From Verona we travelled to Lake Maggiore, which is right on the border of Italy and Switzerland. We arrived late in the afternoon and as we neared Lake Maggiore, the temperature dropped and the rain began to pour, signifying that the beautiful Autumn months were almost at an end and Winter would be rearing it’s chilly head soon. But the downpour could not dampen our spirits when we arrived at our hotel, which was situated right on the banks of the lake. We were staying at Hotel Splendid, and I am sure than any other name would not have been fitting, as it really was Splendid. It was far nicer than anything I have ever stayed at before and lucky for us we were staying for two nights. This was a particular luxury as we were constantly moving from hotel to hotel, so it was nice not to have our bags ready to go every morning for a change.
The following morning, we drove all the way around the lake – which took quite a while as it is very long, across the border and into Switzerland. We stopped on the way there to take a photo of Lugano in the distance with the mountains behind, which had been freshly dusted with snow overnight. Apparently it was the first snow of the season which was pretty special. We arrived at the city of Lugano not long after, and all went off on our own to look around the city. The first thing I noticed, was the copious numbers of banks. Literally everywhere I looked, there was a bank. This explains why everyone can have a Swiss bank account, as there are definitely going to be enough account numbers to go around! Aside from that, the city was quite pretty but there wasn’t a whole lot to it. There was a great shopping complex (similar to Myer or David Jones in Australia) that had lots of levels and the most amazing food court I’ve ever been to. There were different food stations dotted around where you could get just about anything you wanted – fresh bread, pasta, salad, soup. You could could even go over to a counter and select a piece of fresh meat to have cooked for you right on the spot. I was very impressed. I had a delicious gnocchi with a tomato sauce and a teeny little bottle of wine (which was about a glass and a half). It was great. Then we went and bought some roasted chestnuts from a man selling them on the street, sat in the sunshine and snacked on them as were buffeted by the wind off the lake. My ears were very cold by the time we were done. Then we strolled around and looked in some of the food shops that were around and stopped into a chocolate store to grab a little bag of chocolate to take home for my boyfriend (it didn’t last long once it was back in Australia).
After a couple of hours in Lugano, we hopped back on the bus and headed towards Lake Como. Mum and I were really excited to do a boat tour of the lake and see the houses of the rich and famous. Unfortunately for us, it was an optional tour to be booked on the day and they needed a minimum number of people to do it. Sadly, more people didn’t want to do it than did and we didn’t get to go. Which was even more disappointing in the fact that when we arrived in Como, most of the shops were closed for siesta in the afternoon, so there wasn’t really a lot to look at. There were lots of shops there that sold some really beautiful clothes and accessories which we missed out on. So our little jaunt to Como was a disappointing to say the least and turned out to be a waste of an hour when we could have been on a boat stalking George Clooney. But I guess I’ll just have to add that to the list of places to return to. I did see this really lovely church though:
After a long day of sightseeing, it was great to get back to our beautiful hotel and flop into bed. I was just about over my flu by this stage, although I suspected a windy day by the lake in Lugano hadn’t done me much good. After dinner I went to bed nice and early to get as much rest as possible, as the following day we would be heading back towards Rome, stopping in Milan (very) briefly, then arriving in Siena where we due to stay for a couple of nights. I couldn’t wait to get back to slightly warmer climes!