October 28 – November 4, 2020
It was our last full day in Ticino. We felt as though we had taken in a healthy portion of Locarno, had done our share of outdoor activities, and spent a comfortable amount of time just relaxing. Now what? Let’s get out of town!
The city of Lugano was nearby, as was Bellinzona. We could easily hop on the train and visit one of them for the day. Our hotel reservation included the “Ticino ticket”, which gave us free access to the buses and trains throughout Ticino. This would be the perfect way to take in a bit more of this southern canton.
Bellinzona is most famous for its castles. They sit prominently over the town, flanking the main road that cuts up the valley. I can only imagine how impressive this much have been to long-ago travelers as they approached from the south, the stone parapets guarding and a stout wall blocking the way.
The almost-empty streets were a striking reminder of the pandemic
The various build materials in the ancient wall
Looking across to Montebello Castle
Dan and I had visited Bellizona once before, long ago before we moved to Switzerland. It was a quick stop on our mini “Tour of Switzerland” back in 2010. Naturally we repeated what we had seen a decade ago, pulling foggy memories out from the depths.
Solitary figure in the plaza
Our hearts really weren’t in it today. We meandered around for a bit, walked up to one of the castles and considered visiting one of the others (there are two more, Sasso Corbaro and Montebello). Instead we looked for some place to have lunch and settled in for a warm meal on what was a more typical autumnal cool day.
Sign of the times: contract tracing AND an online menu
Lunch was good and as we left, I said that I wanted to check out a board game I had seen for sale in a shop window. We don’t play games much, but this one intrigued me. It is called L’ Alpinista and is a replication of a game from the 1900’s. It seemed like a quaint game to play on a cold winter evening.
The city’s Town Hall
With the game in hand, we hopped on the next train back to Locarno. After some relaxation in our room, and some wandering of the neighboring streets, we headed off to eat again. We went to Ristorante Pizzeria Centrale Minusio, which was easily the best pizza I’ve had since Naples. I whole-heartedly recommend this restaurant for a good meal in Locarno.
After a delicious meal we took the long way back to the hotel for a quiet “last night” in Locarno.
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The next morning was bright but cloudy. We packed up our things back into the car, secured the bikes to the back and said our good byes. The drive home was uneventful. As it was a random Wednesday in early November, the traffic was light and the conditions were clear. My shoulder was still causing me some issues with the shifting, but not enough for me to ask Dan to drive.
It had been a much different holiday than we would have had if we had gone to the Nordsee, and I was pleased with how our trip to Ticino turned out. It is definitely a beautiful country of the country and is surprisingly close to home. We really need to come back again.
Thank you for reading!