Switzerland, the Beautiful

My intensive Italian class ended yesterday, so I now have time for a breath of fresh air. And fresh air I had Friday after class. Some friends and I took a series of trains and buses from Bologna up across the Italian-Swiss border into Brissago, Switzerland for the weekend.

IMG_5091When I think of Lago Maggiore, it’s easy to describe it in superlatives: incredible, unrivaled beauty, unlike anything else. We had a bit of free time in Pallanza, Italy before crossing the border into Brissago and got to enjoy the lake and its stunning views for a while. The water is this deep but clear blue, mountains poke up along the perimeter of the lake, and clouds float in and out right above the water. After our quick detour, we continued onto Brissago, crossing the Swiss border by bus at night (which felt particularly poetic).

Brissago is a pretty sleepy and tranquil town. There didn’t seem to be many tourists around which was nice, and the feeling I got from the lake in general was that it hadn’t been overrun by tourist restaurants and souvenir shops, so its quietude added to the feeling of natural beauty. We brought a little picnic (with some extremely stinky cheese) down to these rocks by the water and ate before jumping in. The water was freezing but felt really refreshing and clean.  We sat for a while afterwards to dry off and enjoy the view. There aren’t many motorboats on the water but there were several sailboats which added to the serenity of it all.  IMG_5181My posts are usually about active sightseeing, finding interesting, quirky, and adventurous things to do in a city, packing as much into a weekend visit or day trip as you can. But this weekend was just purely relaxing and beautiful. I felt like I was in the setting of a James Bond movie with its extreme picturesqueness. This is definitely a place to add to your travel to-do list, and it’s already on my list of places to return to. So, if you ever find yourself in Brissago, relax and soak it in. Between the lake, mountains, and palm trees, it’s hard to do anything else. IMG_5184


N.B.: If you go, keep in mind that Switzerland is not part of the EU and has its own currency, the Swiss Franc. You can easily withdraw francs from an ATM in town.


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