PAINTING & ILLUSTRATION
Have you ever considered going for a weekend get-away to lovely Ticino in Switzerland?
Two weeks ago I decided to make a small trip to Ticino, which is the Italian-speaking area of Switzerland. For most of Swiss people, it's like little Italy, with palm trees, very warm temperatures, more relaxed atmosphere and a very good pizza :-)
The most beautiful and fun part of my stay in Ticino were breathtaking views, just like the below one, taken while I was hiking.
I'd like to share with you some of the hints, which might come in handy for you while planning a trip to visit spectacular Ticino.
1. LOCARNO. WHERE TO STAY?
Here, you have many options depending on your budget.You can choose either Locarno or Ascona. I decided to go for Locarno and then make short travels to Ascona, which is only 15 minutes away by public transport.
I would recommend you to stay out of an ordinary hotel and choose a place higher up on a mountain. This is what I did and I was very satisfied. I booked a cute Bed&Breakfast on the top of the Orselina mountain. It's worth to pay a little more to have a room with a view on Lago Maggiore.
Orselina hill is quite a particular place to visit. Almost on its top there is a sanctuary called 'Madonna del Sasso'. It is one of the most religious and historical sites in Locarno. The sanctuary is a place of worship as it is believed that the Virgin Mary appeared there in the XV century. I was passing by this sanctuary every day on my way to the B8B and back to town.
It is pearched on a rock (that's why it's called 'Madonna del Sasso, sasso = rock) with fantastic views over the lake and snowy peaks of the mountains.
I recommend to visit the sanctuary either in the morning (to catch the sunrise there) or in the evening (to memorize the sunset). During the day, there are many tourists there, especially on a warm day.
I just told you that it's nice to book a place on top of the hill. But the inevitable question is: how to get there? How to come up and down the mountain?
This may seem as the tricky part, especially if you don't want to do some sport on your holidays ;-) No worries. there's a small train, which goes up the mountain and it runs every 15-20 minutes. It's called 'Funicolare Orselina'. 6 minutes ride take you up the hill. Be ready to take out your camera to shoot some scenic photos of the panorama.
I have to say I walked down the mountain and it was lovely. The path down begins behind the sanctuary and is quite easy. It takes around 15-20 minutes to walk down to the center of Locarno. To walk up - frankly, I haven't tried that. Maybe if I hadn't eaten a delicious plate of l'ossobuco, I would have tried.
My beautiful old-style room with a big balcony and the view:
2. WHAT TO DO?
This depends on what you like doing. Each of us is different. Maybe you prefer to sit and relax or walk a lot and explore. And that's perfect - to be yourself.
Whenever I'm travelling, I don't do a strict list of places to visit. I don't make a perfect plan, with shcedule for exact hours when to sleep, when to eat and where to go. Naturally, I google out what's interesting there and I simply make a choice.
Travelling for me is a journey. the time to be not only with myself but also to marvel at the beauty of the outside world.
a) Sit and enjoy the view
As simple as that. Pick a bench in the park overlooking the lake or sit at your balcony up on a hill. Life is about savouring the moments. The moments which usually escape our every day attention.
b) Explore the neighbourhood
As I was staying in Locarno I paid a visit to Ascona. It's diverse and it has its own atmosphere. The town is located at a cute bay by the like, overlooking the mountains.
It's wonderful to sit there and sip a coffee or a cocktail. There's a nice promenade with countless cafes and restaurants. Up on the hill private mansions and villas overlook the area. Sometimes I felt like on a movie set, with the boats, yachts, splendid weather and good-looking people.
The Italian part of Switzerland is a great opportunity to practise your Italian. Though I must admit, that there were many Swiss coming from the German-speaking part there and actually, I had to switch between my Italian and German.
c) Go for a hike
This was my favourite part of the trip! I like hiking very much and I discovered hiking during my stay in Switzerland. It's a good mix between sport, meditation in the nature and catching scenic beauty of the world. Such a great activity for an artist.
The hike I went on was from Ascona to Ronco sopra Ascona. It's about 5 km one way and it took me 1:45 h to get to Ronco. The hike is pleasurable - you climb so close to the lake. Wonderful views are never-ending. Make sure to take some fruits or sandwiches and a big bottle of water with you.
One hint: as you get to Ronco note that in case you don't want to go back on foot to Ascona, the bus runs every one or two hours on the weekends. I was very lucky to have my bus shortly after I reached and explored Ronco.
Switzerland is beautiful and I feel grateful that I am living here. There's always something new to discover. What will warm you up during harsh winter nights is the memories of places you visited, of people you met, of time you enjoyed...
While in Ticino I was able to finish my book. Yes. I kept this in secret for three years. I have written a book and it's coming out soon. I am so excited! You will have the chance to read more about life in Switzerland and in Poland, as the stories in my book are based in two cities - Warsaw and Zurich.
The book will be soon available to buy in my online shop (English language version) and through my publishing house (Polish language version) :-)
Hope you enjoyed reading my post about Ticino and let me know if you liked it!
See you soon,
10.05.2018 17:20:46Hello Alexandra, I will be at the Jazz Ascona festival this year. Will be happy to check out to do this hike that you mentioned. Best regards, Matthias :-)
08.05.2018 11:19:00You are so beautiful, Aleksandra. M.