Funky Tree by the Lake
Funky Tree by the lake
Italy to Switzerland (Ascona)
We finally got to Locarno, a little bit later then planned….my cousin Victoria was there to pick us up. We were originally supposed to arrive at 7pm, however after a missed connection do to the riot in Italy (see our last post!) we didn’t actually get in until about 10:30 and it was still about 20c defo warm enough for shorts and t-shirt!. Victoria took us by bus from Locarno to Ascona where she lives and works. This is the Italian part of Switzerland and if you didn’t know better, you really would think you were still in Italy. We dropped our stuff off at Vic’s place and then we went for a drink which was a relatively quick one seeing as Penny and I were on the verge of falling asleep sitting down.
We headed back and Victoria kindly gave up her bed for us. Her place was pretty cool, it was on top of a restaurant, and you had to walk through the restaurant in order to get up to her flat…different. Her flat was all wood with a wee living room, kitchen and bathroom all on the downstairs, and then stairs
Lake at Ascona
A boat on the lake,
going up to an open mezzanine balcony bedroom that looked out over the ground floor.
We woke up the next morning and just wandered around town, down to the lake, over to the internet at the library, and then also up to get some beer and food out of the shops. We bought some Gnocchi and pesto and made a fanstastic lunch, then just chilled out and read our books in the front of Vic’s flat. It was great to have time to do nothing as the rest of the trip was very much go go go! Victoria got back in time to watch a hailstorm hit, in fact she got caught in it on the way back from the bus stop! We sat outside with a drink and watched the hailstorm, amazingly it was still relatively warm. Then Victoria took us to a cool little restaurant. The one thing Penny and I had noticed in Ascona was how expensive everything was. Italy was about 3 Euro in a bar, and in Ascona it was 8 francs, which I can tell you is more than 3 euro. Anyways, the meal was pretty unique, they brought out a bread board
with a whole salami on it, and a dish of tomato’s and lettuce drizzled in seasoned olive oil. You just cut off as much salami as you wanted. When you looked like you were about done they brought out a bowl of bread, and dished out bowls of veggie pasta (which was pretty good) and also another dish of corned beef to pick as much as you wanted from. Then after all that they brought out a dish of polenta and goulash, however I just had the polenta and pasta…mmmm good. Then there was a dish of various cheeses, and a knife to cut them up. Almost done now….they also brought out a fruit flan, and finally coffee and grappa. Grappa is the Italian version of whiskey, saki, slivovitsa etc. It’s a distilled liquor made out of grapes. Phwoah. Now we were done. And the whole thing was only about 30 swiss francs each, and that was with 2 bottles of wine as well! That was pretty good value. It was also the only eating out we did in Ascona!! We went back and had a few more drinks before calling it a night.
The next day was Bozman
Boats on the lake
The sun is shining and there is snow in the mountans.
day. We were meant to go see Dereck and Anne in Geneva, but when we looked into tickets it was going to cost us way more than we’d thought or budgeted, so instead Dereck being a bum and all came out to see us since he didn’t exactly have employment commitments. We met him at the station in Locarno, then took a funicular partway up one of the hills. Then we took a bunch of photos of the mountains, and walked down through lizard central (the stairs down had a lizard or two every few metres) and then down to shop to buy some bread, cheese and tomato’s along with some crisps and beer for a picnic lunch by the lake. We found a nice we spot looking out on the mountains, and in the shade. It was an awesome afternoon, and it felt great to not be at work, and enjoying Penny and Dereck’s company in 30c sunshine!
We headed back to town, and went down to the lake with Victoria with a bottle of wine and a few beer to chill on a bench for a bit before going back to the flat. We got back eventually
Hotel in Ascona
Cool hotel in Ascona down by the lake
and made dinner for Victoria (Pizza and salad) and all sat around talking and enjoying a warm summers night in Ascona. Until disaster struck. I went to bed early around 10:30pm cuz I was pretty tired. I got woke up by Penny around 1:30 by Penny who informed me that she felt sick, correction, she had just told me that she was sick! Victoria too! I could see that Pen was ok, so went down to see Victoria who was on the picnic table outside with Dereck, and she was feeling better and Dereck was with her, so back to bed I went.
Our last day in the Italian part of Switzerland kind of saw the wheels fall off the wagon. Penny was not well from the night before. We don’t know what it was, but think it was the olives or the wine that Pen and Vic had, cuz they’re the only things that Deke and I didn’t have, and we were fine. So Pen and I were meant to go up with Dereck to see a big dam that was in the Bond film Goldeneye. It was the dam that Bond bungee jumped off of. There was
These birds live on Vic's balcony
also a beautiful river that fed the dam, but seeing as Pen was “violently ill” the night before and not up for much in the morning, Dereck and I decided to go on our own and meet Penny at the train station at 2pm. So off we went, we debated briefly over whether we should go our not when we found out the ticket was 36 francs. However in the end we opted to do it even though it was more expensive than we thought.
It was a beautiful busride up into the mountains, but the funny thing was that the dam was in the first 30 mins of the busride and probably was only 15 francs or so. Feck! We had to be back by 2pm though so we got to Sonogno the top village and last stop of the bus, waited for 15 mins and grabbed some photos before jumping back on the bus back down to the dam where we had 2 hours to wait until the next bus. The dam was impressive, and massive. However it didn’t need 2 hours to see it, so Dereck and I went for a walk and found a rock
The name of the bus company in Switzerland.
slab or two that were calling out to be climbed. So we did a bit of bouldering, and got higher and higher up the hill before disaster yet again found us. I slipped and slid about 14 feet down the dirt/rock slope face down and looked behind me to see a steeper drop coming. I reached out for some trees to slow or stop my fall, but ended up missing the trees and slid faster before I manded to jam my feet in and grab a root. Whew. The resulting carnage was a very shredded right forearm, scratched ribs, and a somewhat less shredded left forearm. The first thing to go through my head was, Penny is going to kill, but I’m alive.
The fall had killed my desire to climb further up so Deke and I headed back, and waited for the bus, which went flying past us. Feck again. So now my bus has gone, and I’m not going to make my 2pm meeting with Penny, or catch our 2pm train to St Gallen to see my aunt in the north of Switzerland. Not a good feeling. Fortunately a German lady told me that wasn’t our bus,
The Restaurant with many courses.
This is Victoria's favourite restaurant in Ascona.
that ours is 5 mins away. Well, I think that’s what she said seeing as my German isn’t too great. In the end we caught our bus, made it too the station and rendezvoused with Penny. We said our goodbyes, and I avoided showing Pen my arms, and then jumped on our train to the north of Switzerland. Ascona was beautiful, expensive, bloody and warm. We’d go back ;o)
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