Wednesday, July 2nd:
I was very excited to finally be visiting Switzerland!! I had all those Heidi memories and now I would be making some new memories of my own!
Locarno is located in the Italian speaking canton of Ticino, Switzerland on Lake Maggiore. A canton is sort of like a state in the US. When planning my trip, I wanted to stay in an Italian speaking canton before moving on to German speaking cantons, both for the language and for the food. I went back and forth between staying in Locarno or Lugano. I don’t remember why, but I ended up choosing Locarno.
The Italian was different than in Italy (at least to my ears) and the food was not as “Italian” but it was still good, better than the food in Mürren. The biggest difference I found out once I arrived in Switzerland was that everything was much more expensive in Switzerland!
This very informative link from my Locarno hotel website – Ticino Top Ten – provides great info on the area and also has much better photos than mine. It also has many more photos than I took of both Locarno and Ascona, as well as many other places in the Ticino region of Switzerland.
After arriving by boat to the town of Como (Italy), I have no memory of what I did next. I assume I took a taxi to the train station. I know I took a train to Locarno. Looking at train info today, travel by train from Como to Locarno requires at least one train change. Everything must have gone smoothly or I would have made a note of my train travel.
The train station in Locarno was very orderly. There were clocks everywhere as well as ramps that connected the various train tracks together. No more lugging my bag up and down stairs! Everyone was very friendly and helpful at this train station.
I had a reservation at Hotel Garni du Lac. I booked a room with a view. It was a nice hotel with a lovely view from my room.
After unpacking, I headed out to explore the town of Locarno. The buildings in the historic center were colorful. There were clocks everywhere. I visited a huge supermarket. It had two floors. There were aisles and aisles of chocolates, cookies, and yogurts!
I went for a walk along the beautiful lake. The mountains reminded me of Hawaii. I was surprised to see palm trees in Locarno! It seemed to be a very family friendly town. There was a big air trampoline set up with kids having fun. I don’t have any notes about my dinner. That evening there was a big storm.
I wrote a quick email from a smoky (as in cigarette smell) internet place noting how the keyboards in Switzerland were much more difficult to type on than they were in Italy. Many of the letters were located in different places, especially the “z” & “y” keys. I guess I needed to use the letter “z” a lot for Switzerland and surprisingly the letter “y” is in a lot of words.
Photos from my first day in Locarno… The photo of the buildings (which is either of Piazza Grande or part of the old town/historic center) is not a very good photo. For some reason unknown to me now, I only took one photo of the buildings in Locarno. It might have been that I was concerned that I would run out of space on my compact flash cards (ancient technology today!). I believe the last two photos are views from my hotel room.
The 15th-century sanctuary is located above Locarno in Orselina. It was built on top of a rock. It is one of the most important religious and historical sites in the canton of Ticino. It was definitely worth the hike!
Once back in Locarno, I visited a few shops and then went to the Castello Visconteo, which is located at the edge of the old town. The Castello Visconteo is a castle dating back to the 12th of 13th century. The castle was built by expanding a previous fort with origins back to 998. It is now an archeological museum. The museum houses a collection of amazing Roman glasses excavated in Ticino.
Later in the afternoon, I took the bus to Ascona. I have info on Ascona in my 2003 trip folder on my computer, so I must have been planning to visit Ascona while in Locarno. I did not know ahead of time though that the famous Ascona Jazz Festival was taking place while I was there. Ascona was a cute little town. Here are my photos from Ascona…
I don’t have any more info on my stay in Locarno & no memories about meals. I did enjoy my visit to Locarno. Once again, it was too short. If planning my trip today, I would have stay longer in Locarno or perhaps even stay in Ascona.
Next up – 3 nights in Mürren