The road to Chiavenna through the Swiss Alps would be considered perilous by most, but with the locals passing us on the tight winding corners, I begin to think otherwise. On the Italian side of the Alps, Chiavenna is nestled in the valley below St. Moritz, down a road that zigs more times than it zags. With steeply tiered vineyards and caves to age their cheeses, a river rushes right through the heart of the city, a vibrant glacial blue.
Chiavenna. She took my breath away. I walked her streets in awe. Like a tired child, she was tucked in for a siesta, the narrow cobblestone streets deserted except for the odd man or woman ambling along. Chilled by the cold air, I ducked into the only store I saw open. An older man called out “Bonjourno!” from the back, greeting me with a warm smile. After only a moment, he was ushering me to the grappa, warming my stomach with samples from various local varieties. After tasting some of his homemade cheeses and salamis, he showed me another prized possession: a photo of George Clooney standing beside him outside his shop. Although I speak little to no Italian, it made no difference with this form of communication; a simple smile was all it took to show my appreication and delight at the friendly exchange.