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Verbania Part I: Lago Maggiore Shoreline

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.

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