It's great being in a big place that’s so connected. You’ll never run outta places to see. I have no idea how I’m gonna be able to go everywhere in the short time I’m here! I doubt I’d be able to cover all of Italia, never mind the rest of Europa. Anyway I’ve been meaning to blog about my trip to Stresa some 3 weeks ago, but I never really got round to doing it…
I went to Stresa with my roomie, Alexandra (Alex) during my 1st weekend in Italia. Classes hadn’t begun yet and we didn’t know what to do over the weekend, so she picked up her guidebook and flipped through it before suggesting we go to Stresa which is 90km out of Milano, which made it a great day trip.
The train system is great. You can basically get almost anywhere in Italia (and to other countries) by it. It wasn’t too difficult for us to buy tickets at the railway station to Stresa which was about 1 ¼ hours train ride. The seats are pretty ok in the trains and the price was decent, being €4.75…not much to see on the way there but that gave us the opportunity to take a nap. Lol
Stresa is a small beach town, where there are many hotels…the really expensive ones. It’s also famous for the Grand Hotel where Ernest Hemingway once stayed at. They now let out the very same room he stayed in for a princely sum. As can be seen from the photo below, it is a really grand place and people there were dressed in formal wear in the middle of the afternoon…formal wear meaning guys in suits and ladies in designer gowns, much like what one would wear to a ball. It wasn’t just the Grand Hotel though. Guests at the other hotels were also similarly dressed, and no there was no function on.
To me Stresa was built for tourists, but different…the streets were these paved paths with white street lamps. It seemed like something out of a storybook…and so very English.
Most ordinary tourist who visit Stresa take the ferry out to the islands on Lake Maggiore – Isola Bella, Isola Pescatore (Superiore) and Isola Madre. Being ordinary tourists, Ale and I did the same although we just visited 2 of the islands, Isola Bella and Isola Pescatore.
Out of the 3, Isola Pescatore was the only residential island and specialized mainly in fishing (why does that not surprise me?). There wasn’t really much to see there, but they had lotsa seafood restaurants and good beaches to suntan or have a picnic, as many people did. Isola Bella on the other hand is smaller and the Borromeo Palace is located there. The palace is huge with beautiful grounds, built by Count Borromeo for his wife Isobella.
Stresa was a nice place (wonderful according to Alex who comes from New York where you don’t see nature), with definitely much fresher air than in Milano! I did think it was too commercialized though, which spoiled it somewhat, but it made for a good day trip.