Monday, November 02, 2015

Lake Lugano, Lugano - Grand Finale

All good things must come to an end and so must this holiday par excellence. If leaving the best for last is the way most tours end then I was wishing Lugano would be the crown jewel. And I was not disappointed. While there is no basis to compare the Bernina Express which was a alp-train experience, Lugano was the lake experience never to be forgotten. Lugano is only 45 minutes drive from our hotel so we had a leisurely breakfast before boarding the coach at 9.30am. We took a lakeside walk after breakfast watching the lake coming alive. The Lugano forecast is 8-14C with no rain.

We left punctually at 9.30am. One thing I admire about our group of 48 is the adherence to the time set by Andrew. Never were we late for any trip. Today we were rotated to the back row with 5 seats all to ourselves. We headed northward towards Lugano arriving at 10.20am. The city lies on Lake Lugano, surrounded by the mountains of the Lugano Prealps. Its warm summers and the fact that in recent years it has attracted an ever growing number of celebrities, entertainers, and successful athletes have given it the nickname of the "Monte Carlo of Switzerland". It is the largest city with an Italian speaking majority outside of Italy due to its nearness to the Italian border and strong historical and cultural influence.

We were provided a city map with places of interest highlighted. We were told to regroup at the drop off point at 3.15pm to return to the hotel at 3.30pm. Without wasting any time we took the 40 minutes Lugano Tour ride costing 9 Swiss Francs each (they collect equivalent of €9) per person. We got a free ride to the Monte San Salvatore's funicular station. The cost of going up Monte San Salvatore at 26SF/€ per person was the most expensive but well justified. The ride was in two stages, the second car much steeper. Reached the top at 12.30pm I proceeded to snap pictures of Lake Lugano, Lugano city and the surrounding hills. The scenes were just so panaromic that I have to take a few. The highlight is the walk up to Museo San Salvatore which gave the highest and best views of the Lake and the towns below. We tried to order some food at the Ristorante Vetto but aborted the plan due to the long wait and took the 2.00pm funicular ride down. The walk along the waterfront of the lake towards our regrouping point gave me plenty of opportunities to snap more scenic pictures. I'm glad I brought my power bank along to recharge my smartphone battery.

Tonight we packed up to clear the room by 10.30am tomorrow. Had it been a week already staying in the Grand Hotel Cadenabbia? I wish the holiday was longer. Tonight Andrew invited us all to a pre-dinner cocktail drink at the bar so we can socialize and share our holiday encounters.

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