Whenever we travelled on the SPT C10 or C20 bus along the side of the lake, we always sat as close to the front as possible. It’s the best place to ‘enjoy’ a journey that’s as much tourist attraction as transportation.
You see, these buses don’t always run right next to the lake. The C20 follows a ‘panoramic’, high-level route, while the C10 alternates between following the lakeside and climbing up into the hills. Both wind their way around bends on the kind of road that has a mountain face on one side and a sheer drop on the other.
As the saying goes, people who like this kind of thing will definitely find this the kind of thing they like. I looked straight ahead and gripped the seat once or twice. But I also got off the bus feeling braver than when I got on.
I should add that we didn’t sit in the very first row, because that seemed to carry the responsibility of engaging the driver in conversation. We labeled it the ‘parlare’ seat and left it for speakers of Italian.
At Argegno, the C20 turns away from the lake and heads into Val d’ Intelvi and the C10 continues on its way to the Northern end of the lake. Between Argegno and Menaggio the narrow road passes through centuries old town centres. There are often only centimetres to spare between the bus and the walls of the historic buildings. As the bus squeezes through the gap, you can’t help wondering if the owners inside realise how close they came to sharing their dinner with the wing mirror of a bus and that nice couple from Manchester.
Of course, leaving such a big gap between the bus and the wall means there’s only a small one on the other side between the bus and the oncoming lorry in the other lane. This enables the drivers to exchange pleasantries as they pass. And if the way becomes blocked, it’s usually those two who direct the other road users and get traffic moving again.
The [post=84] video clip shows the sort of situations the bus drivers face on a daily basis, and how well they deal with them.