A tad off the beaten path, part 3, Como Bellinzona

A tad off the beaten path, part 3, Como Bellinzona

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OHGeologist
OHGeologist
95 posts
active member
Aug 22, 2017 - 11:31 AM

I had "overthought" the travel this day...we were headed to Menaggio, Italy on Lake Como and I was trying to get there as early in the day as possible - to allow time for a ferry trip on the lake. I thought with all the squiggly lines the train tracks made on the maps, that it would be fun to see how that played out. Well, most of our time on the train was in tunnels. We took a train from Pontresina to Samedan, north to Filisur and over to Thusis. Then a bus - which was a beautiful ride even in the mist, fog and rain, down to Bellinzona.

The bus arrived late to the train station and we had little time to catch our train to Lugano, then the Bernina Express bus to Menaggio which I had reserved. So husband told me to take a bag and "GO!!!. I did and heard footsteps running behind me to the track and onto the train. However, when I turned around, it was not my husband but four "someone elses". The train door closed, my husband arrived but on the other side of the door and we both pushed every button we could find but to no avail. Friendly folks nearby told him another train to Lugano would be leaving in 1/2 hour, so he took that one.

However...that meant we wouldn't be able to catch the once-a-day Bernina Express bus from Lugano to Menaggio even though the bus station was right at the train station...love the way most all are set up that way.

Husband arrived, we headed to negotiate our way around the city buses (Bus 2 and C-12) and construction to Menaggio...so while I know some of you loved Lugano..my experience was ...not quite delightful -my own fault. We ended up taking a taxi from Lugano train station to our hotel (Garni Carona) in Menaggio. Taxi straight to our hotel was a great stress reliever...until we realized the driver had no idea where our hotel was located. But we had maps and were safely delivered earlier than we would have been any other way...so it all worked out. Later that afternoon we took a ferry to Verenna and another to Bellagio and back to Menaggio. Sunset on the lake was beautiful and blessedly restful. That was our only night with air conditioning.

Next morning we did take city buses back from Menaggio to Lugano and headed back to Bellinzona. Once in Lugano the bus let us all off and the driver told us to " go up the street, around the corner to Migros Store and wait for the bus to the train station". We did. However, we did have to buy a city bus ticket and the ticket machine gave us three "helpful" choices of tickets: First: "very near"; Second: "a little futher"; and Third: "really far". We had no idea where we were or how far it was from "here" to "there" :-). Sweet old ladies and bus drivers to the rescue...the older lady convinced the driver to get off the bus and help us buy tickets. We made it to the station, got on the train for Bellinzona and thought again, the Swiss are truly very helpful, kind people (along with "this is why we prefer small villages").

Bellinzona was wonderful...misty day to explore 3 castles. Our room window looked out on a castle tower wall. Lots of narrow pathways between the castles & brick-lined streets. At one of the castle museums, which are free with the Swiss Travel Pass, there is a 10-minute English video explaining why 3 castles exist in this one spot and why this valley was so important. Worth it. Wandering around the narrow streets, you feel like you have been transported back 750 years.

Lucas
Lucas
7178 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 22, 2017 - 2:35 PM in reply to OHGeologist

Oh I also have a fun/horror story of being stuck on a train but for my story it was we who got stuck on a train as it departed!

My wife helped me on a train with extra luggage but couldn't get out before it left the station. Unfortunately it was an ICE train from Hamburg to Zurich and the next stop was Hannover!

Luckily they stopped the train just on the outskirts of Hamburg for an unscheduled stop so she could get back to work! This time it was the lovely Germans who were so helpful. Our friends and family still tease her about that one especially as she is German and should know better!

Lucas

Last modified on Aug 22, 2017 - 2:36 PM by Lucas
Removed user
Removed user
0 posts
new member
Aug 23, 2017 - 8:23 AM in reply to OHGeologist

Despite the mishaps, good to see you still had a great time! Stressful for you, but an entertaining read for us ;-)

Alpenrose

OHGeologist
OHGeologist
95 posts
active member
Aug 28, 2017 - 5:07 PM

Pics of Bellinzona...there are little paths between the castles which are a delight...you go by vineyards and neat homes...and you may get lost a little...but it is fun to explore.

First pic is our hotel -Croce Federale. Our room window was up against a rock wall...maybe 3 feet away...from the base of the tower behind the hotel.

The gorgeous wood room was a recreation in the highest castle...(If I recall correctly). There is a bus stop that is almost to the top of the walk to the upper castle...but still alot of stairs.

OhGeologist

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Arno
Arno
10751 posts
expert &
moderator
Sep 2, 2017 - 9:29 AM in reply to OHGeologist

That's an impressive hotel with the castle in the background. Very nice!

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