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.