Switzerland: Lugano

View of Lugano from the train station

We traveled to Lugano from Lucerne on Saturday morning. The train was very full, most notably with a children’s soccer team. They checked our tickets about an hour into the ride. We had two stops and it took about an hour and forty minutes to get there. I love riding the train in Switzerland. The views are top notch. There are mountains, lakes, green green grass, cows, sheep, clock towers, and unreal architecture. Everyone is outside doing things: hiking, hanging out at the park, biking, walking, lying in the grass. It’s never boring to look out the window.

Lugano lake

The train station is at the top of steep hill. Our walk down into the town did not seem to be the quickest route, but we didn’t know how to get there so we followed the people in front of us. It was pretty steep and I vowed that we would not hike the stairs back up at the end of the day. The weather was at least 20 degrees warmer than in Lucerne (80 compared to 60). Our first stop was an Italian restaurant (we were in the Italian section of Switzerland) that was more local than touristy. It was delicious.

Stairs everywhere

After lunch, we wandered through the city center. There are so many stores there. Most of the stores are very high end as well. I saw a Hermes, Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, and lots of jewelry stores. A lot of people on the street were also dressed in high fashion and I enjoyed checking out their outfits. There was some kind of bike event happening in town. I’m not sure if they had a race in the morning, but there were a lot of tents selling different biking gear as well as bikes…even water bikes. We walked to the park and took a break from the heat and enjoyed the view of the lake.

People love taking pictures of this gate. I was lucky it was empty!
Lake Lugano view

Of course we had to take a boat ride while we were there! There were lots of people out on the water in paddle boats, motor boats, older wooden boats, but no jet skis! The lake was pretty calm, but there was a nice breeze. We disembarked in Grandia, which is a part of Lugano. Jef did not tell me that this town was part of a cliff. We had to hike so many stairs to get around. I almost passed out! The views and pictures were worth the pain.

Lugano from the boat
I love those mountains
Grandia houses
This place smelled amazing
I don’t think they own cars here.
So many stairs
This view was worth the climb

Google maps let us down with our bus route on the way back to Lugano. You can walk back via an olive tree grove trail, which sounds idyllic, but it takes an hour and a half, but I was out of steam. The bus should only take 20 minutes, but we got off at the wrong stop and had to wait for another bus that took us the the centro, so we changed our plans and took a later train. It was lovely not to have to panic about rushing back. We sat at an outdoor cafe and had some cappuccino and a beer and people watched. We wandered around a Migros (department store/grocery store) and found our favorite Arizona Blueberry Iced Tea (I don’t know anyone else who likes it as much as we do). I checked out some totes at Louis Vuitton just in case I need to give suggestions for my birthday present. The people there were so nice and helpful and I’m sure we looked a fright.

We took the funicular up to the train station. It only cost $1.70, but the ticket booth was closed and the automatic machine was off. We jumped on anyway and no one cared. It dropped us off right next to where we started walking down into town. I couldn’t believe we missed it! The train ride back was a bit less crowded at 6pm. We grabbed some pretzels and chocolate bark to sustain us for the ride. I took a catnap through the twenty minute tunnel, but woke up to fully appreciate the waterfalls trickling down the side of the mountain. It was a wonderful day.

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