As Ian insinuated in the Paris Post, what was originally meant to be one big trip to northern Italy, quickly turned into a mini European tour of multiple countries. Haha! How exactly did this happen? Shortly after beginning our initial Italy research, we realized just how easy it would be to get from one European country to another. Now, I am the kind of person that loves to just stay put and settle in somewhere. But Ian specializes in getting me out of my comfort zone lol. So, long story short, he convinced me it would be worthwhile to spend a night in Switzerland—but let me backtrack a little!
After our three days in Paris, we took a plane to Milan. We had discussed taking a seven-hour train ride through the French Alps instead, but for the same amount of money (approximately $30) and five hours less, we could fly instead. While this may end up being the decision we regret for the rest of our lives, it just seemed easier to me for multiple reasons (transporting all of our luggage, coordinating our rental car pick-up, more time in Paris, more daylight for driving once we arrived in Milan, etc.). After swapping out cash and SIM cards, and retrieving our rental car in Milan, we were driving north to our hotel in Serpiano, Switzerland!
The first thing we learned about driving in Italy was that it is the home of the roundabout! Seriously, there were dozens of roundabouts on this particular route, and the signs were impossible to read at the speed in which we were traveling. Did I mention we were navigating with just paper directions I had printed at home? Ian’s SIM card hadn’t activated yet and we were losing daylight, so we just decided to wing it. Thirty minutes in, we thought we’d made a wrong turn and decided to pull over and wait for the SIM card to kick-in and use Goggle Maps. Turns out, we didn’t make a wrong turn, but we were still relieved to have turn-by-turn navigation, as the sun was now setting!
After winding our way through roundabouts and hills and streets that are too narrow to be streets, we arrived at our hotel just before dark. The hotel was strange, you guys. The room was great and the view was breathtaking, but the hotel was like a massive compound of sorts—last updated in the 70’s. It was kind of in the middle of nowhere; overlooking Lake Lugano, and it had EVERYTHING in the hotel. Including normal hotel things like: spa, pool, and restaurant. But also, abnormal hotel things like: library, yoga studio, doll shop, tanning bed, BMX park, etc. Sure people may like the convenience of having everything in one place, but to me it felt like I was living in the barracks on an episode of LOST.
However, the next morning we did wake up to the glory of a beautiful, sunny Swiss day in which we quickly decided to take advantage of the complimentary hotel bikes! Being able to explore the hotel grounds by bicycle was an unexpected treat, as riding bikes while traveling is our thing.
After our bike ride, we checked out early and headed down the hill in search of Lugano. We parked near the waterfront, and walked until we found lunch. The weather could not have been more perfect, so we prioritized dining al fresca (outside). Ian ordered pizza and I ordered pasta, and we chatted with the couple sitting next to us about how beautiful the world is.
We were soon to leave Switzerland and had yet to do anything cliché like milk goats or yodel on a hillside or something, and since we were now in the city center, we settled for shopping for chocolate instead. Who knew dark chocolate and white chocolate Toblerone existed?!
That pretty much sums up our time in Switzerland! It was a brief visit that left me wanting more… It felt very clean and fresh and nature-y. But we were eager to get out of there solely because our next stop was Cinque Terre! Can’t wait to tell you all about our three days there!