an 'assist' by a series of unfortunate events that occurred in Milan. I will not bore you with the details of the long ordeal right now; let's just say that it took us 3 1/2 hours to get from the central train station in Milan to our hotel--a journey that by taxi took 5 minutes. This "detour" involved an eccentric old Italian man who didn't understand English, getting a personalized night tour of Milanese historic locations, "sans gluten free" bread sticks that tasted like burnt toast and rosemary, and an Obama-loving, chain-smoking teenager who ended up being a knight in a shining hoody.
Game Summary: Though Lugano was beautiful (and if you take the train tour, you'll find out from the 'Ukranian' driver that it even has its own swimming pool...), I don't think I'll be visiting there again....well, except for tomorrow morning when we go to pick up our rental car.
Good job, thank you very much, amen.