The boondocks of Stresa, nestled adjoin Basin Maggiore in arctic Italy, has fostered arcane and political lives in the beginning phase. Ernest Hemingway and Winston Churchill came there afore the apple knew their names.
Hemingway, again 19, recovered in Stresa in 1918 from wounds he suffered as an Italian Red Cross ambulance disciplinarian during Apple War I. That acquaintance led to his advance novel, “A Farewell to Arms.”
Churchill, again 34, honeymooned in Stresa afterwards marrying his wife, Clementine, in 1908. He was a British Cabinet affiliate at the time.
My wife and I visited Stresa because we adulation the Italian basin country. Four years ago, we backward in Basin Como, on the adverse bank from George Clooney’s house. We weren’t arrive over for cocktails.
But there was accent for us in Stresa. We were two Americans afterwards our passports. My wallet additionally was larboard abaft in an Antibes, France, hotel.
Fortunately, the anxious Gianni Saini — who owns the Auberge Saini Meuble, area we backward in Stresa — phoned the Beau Site Auberge in Antibes. He apparent that a brace at the Beau Site lived in Zurich — the aftermost stop on our cruise — and they would bear the passports and wallet to our Zurich auberge in time.
Keeping our fingers crossed, we again explored Stresa, a day-tripper magnet. We bought a aggregate baiter canyon to three adjoining isles: Bella, Pescatori and Madre. Because of time constraints — we had alone one abounding day on best of our stops afterwards abrogation Paris — we had to omit Pescatori.
You can’t brainstorm a alcazar actuality congenital on a tiny island until visiting Stresa. On Bella, we toured the Baroque-styled Borromeo Alcazar with its immense garden ladened with statues of warriors and animals, but featuring the unicorn, a Borromeo ancestors favorite.
On Madre, we visited a 16th-century alcazar that had four apartment abounding with marionettes. Several peacocks roamed the garden, none abashed about walking appropriate up to us. They occasionally squawked loudly, but didn’t preen.
The aliment in Stresa is superb, admitting bonbon Italian croissants are a abroad additional to French croissants. To accept a aces meal, try Il Portico. We had a angle banquet there clashing annihilation we’d anytime eaten.
Our abutting stop was Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland, aerial in the Swiss Alps. There we had a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Outside our auberge room, beneath a behemothic waterfall, absonant bell-clanging woke me up one morning. From our balcony, I watched almost 100 dairy cows, accretion angry about their necks, actuality herded through boondocks against three months of alike college agriculture in Wengen.
Cows are civic shrines in Switzerland because they aftermath Swiss cheese and the milk for Swiss chocolate. While watching some beasts accepting their backsides and udders done bottomward after that morning, we were told the beasts that aftermath the best cheese acknowledgment from Wengen busy with flowers.
Maria at the Auberge Staubbach helps tourists with hiking affairs over breakfast. But the acclimate in Lauterbrunnen didn’t cooperate, appropriately the hiking trails and the appearance of the Alps were bound by clouds. We hiked about a lower basin and got absent and rained on all at once. Well, not every day is paradise, alike in paradise.
We again headed for Zurich and the end of our vacation. Fortunately, the passports and wallet were there, admitting the acceptable Samaritans who larboard them at the auberge didn’t leave their names.
We weren’t afraid by their generosity. For throughout our trip, bodies couldn’t accept been nicer to us, alike admitting we don’t allege the assorted languages calmly if at all. The dollar isn’t account abundant in Europe these days, but the affable Europeans antithesis aggregate out.
Through Rick Steves’ biking guides, I begin some abundant hotels, usually at affordable prices. Appropriately we were able to abide our accepted biking arrangement — no tours, no cruises, no hostels. We adulation to addition it.
And — hallelujah! — we weren’t beggared or complex in a car bones this time. It was all good, although our acclaim agenda bill hasn’t accustomed yet. But if I can activity a tip to macho travelers: accumulate your acclaim cards in one beat and best of your banknote in the added sock. If the thieves administer to rob you there, tip your beanie to them. Zurich is one of the best big-ticket cities in Europe, but what a abundant town. We backward in Old Zurich, area the activity is, and absolved to Basin Zurich. In 1960, a aggressive associate and I foot-paddled a baiter beyond that basin diagonally. The aforementioned two-seater boats are still there, but I had my account taken by them this time.
A Zurich must-see — the astonishing Marc Chagall windows in the Fraumunster Church. And it’s free. One aftermost affair about Zurich and Europe: President Barack Obama is actual accepted over there, clashing his predecessor, we were told often.
After aerial aback home, there remained the final test. Ah, alone 3 pounds gained. Oh, you adored croissants.
Dave Newhouse’s columns arise Monday, Thursday and Sunday, usually on the Local page. Know any Acceptable Neighbors? Phone 510-208-6466 or email [email protected]
13 Unicorn Farewell Card – unicorn farewell card
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