Sunday, April 6, 2008

Tesin - the italian part of Switzerland

This weekend the weather forecast was for "horrible weather" (as heard on the radio) for Zurich area, so we headed down south to the Tesin, or Ticino, the italian part of Switzerland, with Elsbeth, Tinu, Lena and Elias. Apparently April is known for pretty bad weather here - days when one can get snow, rain and shine all together. We did make a snowman here in Zurich two weeks ago, and the weather has been rather bad - cool and showers. Raining right now as I write. We did manage to escape the weather - Saturday was sunny in Tesin, and today was cloudy, but not raining.

During the three hour train ride to Lugano:

We first visited Swiss Miniatur, a park with 120 models of famous swiss houses, castles, churches, and other architectural items, in Melide. Here is Sonja and Lena playing behind the Brig castle. Martin went to high school in Brig.

The place was overrun by lizards. This one is going to attack the poor people any moment.

Elsbeth and Lena:

The Zofingen model made us laugh. It includes the statue next to the building, which we took a picture of two months ago... I think the model was not so cheeky.

The real thing:

Then we caught a ride on a boat to Morcote. These boats are fast!

Brusino, on the east side of the lake. It is so strange to see the not-yet green forest with flowering (!!!) trees after spending a decade in Alaska, where neither birches nor cottonwoods flower that way.

Our (boat) destination, Morcote:

Nice stairs in between buildings:

We took a bus to Figino, where we slept in a youth hostel. Very kid-friendly place. Martin said he wasn't sure why it was called a youth hostel though, since at the breakfast table it looked like the average age was somewhere in the 40's or 50's.

Today, Sunday, we headed by foot from Figino to the mountain above Lugano, St. Salvatore, then took a furnicular down to town.
Tinu and Lena practice some rock climbing:

A church in the woods near Carona:

Ciona is a beautiful village perched on the ridge of the mountains:

Then another hour of walking, with each adult carrying one backpack and one sleeping child in a sling or carrier, and we made it to the top

A look back at our trip: Swiss Miniatur at the land jutting into the lake at left. From there on boat to the city on the lake at the far side of this ridge. By bus to Figino, which is in the flatlands at upper right of the picture. Then by foot up the ridge, and to this place where I stood to take the picture. Thanks, Tinu, for organizing a nice trip! Wonderful scenery, carved by glaciers, of course! It did also make me realize that I started understanding swiss german a bit, since here in the italian part of switzerland I felt completely out of place. It took me a bit to understand that people were saying "bon giorno" when greeting us on the trail, so at least I learned two words in italian :).

1 comment:

Cecile said...

Swiss miniature is so cute !