|View of Monte San Salvatore from Parco Civico|
One thing I failed to mention in my last post was how Mom and Jim were super impressed with the precision of Swiss train schedules. We switched trains exactly eight times going from Au to Morteratsch to Lugano, sometimes with only a few minutes between each transfer, and made it on time to each train, always departing exactly on schedule. This blew them away. Still, they were about to be blown away even more by the differences between Italian-Switzerland and German-Switzerland.
First, the weather was completely different. The sun was out, and not a rain drop was in sight. Additionally, the region had an entirely different feel to it. Except for the timely train that delivered us to Lugano main station and the only-a-few-minutes-late bus to our hotel in Lugano-Paradiso (as opposed to no bus schedule at all), everything around us seemed to imply that we had crossed the border into Italy. We dined on fantastic pizza, ate awesome Italian cookies from the pasticceria next to our hotel, strolled along the lakeside promenade, savored gelato artigianale (homemade), napped in the Parco Civico, and generally had a relaxing Sunday. After nearly two years here, it still amazes me that such completely different regions can be joined under that same flag.
Ticino is the one place in Switzerland that calls us back time and again. Our first time in the region, we spent a rainy weekend at a chocolate festival in Lugano, but rain certainly didn't stop us from wanting more of Italian-Switzerland. We went back to Ticino to camp near Locarno twice last summer. So when I learned that the Bernina Express offers a bus route out of Lugano, I quickly booked our seats, thrilled to be able to give Lugano another chance. Since it rained the entire time we were there last year, I had no idea Lugano had such a lovely lakeside promenade or spectacular lake views from atop Monte San Salvatore.
From Lugano-Paradiso, you can catch a fifteen-minute funicular ride up to the top of Monte San Salvatore for 360-degree views of Lake Lugano or for the start of some beautiful hikes. Sadly, we didn't get to take the hike I had read about (my bad foot and Mom's bad back = lots of resting and relaxing, which was just fine with me!), but I would love to go back someday to give it a try.
|Isaiah, Amanda, and Mom with Lake Lugano in the background|
|Views of Lugano Bay from atop Mt. San Salvatore|
|More views of Lake Lugano from Mt. San Salvatore|
|Lugano Bay and promenade|
|The art of relaxation - Mt. San Salvatore in background|
|Photo op during our walk back to Lugano-Paradiso|