LUGANO, Switzerland, (a few years ago) – The large hotel dining room was in the old-fashioned Swiss style. Discreet lighting, simple and elegant decor. Looking out of the windows, to my right, a beautiful view of the Lake of Lugano at dusk.
As I took my seat, I noticed that the place was not crowded. Only a few people here and there, talking quietly, in low voices at their tables. The tablecloths were white and perfectly starched. The silverware, 1920s design, was shining and neatly arranged. With pleasure I observed the whole scene.
A middle-aged waiter came to my table and expertly lit my candle. With the understated, reserved smile of the consummate professional of a really old school he greeted me and politely inquired about anything I might wish to drink. In response to my uncertainty he proposed a local Ticino red wine. I gladly accepted his advice.
Upon ordering my meal, I looked outside at the dark mass of the lake and at the lights on the other shore, and then again at the dining room where I was.
Silence, just slightly interrupted by the discreet movements of the staff moving about and by the barely audible conversations from the other tables.
All was quiet, and beautiful, and simply elegant.