We ventured just outside the Italian border on our third day in paradise, traveling to Lugano, Switzerland. This is only an hour by fast train from Milan. Stepping off the train, the initial feel of Lugano is very Italian, and it’s clear by the high number of ultra luxury cars on the roads in this town, this region, is upscale.
The train station was conveniently located in the center of town. The well-marked walkway at the station directed us to the city’s retail center, rich with luxury stores, fancy boutiques, restaurants, banks and more banks! Coincidentally, on the flight from the states, we watched Wolf of Wall Street, so the concept of off-shore money was fresh on our minds and blatantly apparent in this city.
Lugano seems to attract masses of wealthy people, and I suppose you have to be to live in or visit this city, as there is a high cost of goods and services. It was amazingly expensive (i.e., 6 euro Lipton canned ice tea). In a lot of ways it reminded us of Beverly Hills, just on the water. Think Rodeo Drive and you get the picture.
After strolling through the retail area with high end chocolatiers and watch shops, we headed towards the lake and took our time strolling the waterside promenade (with a chance to feel the cool Alps-fed water) towards the funicular. The tree-lined and shaded walkway led us in about 20 minutes to the base of the funicular. I’m not sure the last time we enjoyed this type of transportation in the states, but so far on this trip we have enjoyed a funicular twice!
The funicular climbed 3,000 feet to San Salvatore, letting us out at the landing where there were a few retail stores and a small restaurant. A path led up to the summit where we found a historic old church still being used. Around the backside were stairs that led to the roof terrace. Strangely, I never climb on church roofs at home, but this is twice now on this vacation that I have after visiting the rooftop of the Milan Duomo. Seems like we are doing a few things “twice” on this trip so far!
The roof terrace provided killer views of the city of Lugano, the lake, northern Italy, and Mota Rosa Massif, the highest point of the Swiss Alps and a beautiful cross structure that overlooked the lake. Spectacular is all I can think of when I looked around the 360 degree view.
Heading back down on the funicular was an E-ticket ride! You know that feeling when your stomach feels queasy when you are up too high in a building and look down? That’s what it was like coming down the tracks on this funicular!
We ended the day enjoying a late lunch in an uncrowded restaurant in a piazza near the lake’s edge; leisurely enjoying an amazing lunch of Branzino Con Pomodore e Olive, finishing with a complimentary Limoncello, people watching and watching the world go by, Lugano style.
Stayed tuned for our trip to Modena, Italy and surrounding area.