Thursday, April 16, 2015

Lakes, mountains, churches and the soft warm air of Italy in the Spring

A first stop for coffee and on to Lago Maggiore, the longest lake in Italy, but also a lake that is located not only in two Italian regions (Piedmont and Lombardy) but also in the Swiss canton of Ticino. A discussion with the parking attendants and money into the machine as well as the purchase of boat tickets; a walk along the lake front before boarding the boat that stopped on three islands: the Isola Madre, the Isola Pescatori where we had lunch at the Albergo Ristorante Verbano (a daily menu that put most of the others that I have ever enjoyed to shame).  The last stop was the Isola Bella and yet another church. Here also we talked to a very eccentric woman (her dress in bright spring colors along the lines of a Cossack woman with a hat, drawn-on eyebrows, etc. made her really stand out from the crowd – would have taken her photo had I dared. She spoke fluent French, Italian, German and probably many other languages but no time to prolong the conversation with a group at our heels.

Italian church bells are very different.
Sail boat sculpture on the edge of the lake

lots of wrought-iron gates.

Off to the Borromeo Islands

Isola dei Pescatori - lunch at the Verbano Albergho
Albergho Verbano's terrace overlooking the lake.

Entry was beef carpaccio (very thinkly sliced)

The main fresh fish on a bed of al dente vegetables

Isola Bella - the "palace"

Buildings on Isola Bella

the San Vittorio church main alter

Yet another church facade

Plants in full bloom

The white peacocks are famous.

Leaving Stresa behind, we stopped in Omegna on the Lago d’Orta for that most typical and beloved treat – a Gelato, then on to Varallo Sesia, where finding a hotel with room was a bit difficult: never mind – a couple of drinks later (turns out that there was going to be a car rally come Sunday), there was a no show and so we didn’t have to look further. I have often said that I tend to be lucky – this is continually being born out. Dinner after the luxurious lunch seemed rather redundant (never mind a total lack of hunger) so settled for a beer and a sandwich.

date of the main floor from the Sant'Ambrogio church in Omegna

Sant'Ambrogio church, Omegna

The Sacro Monte in the distance as seen from the hotel window!