Traveling to Ticino is an exciting journey. We’ve been so many times, I can hardly keep track, but still each time is like visiting an old friend. There are the “do you remember” moments sprinkled in with the new memories. This time we were staying in Ascona, courtesy of last year’s Christmas gift from my family. The train ride down never gets boring passing lakes, lush fields, cows and pastures, s Chileli vo Wasse (the church of Wassen) before entering the Gotthard tunnel on the northern side of the Alps. Exiting 11 minutes (15 km) later is like entering a new country: palm trees, signs in Italian, a different style of buildings and most often the shining sun. After getting off the train in Locarno, we opt to take the boat to Ascona. It makes our arrival feel even more special and lets us enjoy the villages around the lake.
After checking in and a quick lunch we walked up to the Monte Verità, which boasts views over Ascona and the lake. And then back down again through Ascona, choosing quieter back streets.
The one rainy day saw us running along the piers in Ascona to catch the evening light and the freshly fallen snow.
On our last full day we boarded the express boat the Isola Bella, one of the Borromean Islands. While dodging tour groups we gazed at the castle interior before heading out into the gardens.
From Isola Bella and past Isola Superiore, we took the slow boat back to Ascona, stopping at the botanical gardens at the Villa Taranto on the way. The gardens were founded in 1930 by Captain Neil Mc Eacharn and are beautifully filled with poppies, tulips, azaleas, rhododendrons and much more.