Lugano is a Swiss town some 80 kms away from Milan. While the thought of Switzerland did not occur even once to me but one of my co-traveler convinced us to visit Lugano. Since we had Schengen Visa so there was no legal issue.
On inquiry the person at the hotel reception promised to take us in his car for a fee. So it was decided that we start early in the morning like 7 and be back in Milan by 12 so that we have enough time to sight see. In such short span of planning it did not occur to us to check on certain things. For example, how is the weather and whether we would be able to see Swiss Alps? I gave in just for the sake of curiosity and surprise and anything would be a new sight to see.
Next day we started at 7:15 am. Thankfully breakfast was spread out so we had a quick grub. We then started in a typical hatch back vehicle with our friend from the hotel. The fellow was a naturalized citizen of Italy originally hailing from Egypt. While chatting he revealed that he watched lot of Amitabh Bachchan movies back in Egypt and was a big fan.
It was clear from start that the weather is going to be cloudy. When we asked our friend whether we would be able to see Alps he replied in negative and we quietly accepted it. Whatever little I could read the previous night was that the town is around lake Lugano which is surrounded by hills. I hoped that at least that view should turn out well.
We quickly crossed Milan and got onto the road to Como which is a border town of Italy and further to that is Lugano. The landscape was undulating with some sparse habitation and fields nothing remarkable. At the border we were not stopped and we continued on. Never could imagine such smooth cross over between countries. After driving around the town we parked at one place in Lugano and decided to walk around. The place where we got out of the car, we were presented with this – a bronze head and an obelisk to commemorate some event.
|piece of art at Lugano|
|some commemorative obelisk @ Lugano|
|General scene @ Lugano|
The lake waterfront was inviting and there is a promenade around the lake. Residents were out talking a stroll and walking their dogs.
|Promenade around the lake|
|Ferry stop – Lugano Centrale|
We went inside the town and just looked around buildings, alleys, shops, cafes, people soaking in the atmosphere. At a cafe we had one of the best cappuccino coffee of our trip. We paid in Euros and got back Swiss franc coins which were like a souvenir. Though Lugano is in Switzerland it is more of an Italian town. There were small piazzas which were full of activity. There was some preparation going on for some fair and cafes were as usual busy with people.
|Credit Suisse building|
|Fresh fruits on sale|
|one of the alleys|
|A piazza in Lugano|
While I was wondering what would be occupation of people in this town, there I saw building of UBS. With so many banks in country hoarding ill-gotten money, needless to say it would be hub of ultimate white collar jobs and prosperity. While walking around we suddenly came across a Bata shoe store. We were surprised that a common household brand in India has a store in Switzerland. But after quick check it turned out that Bata is actually a European brand currently headquartered in Lusanne, Switzerland. How many people in India would really know that!
After making a circle of the area, we went back to lake front which had become a little more clearer. We wondered whether we could boat in the lake but decided not to due to paucity of the time. We then went to Parco Civico means Civil Park. It was a gorgeous park with well laid out grass, trees and plenty of flowers. This is the summer time here and flowers in bloom. Lot of locals and tourists had also come to the park resting on benches, walking or jogging. The tranquility in the air was amazing. The lake itself seemed quite huge with hills rising from its banks.
|Flowers in full Bloom|
|Villa Ciani inside Parco Civico|
|The distinctive image of Lugano with this hill in background|
|One of the signages|
We started back from Lugano and without any hassle reached in an hour and half. There were lot of picturesque locations but we could not stop in between just like that in India. We mostly zipped through the scenery chit-chatting. In an hour and half we reached back to our hotel. Thus ended our short and hurried trip to Switzerland. We were joking that without a stamp on the passport it didn’t really feel like it :)