Tag Archives: Lugano

Day 12 – Geschlossen bis Juni

Hotel San Carlo’s breakfast room seemed too small for the size of the hotel, and Lauren and Raul indeed had to wait for a table. After a hurried breakfast, Lauren had the uncomfortable encounter of overhearing the proprietor telling an Asian woman that she and her party had stayed too long at breakfast–over an hour–and that she should not take so much time, as other guests needed to eat as well. Lauren was very surprised at this sentiment, because Europeans simply don’t hurry through meals.

Raul and Lauren rushed to the bus stop adjacent to the train station above the town and boarded the Bernina Express bus bound for Tirano, Italy. The bus ride was bumpy and jerky, in stark contrast to their train journeys. The rocking put Lauren to sleep as it usually does. They waited an hour and a half in Tirano for their official Bernina Express train connection and used that time to explore the town’s vast Sunday market.

The Bernina Express train journey was breathtaking, with numerous switchbacks that allow the train to climb to 7,380 ft–higher than they were on Mount Pilatus. Amazingly, this ascent is achieved without the use of a cogwheel.

They arrived in Pontresina ready to check in to their chosen hotel. After a steep climb to the town’s center, they found that not only was their hotel closed until June, but so were the other five they checked. Evidently there is a lull between the winter and summer seasons when many establishments shutter their doors. With little choice left, Raul and Lauren found an open hotel in the nearby town of Samedan, the Hotel Palazzo Mysanus. Being one of the more expensive options, it wasn’t their first choice, but it was their only choice. In this case, the expense was well worth it, as this hotel was by far the nicest one they have stayed at thus far.

A tour of the town led them to a dramatic viewpoint by the Church of St. Peter. From here, they could survey the valley and peaks surrounding Samedan. Even though Samedan is in a valley, the altitude is still over 6,000 ft.

They caught the next train to the nearby resort town of St. Moritz for dinner. Just as Pontresina and Samedan had been, St. Moritz was virtually deserted, and most businesses were closed until later in June. They dined at probably the only open restaurant, Restaurant Hauser, and returned to Samedan for the night. Needless to say, they did not spot any celebrities.

Since most places were closed, they decided to travel on to Zermatt the next morning, rather than spend Monday in the Upper Engadine region. So, their itinerary has been slightly derailed.

Confœderatio Helvetica
Coat of Arms

Time Plan Sleep in
Day 12 Sunday 27 May Pontresina
10:00 Depart Lugano on Bus 5950, S₣12 seat reservation – Bernina Express
Total duration: 6h 26m
Saved S₣52
13:00 Arrive Tirano
14:22 Depart Tirano on D 960, S₣12 seat reservation – Bernina Express
16:26 Arrive Pontresina, bus 2 from Pontresina, Post leaves for Segantini Museum at 16:48
16:30 Check in at Hotel Engadinerhof, S₣120/night (2 nights)
Tel: +41 081-839-3100
17:30 Visit St. Moritz, 10m train, 1/hr

Day 11 – Dark Chocolate Gelato…Mmmm

Raul and Lauren took an early train from Luzern, in central Switzerland, to reach Lugano, a mid-sized town three hours away in the southern, Italian part of the country. Their route followed one of the four famous scenic rail journeys in Switzerland, that of the William Tell Express, although they took a standard train and not the official one. A lot changed in this short trip: they crossed into the canton of Ticino; the architecture is of stone, not wood; the climate is warmer; and the people are Italian-speaking. Indeed, when they departed Luzern, announcements were given in German, and upon arriving, they were made in Italian. There is a very Mediterranean feel about the city, and it’s easy to believe that Lake Lugano is really the Mediterranean Sea (except here, one can see the other side of the lake!).

Although Raul and Lauren arrived by 11:00 a.m., their hotel room was already prepared, so they were able to check in and leave their bags. A tour of the cute town took only a short time, and they walked along the lakefront toward San Salvatore. On the way, Lauren had dark chocolate gelato, and for once, it really was dark. It was the best she’s ever had.

Finally, they arrived at the funicular that would take them up San Salvatore. This mountain, standing at 2990 ft, is small compared to its northern counterparts, but it affords good panoramic views of the city and surrounding countryside. Unfortunately, the atmosphere was exceptionally hazy. In clearer weather, it would have been possible to see Milano, Italy.

After descending the mountain, they walked on to a ferry just as it was departing for Italy. Their destination was the nearby fishing village of Gandria. Luckily, the ferry stopped there before continuing on its course.

Perched on a terrace high above the lake, the Taranusauruses enjoyed a quick appetizer of tagliatelle noodles in a creamy Gorgonzola sauce. They returned afterwards to Lugano.

In Lugano, Raul and Lauren spent the evening strolling the lakeside promenade and ate dinner on the Piazza della Riforma. When abroad, Lauren likes to try new dishes, so she chose fresh gnocchi with zaffron cream sauce. It was too bad she didn’t like it. The service was also very slow, a fact that made the feeling of being in Italy even stronger. Raul did not mind the slow service as much, since they were in Lugano to relax.

Confœderatio Helvetica
Coat of Arms

Time Plan Sleep in
Day 11 Saturday 26 May Lugano
08:06 Depart Luzern platform 11B on S3 21331
Total duration: 2h 39m
Saved S₣28
08:38 Arrive Arth-Goldau, transfer to platform 4 on ICN 661
08:47 Depart Arth-Goldau
10:46 Arrive Lugano, drop off bags at Albergo Montarina
Tel: +41 091-966-7272
11:00 Self-guided walk
13:00 San Salvatore, ascend via funicular, S₣12, 09:00-19:30
Saved S₣12
16:13 Take ferry from Paradiso to Gandria
Duration: 19m
Saved S₣24,20
18:15 Return to Paradiso via ferry
Duration: 25m
19:15 Check in at Albergo Montarina, S₣60 two bunk beds including sheets, S₣12 breakfast buffet, free wifi