Plan B.

IMG_4195.JPGPretty sweet rig huh?!? The amphicar. I would love to tell you that we got our hands on this thing and it became our home for the entire week on Lago Maggiore, but that would be lying to you and I’m not into that but I wished that it were true. I’ve only ever seen one other of this kind and that was in Northern Michigan, so this was a fun surprise.

Plan B

Yup. It’s always good to have one when traveling. Our original plan was to conquer all that is Switzerland but that plan just was not panning out for us. Lodging wasn’t clicking in our price point, the jazz festival just seemed crazy expensive and exhausting, transportation seemed nearly impossible with a budget, and so we explored more affordable, still en route to Germany places and Lago Maggiore in Northern Italy seemed like a reasonable place to chill out for an entire week. We found a decent apartment that was within a 15 minute walk to the lake. Great. Sign us up. A kitchen! A washing machine! Our own space! Bikes! A fan! A fridgerator! Wow. Luxuries. I was craving cooking. To buy fresh veggies at the market and to eat salad never sounded so amazing to me. So, that’s what we did for one whole week and this is what we saw.

BORROMEAN ISLANDS

Did not disappoint. Three beautiful little islands that are very accessible by ferry from the town we stayed in, Angera. We decided to buy the day pass for the ferry so we could jump on and off as we pleased. Made for an adventurous day. Just enough moments were captured on our quest to explore all the islands. IMG_4153.JPGIsola Bella was our first stop. They have got the tourist touring dialed in on these islands. Annoying for us, but if you need to buy junk, lots of junk to be bought. I liked the views.IMG_4166.JPGIMG_4159.JPGIMG_4161.JPGThe next stop was Isola Superiore. My favorite of the 3. Small and quaint. Cheap food and wine. Seemed like more of a locals hangout spot. Also great views. IMG_4172.JPGIMG_4173.JPGIMG_4174.JPGThe last island, Isola Madre, was gorgeous from the water. Huge gardens, huge structures, but also not accessible unless you wanted to pay to get in.IMG_4191.JPG

Thankfully, you can walk the perimeter of the island and create your own adventure which is what we did. It was sweltering, once again, and so we found this secluded spot to swim a bit. IMG_4203.JPGAlso is where we found the sweet ampicar and a bamboo forest…IMG_4201.JPGAnd this precious little duck family…IMG_4197.JPGOther beautiful nature stuff…

Pretty chill day just soaking up sunshine and water vibes. The mountains were definitely calling my name but they were just a little to far out of our reach. I really wanted to get in there though. You just can’t do it all. I’m learning…

ANGERA AND ARONA

Compared to the rest of the towns on the lake, these two are pretty sleepy. Exactly what we hoped for. After 6 weeks of being on the go through crowded city after crowded city, this was great. Angera had just enough of everything for us during our stay. Our Airbnb host, Carlos, was great. He picked us up from the train station in Sesto Calende, which is a solid 5 mile commute, and invited us to go see a concert with him and his lovely girlfriend, Claudia. This is what we saw.

Located in some tiny little Italian town hides this cool place, Villa Restelli. Home to artists, musicians, bohemians, and mosquitos, this place had some great energy, minus the terror and annoyance of the blood sucking vampires. As much as I hate putting chemicals on my skin, this place left me no choice. Despite the nuisance, we enjoyed the duo of pianist meets beat boxer. Such an interesting sound. We loved it. On the full moon to boot.

IMG_4253.JPG

FullSizeRender.jpgThis is Angera. Rocca Borromeo, which has been proudly standing there since the early 1200’s, is the main attraction to this city. Thankfully, we met some cool local dudes at the vinoteca and one of them, Paolo, offered to take us up there for free. We politely accepted the offer. FullSizeRender.jpg

Of course they made wine. Like every other estate here in Italy. IMG_4286.JPGWe even were approached and shook hands with this famous tv guy here in Italy. IMG_4313.JPGPaolo was pretty stoked. He made sure to take a picture with him. IMG_4467.JPGI guess it was a pretty big deal that this guy was visiting little ole Angera. We felt special being part of the moment. Here is more of the castle!

Across the river is Arona. Unfortunately, Napolean was a dick and destroyed their castle but here is what remains. IMG_4317.JPGIt’s such a trip visiting these ancient places and imagining what such destruction felt like. It really puts this life in perspective. Lots of heartache has been felt along this journey in Europe. I can only imagine what Germany and Poland are going to feel like…Ugh…Heavy.

Back to the cool qualities, there was a concert series up here that we declined to stick around for but apparently Guns-n-Roses and Bruce Springsteen tribute bands were to take the stage here. Might have been interesting. Sweet stage nonetheless. IMG_4314.JPGBoth cute little towns near the south end of Lago Maggiore. It was nice to listen to my body which was screaming at me to slow down. A relaxing, rejuvenating week was exactly what we (well I) needed half way through this journey. Mike is a rockstar. I’m sure he could have powered through anything, but he is the best travel partner ever. I’m one lucky lady. He got to finish this masterpiece during the rest. The collection is growing. FullSizeRender.jpg

Still haven’t found that kayak. Maybe in Poland. Sigh…

The journey from here has us on a bus from Milan to Munich. Because of poor public transit in Angera, we woke up a 5am and walked the 5 miles back to the train station to catch the one train headed to the bus. Unfortunately, someone decided to commit suicide on the tracks ahead of us and so we were delayed just enough to miss our bus. Thankfully, one more bus was headed to Munich later in the day so we worked it out. I guess this sort of thing happens often on these train lines. What a terrifying experience for the drivers. Heartbreaking.

Again, always circling back to the positive, we saw this from the bus window. We got to experience Switzerland after all. FullSizeRender.jpg

FullSizeRender.jpgFullSizeRender.jpgIMG_4471.JPGFullSizeRender.jpgEnding on a rainbow. Who doesn’t like rainbows?!?

We head to Ulm, Germany, for the next 5 days to enjoy the company of Mike’s cousin, Nancy and her amazing family. Sausages and beer coming right up!!! Prost!!!

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