After visiting Stresa and Lago Maggiore earlier in my travels, I decided to return for an extended stay to explore the surrounding area. Via friends-of-friends-of-friends-uncle’s-sister’s-dog’s-master kind of connection, I rented a room from a family in Verbania for a couple of weeks. The family was wonderful and it was a nice break to stay in one place for a little while and get to know people a little better (and enjoy some home-cooked Italian meals!). I even got to try climbing on an indoor climbing wall (lots of fun, I can see how one can get hooked on this). Thanks for everything Elena, Giobi, Garcia, Giulia, Loretta and Daniello (sp?)!
I need to take a moment to brag a bit about these people I had the honor to get to know . Garcia is quite the climber and built an indoor climbing wall with a group of other climbers. He and his girlfriend Giulia are also very talented musicians and play cello/sing for weddings and other events. Garcia not only plays cello, but hand-made the cello he plays! He also makes and repairs violins. Giobi is a self-taught web designer (giobi.com) and guitarist. And of course Elena is moving to California this summer to earn her PhD in Chemistry. Yeah, you guys rock
Ok, back to travel stuff (it almost seems boring now ). The Lago Maggiore shoreline is dotted with many intriguing little towns that can be reached by bus or boat. Cannobio was a particularly nice place, decorated by a port with great views. It is also a popular area for windsurfing and kitesurfing and conditions happened to be perfect the day I was there, so I got to watch all the extreme sports fanatics.
In Verbania Part II: Valle Vigezzo, I take a train from Domodossola,Italy to Locarno, Switzerland. Due to some unusual transportation schedules and some poor assumptions on my part, I ended up stranded in Locarno (a beautiful place to be stranded) after a day of hiking and riding the train. Fortunately, Daniello and Loretta were very kind to come and fetch me that evening!
Unusually late rain for the season has been a common theme in Italy this year, and Lago Maggiore was no exception. It was a matter of making the best of the clear stretches of weather. When the weather didn’t cooperate, Daniello tossed me in the car and took me driving to his favorite viewpoints.