Monday, November 7, 2011

Verbania Part #2

For part one, click here.

After having checked out Pallanza quite thoroughly (which takes.. 20 minutes, max), and making a haul of amazing peaches, yogurt and other snackables from the little supermarket, we were at a loose end. However, there seemed to be a lot of ferry boat activity on the lake, so we cleverly deduced that there might be the chance to get on one, see some sights and shop some shops.

Lago Maggiore is home to The Borromean Islands - Isola Bella, Isola Madre, and Isola dei Pescatori (also known as Isola Superiore), all three are popular tourist spots and contain Palaces and gardens which can be visited for a hefty fee. The town of Stresa is also on the shores of the lake and the BIL had an idea that there might be some great shopping there (music to a woman's ears).

After some confusing negotiation, we settled on a 'there and back' ticket between Pallanza and Stresa, which allowed stops at all islands. The timetable seemed to be written in code, which was mainly a factor of us not having understood that we were staying in Pallanza. I don't know how we made 24 hours without figuring that out, but that's exactly how it rolled - us sitting around, looking at the timetable and realising we had no idea what our little piece of Verbania was called.

Having sorted that out, the process was quite straightforward. We got on at Pallanza and chugged off in the direction of Isola Madre, but we didn't get off there as it looked like a pushchair operators nightmare.

We also stayed on the boat past Baveno,

then got off at Isola Superiore for lunch and shopping.

It was a super hot day and we lingered over lunch, just cooling off a bit.  Miss J had a major fit over getting the wrong dessert. Then when we ordered the 'correct' one, she ate one bite of it and wandered off to play in the kids area.  :-/

Next stop was Stresa. It was getting on in the afternoon and things were winding down for the day. We passed a wine venue. The adults were sorely tempted, almost to breaking point, but the kids were hankering for icecream.  As any traveller knows, when it comes to travel activities, kids > grownups, every time.

Eventually we found our mecca - a Gelateria that did fantastic sorbet.

I also got an espresso. The woman from the Gelateria saw us mingling around the espresso shop directly across the road and ran over to serve us. She was single-handedly running both shops, and doing it while looking relaxed and stylish, I might add. No stress in Stresa.

It was getting a bit boring wandering around closing shops so we headed back to the ferry terminal.

In case you ever go to this terminal in Isola Superiore, the public toilet, which is around the corner to the right, is the mankiest place on earth. It may be a portal to another, smellier, nastier dimension. It has a blue door, don't go through it.

Pics from the trip back:

Isola Bella - we were too pooped to bother getting off the boat.

Once back in Pallanza, we all snoozed for a bit and then, to be culturally sensitive, went out for pizza.

I've still got a bunch of miscellaneous pics from Italy which will probably be a 'random pics' post at some time in the near future.  The next couple of posts will be from around Liechtenstein. Sistasana and I got in the Dacia and endeavoured to 'discover the country' in a day. Of course that coincided with the day that Baby G was nurturing a tummy bug and filled every driving moment with ear-splitting screams. Our mission was shortened appropriately but there are still some good pics from parts of the Furstentum that most people don't see. 

Watch this space.

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