Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Ticino Adventure

Ticino is the canton located in the southern part of Switzerland and their language is Italian. This is our second time visiting the area, only this time, we decided to stay in the town of Locarno for 4 days.

It takes about 4 hours of driving and a 20 minutes interesting ride on a train car. This train carry all the cars heading to the other side of the pass (Instead of taking the high road up the mountain which is close during winter time). On the way, we pass the town of Andermatt before going through the St. Gotthard tunnel (this is the third longest road tunnel in the world ). It runs from the north to Airolo in the south, and is just under 16.4 kilometres (10.5 miles) in length. This is our only entrance to Ticino during winter.

We arrived at our hotel in the late afternoon and the beautiful weather right away welcomes us . The hotel is superb (exceeds my expectation). After settling in, we took a short stroll along the quai and getting acquainted to it's surroundings and sights.

The following day, we decided to visit the town of Ascona and it's nearby town. Ascona lies in a spectacular sunny bay on Lake Maggiore. It’s one of the best loved and most exclusive tourist destinations in Switzerland. Then we drove up to the town of Ronco where one can check the vista point to have one of the best view of Lago Maggiore and the Brissago Islands. The end of the day was a short adventure of finding a "Grotto". Nothing is more typical for life in Ticino than the grottoes, simple taverns in quiet hideaway places, well in the shade of trees. They usually consist of a kitchen and a generous garden with solid granite tables and benches, where everybody sits in the coolness of the trees, drinking and eating the products of the local cuisine (such as the famous Polenta and Risotto ala Ticinese). It was so good!

The third day brought us to the center old town of Locarno. The "piazza grande" is where they hold the international film festival each year. There was a festival of Camilla in their park where various colors of Camillas were displayed. We checked the tourism office for some other interesting sights and places to see. We found the place we fancied, the Valle Versazca. The rest of the afternoon was an excursion going up the valley where the river runs wild with it's magnificient beauty. It was extremely spectacular.

Our last day was visiting the town of Bellinzone aka Bellinzona (The capital town of Ticino) before heading our way back to Vevey. It is a beautiful town with three castles. They said that it was its unique geographical position which made Bellinzona as the "key to the Alps" from the sourthern people (like Italy...) and from the north as the "key to Italy". Today, there are so much charm and beauty as you stroll the town. You can feel the old and rich history with each sights you see.

There you go...our travel report for this month. Until next time.
If you would like to see more photos from our trip, you may visit my family online gallery.

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