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Stresa, Italia...

Why Stresa? On the two occasions I went to Italy from Switzerland by train, I would always pass this small village by Lake Maggiore upon arriving in Italy and was struck by its beauty. Well this time, it was my destination...

sunny 30 °C

Why Stresa? On the two occasions I went to Italy from Switzerland by train, I would always pass this small village by Lake Maggiore upon arriving in Italy and was struck by its beauty. Well this time, it was my destination...

But first, something that hit me about Switzerland. Four years ago, you never saw policemen at the train stations in Switzerland. Switzerland to me remains the place where you can forget your luggage on the quay at the train station and it will still be there hours later with nobody dreaming of stealing it. Perhaps no longer? This year, there are police at every major and medium train station that I saw in the French speaking part of Switzerland which surprises me.

On the morning of my trip, I was leaving Allaman by train with 8 minutes to make a connection in Lausanne for my train to Stresa. I was a little worried when my first train arrived 4 minutes late which is basically unheard of in Switzerland. As I boarded the train, I noticed right next to my seat that there were 4 guys acting a little oddly... Sure enough, on the ride from Allaman to Lausanne, the controller wanted their tickets. The only one of the 4 awake claimed that his "sleeping" buddy had the ticket. The controller asked the guy to wake his buddy, but the buddy wouldn't wake up. The controller said he'd pass back in a little while.

Arriving into Morges a few minutes later, I noticed the controller get off the train, walk up to the police officers stationed there and they boarded the train. The police then asked the awakened of the 4 to get off the train and they then proceeded to "wake up" the other 3. They were then taken off the train and search and questioned there. Tick-tock... My 4 minutes left of time to catch my next train was vanishing when an annoucement said that the train would remain another 5 minutes in Morges due to a police operation. I could see the policemen searching the 4, none of which had a ticket. They had been feigning sleep to avoid having to buy a ticket... Anyhow, I was a little worried I'd miss my connection when an announcement asked all passengers for Milano Centrale (which stops in Stresa) to get off and catch the train on the opposite track that was leaving immediately. Phew! Made it to Lausanne in time to catch my train.

As for Stresa... It has been a tourist destinations for over a century and was a vacation destination for aristocrats for several centuries due to its beauty. Other than the lake and the mountains, there are also three tiny islands with buildings on them which add to the intrigue of the area:
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Anyhow, I spent three days visiting the area, hiking (down) from Mottarone and visiting Isola Bella and Isola Superiore and enjoying italian food, in particular taglione con porcini e crema tartufo and of course, lots and lots of gelati (though surprisingly, it took me 11 hours in a hot and sunny 30C day to make the association of hot-Italy-gelati... Obviously, I caught up big time on the second day... Best flavours were pana cotta and amarena).

Two of the three islands (Isola Bella and Isola Madre) are owned by Borromeo family of which I visited only the first that has a beautiful palace and terraced (10) italian gardens. I also spent time on Isola Superiore (Isola dei pescatori) or the fisherman's island which used to be a fishing village but at this point is mostly a tourist destination.

Here are the pictures:
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I enjoyed my brief stay in Italy immensely.

Posted by CVMB2010 02:01 Archived in Italy Tagged tourist_sites

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