Sunday, August 02, 2015

Adventures in Ticino (part one)

On the 29th we ventured to the Ticino, the Italian region of Switzerland. Andrew and I had been there in 2002 and I absolutely fell in love with Ascona. We wanted to show the region to our kids and show them some of the places we'd loved so much.

Dad suggested we take the Centovalli train there, which is how Andrew and I had gotten there all those years ago. You start with a pretty basic train ride through Switzerland, and then you stop in Domodossola, Italy. I remember how excited I was in '02 that we were getting off the train in Italy. We planned to stay there for an hour or two and then catch the next train through the Centovalli to Locarno.

Then we got off the train. I might have been persuaded to stay if it hadn't been for the fact that the public toilets in the train station were pit toilets. As in you walk into the bathroom, there's a hole in the ground that you squat over. I'm a princess, I know.

If it's possible, Domodossola was even worse this time. We stepped off the train and were greeted by the overwhelming stench and SIGHT of the train toilets all over the tracks.

Luckily this time no one had any desire to hang out. We quickly made for our train, found some seats together and got ready for the ride through to Locarno.

The Centovalli is so named because you pass through valley after valley after valley. They're tiny and windy and wild and the architecture is completely different from anywhere else I'd ever been.

 Stone houses. I love them.

I can't remember where this pictures is from. Maybe just out the train window at a random stop. Dave, Kyle needs to move to Europe. EVERYONE (over a certain age) wears Kyle pants. I should have asked him for a shopping list.

Despite the fact that this was a long train ride, I think we were all mostly mesmerized by the scenery.

I say mostly because some of us got distracted occasionally (of course you need to selfie when you're in Italy.)

Apart from the scenery and the architecture, we saw lots of interesting vehicles. Like this teensy truck.

Both kids took lots of pictures. Elisabeth was bound and determined to get a decent picture of a stone house. Oh yah. A friend of mine was selling an old iPhone cheap, so we got it for Elisabeth so that both kids would have something to take pictures with. It's been fun watching them get into it.

There are a couple of really long train tunnels along this route. During some of them, David taught Grosspapa how to play with one of his apps. They got a bit distracted and continued on for quite a while. Building cars and trucks - of course they were distracted!

 You know it's serious business when Grosspapa is wearing TWO pairs of glasses.

For a good part of our train ride, the road ran just below us. I can imagine flying along here in a beautiful convertible with Cary Grant. Can't you?

It reminds me so much of movies from the fifties and sixties.

This is one of the river way rock formations we passed over. The rocks were so interesting.

 We finally arrived in Locarno. When Andrew and I were here in 02, we hopped right on a bus and headed straight to Ascona. I really didn't like Locarno that time. This was a little better...which is a good thing since we were staying there this time. Our hotel was located up the hill from the train station, but luckily we had a funicular to ride (or Andrew would have died I think. Probably me too actually, it was pretty hot in Locarno).

We stepped off the funicular and crossed this narrow alleyway (is it still an alley if it's a track road down the mountain?)

This is probably out of order. Here are the kids waiting for a ride from the funicular.

 And this was the view from our room. So pretty.

This was the one hotel where we were able to book a family room. This should be a thing. I know it is in Whistler and some other locations, but it was so hard to find rooms in Switzerland that sleep more than 3 or 4. This one had two bathrooms and three sleeping rooms. And the view. I liked the view a lot.

This is the view down the track to town again.

 We headed back down the hill to try and find something to eat for dinner. Switzerland is really expensive to eat. Really expensive.

 After wandering around we found this little pizza joint.

 I had salad :)

This was an interesting vehicle we saw just outside our restaurant. It was a two in front driving and one behind. Almost like a scooter but slightly more carish.

Then, because it was such a nice evening, we went for a walk.

The kids and I got a bit ahead so we waited at a kiosk. David drove a car.

And then we laughed at the translations on these postcards.

We had some gelato.

And looked at boat trips around the lake.

 Then we found this amazing playground.

 So we hung out here until it started to get dark.

Which was really pretty too.

And then it was time to head back up to the hotel.

 With a short dance break. Cause when you're in the Italian region...