The Lakes region of Italy is the North right on the Swiss border. The three main lakes are Maggiore, Como and Lugano. We visited Maggiore and stayed in a village called Baveno. Unfortunately our night in Santa Margherita was rough. There must have been something in the air to aggravate my grandma’s asthma because she kept me up all night hysterically coughing I’m guessing she didn’t get a lot of sleep either). I was really hoping to catch a nap on the ride to Lake Maggiore, but that didn’t happen since our tour director talked most of the time. We arrived in Stresa, a village just up from Baveno, at lunch time. First let me say this area is amazing. The Alps surround the like and it is absolutely breathtaking.
We disembarked the coach and we were told we would just be walking a short ways to the town square where we would have lunch. Well my grandma insisted on walking, which would have been fine except our director and half of the group went ahead and left the other half of us behind. We had to wait quite a while to cross a busy street, and by the time we got across they were gone and out of sight. Since we had no directions we ended up walking way further than we needed too to get there and we essentially had to carry my grandma because she is not capable of walking that far. In my lack of sleep I was insanely pissed. My grandma, out of her own frustration, got mad at us and was extremely upset. When we finally made it there we sat at the first restaurant we found, which ended up being pretty awful honestly. Again out of pure exhaustion, I was unable to hold back tears and basically cried through the entire meal (with sunglasses on). I was determined to just get some alone time after lunch to chill out and get my shit together and my grandma told us at lunch that she was very tired and wanted to rest. When we got to the hotel and got settled I grabbed my camera and was going to head out the door to go on a walk. First, of course, I checked on my grandma to see if she still planned to rest for a while and told her I was just going to go walk around. Apparently that struck her the wrong way because she lashed out at me and given my exhausted state it was not well received. I ended up just leaving, walking around for a few minutes and then grabbing my mom’s hotel key and taking a nap in her room for basically the rest of the afternoon. It was really sad because it was a beautiful warm and sunny day and I missed it. When I woke a storm had blown in and it had gotten quite cold and windy. While this was a very beautiful place it was the only truly bad day I had on the trip. I think since I was only getting 5-6 hours of sleep per night, a night with basically no sleep absolutely killed me.
Thankfully after the nap I did feel a lot better. We went to dinner at a really cool restaurant that was sort of part of the hotel. It had just opened it the décor was really cool. The food was also great and we ordered a bottle of wine for dinner. Since lunch was actually quite terrible it was great to have an exceptional dinner. I was quite happy to be in bed by 10pm because I still needed to catch up on more sleep and we had another early morning. This was the other destination where we only spent one night.
The next morning we set off for Venice, but on the way we made two stops. The first was at another winery which specialized in prosecco (Italian Champagne). I love all things sparkling wine usually so I was quite excited about this adventure. We took a quick tour of the winery and they talked about the double fermentation process of sparkling wine and showed us the bottling equipment and storage and then we went to taste. They poured two types of prosecco and honestly I hated both of them. I had a glass of prosecco a few times throughout the trip and loved all of it, but this was almost spit it out bad. So disappointing.
From there we continued East and made our next stop in Verona for lunch. It was a bit of a hassle because we had to be dropped off by our coach and then take a city bus to the town square. This would not have been a huge deal but the wheelchair aspect made it quite stressful. We got there nonetheless with my grandma protesting the whole time that she just wanted to stay on the bus. When we finally arrived we sat down at a restaurant and had a nice lunch and some coffee. After eating grandma wanted to sit by the fountain so we took her and then briefly walked up to the area with the shops. Basically it felt like a mall with many of the same stores you would find in an American mall such as Sephora lining the walkways. We didn’t get far before it was time to head back to the meeting point. The other notable things about Verona were the beautiful brightly colored flowers everywhere and the coliseum in the center of the square. Also Verona is known for eating horse meat, which I did not and would not try. It was not a feature at the particular restaurant were we ate but others in our group said the horse meat portion of the menu was quite extensive.
After our adventure in Verona we were off to Venice, and truly the best was saved for last.
Views of Lake Maggiore and the Alps!
Another Grandma selfie (after I pulled myself together!)
Sunrise from our room (I told you I was up early!)
First Course of Dinner….Prawns!
Second Course, Braised Pork!
Some bottles during the fermentation process at Fratelli Berlucchi
Flowers in Verona!