Want to combine Alps, lakes, and palm trees with Swiss efficiency and Italian culture? Lugano is a lovely Ticino resort town, so warm our hotel had a banana grove! Here are some photos.

The best part of the weekend was the train ride to Lugano. A spectacular route through the center of the country, the mountains, and over and through St. Gotthard. We scored a panorama car; Ken and I were practically speechless the whole three hour trip. On the way down we passed a cool vintage steam train also making the journey.

Lugano's a bit sleepy in late October, and unfortunately we hit crappy weather so couldn't enjoy the lake or mountains. It's a pretty town though, with lots to walk around and shop and see. We had an excellent dinner at Arté, a welcome delicate touch in the kitchen.

Our rainy day Sunday trip was to Mendrisio, a little town near the Italian border. The attraction there was the model train musuem with hundreds of beautiful cars on display as well as a bunch of complex layouts. Also a surprisingly good lunch at Hotel Milano. If you're into model trains Mendrisio is worth a special trip. Otherwise, not so much.

We've been enjoying the weekend excursions but it's a bit exhausting to work all week and then travel all weekend. But we've only got three weeks left, no time to rest!

  2005-10-26 07:40 Z