If I told you that I spent a great deal of time in a car during my Italy and Switzerland holidays, you might be inclined to feel sorry for me. Please don't, because although I did spend a lot of time peering through the glass of a windshield, I was gazing at the breathtaking Alps in Switzerland as I traveled between Lugano, Switzerland and various Italian cities.
I chose Switzerland, and more superficially the Villa Principe Leopoldo Lugano, because I was looking for a cool mountain location to serve as my home base, it did not disappoint. The hotel sits on a mountain overlooking a lake affording gorgeous views that not only provided me inspiration as I prepared for my morning commute to Italy, but also relaxation and rejuvenation after a long day.
Being in Lugano is amazing thanks to the easy access that I was able to get to Zermatt, St. Moritz and Interlaken. St. Moritz was as beautiful as people had led me to believe. Being that close to the Alps left me breathless. Same goes with Zermatt, which made me constantly feel like I was in a painting. It was mind blowing to be walking around the main streets of the town, shopping in amazing shops, eating amazing food and being able to look up and see the Matterhorn no matter where I was standing. Interlaken was green, wet and was full of mist. It was like being in a countryside that you had only read about in a novel. Well you can say I read it twice since it’s my second visit. Plus, I got to try beef fondue, which was as amazing as it sounds. A visit not to miss in Interlaken is Mount Jungfrau, travelling by Jungfraubahn cog railway up to 3,454 m (11,332 ft), the highest in Europe. Once out you gaze at the clouds below! Simply heaven on earth.
During my Italy and Switzerland holidays, I had extended stays in; Milan, I stayed at the Bulgari hotel which was totally worth it. Where I enjoyed the shopping and the dining, Florence, where I took in art and architecture, I stayed at the Savoy, which was a very nice hotel in a strategic, central location.
Sardinia, loved every moment spent, where I delighted in the emerald waters of the Mediterranean Sea (big props to Cala de Volpe most, a great hotel); and the beautiful mountain town of Corymayeur. I explored the harbor town of Portofino and visited a castle that was 700 years old in Sirmioni. In Como, I took to the lake and saw George Clooney's extraordinary villa. I also saw a fascinating villa that was built for a Russian prince in 1870, access to the villa requires a long ride down the hillside in an elevator that clings to rocks next to the villa. I visited Venice and rode the gondolas that I first experienced as a child, I truly hope this unique city never sinks as that would be an undeniable loss to Italy and the world.
Overall, my Swiss-Italian holiday was one that provided much nourishment to my mind, body and soul and I cannot wait to return. I experienced so many unforgettable and inspiring cities and natural settings that I left Switzerland and Italy feeling refreshed, but also a little bit melancholy as I knew I would miss it all.
Posted some images of the trip at http://twitpic.com/events/IlhamAbbas