Monday, March 30, 2009
Weekend in Locarno
I think Locarno is my new favorite Swiss city. This is quite an accomplishment for the "sunniest place in Switzerland", since the entire two days I was there it rained non-stop.
But still. I loved the camellias that covered the town. And even if this year's Camellia Festival was a bit soggy, it was in a beautiful setting at the Camellia Park, right on Lake Maggiore.
There's something so refreshing about the Italian section of Switzerland. Palm trees. The Italian language. The bright rose, yellow, and orange buildings. I need to spend more time there. I wish it was a little closer. It's a little bit far (over 3 hours away by train) for a day trip.
Another highlight of Locarno was the Madonna del Sasso, a bright yellow church on a cliff, which is accessible by a funicular. I recommend taking the funicular up (about SFr 4,50) and then walking down. The hike down is a bit steep, but it comes complete with a waterfall, the church--which you can walk inside-no charge, and palm trees and other Mediterranean plants. And thanks to the rain, I almost felt like I was walking through a tropical rain forest.
A few other tips:
Ristorante la Fiorentina, in the old town (Via St. Antonio 10), is a great place for a dinner. It comes complete with a view of a courtyard filled with palms trees, camellia plants, and colorful Italian-style buildings. Excellent lasagne and chocolate mousse.
Alexandra Hotel (Via San Gottardo 43). The hotel is located in a bright pink Italian mansion. High ceilings, comfortable beds, wooden floors. Nice breakfast. Friendly, English-speaking reception. They also rent bikes for SFr 15 a day. It's about 500 m from the train station, slightly away from the touristy areas, but by no means that far. Bus #1 will take you there. Get off at "Sociale".