The best part of my trip to Switzerland in the fall of 2009 is that while it wasn’t my first visit to the country, I did get to explore an entirely new region, completely foreign to me.
The main city in the region is Locarno. It was bizarre to still feel very much in Switzerland but be very much surrounded by Italian speakers.
It was very overcast and slightly stormy throughout my three days there, which in my eyes only added to the romance of such a charming little nugget of a city.
Locarno was very walkable, so once I recovered from a debilitating stomach virus, I took a bus into town and recovered via retail therapy.
Surprisingly—or maybe not so much due to its proximity to Italy and Italian influence—this small town is quite fashionable with decent deals to boot (something very atypical Swiss…I could barely afford a latte in German Switzerland!). I almost needed a second suitcase to take my loot back to the US.
A very popular sport in the area is cycling. Now, I’m a fan of biking as a form of exercise, but I’ve never really been into following it as a spectator sport.
After all, if you’re at a live race, you really only get to see the cyclers for a few brief seconds every time they lap the circuit.
While we were there, one of the biggest international races of that year was taking place, so naturally we went to join in on the festivities.
My little posse had VIP seats, however, so we got to see the race from above. Our vantage point far exceeded watching from ground level.
And we weren’t the only ones taking advantage of the view either.
Speaking of cycling, that’s one of the best ways to see the area. In fact, we rented electric bikes—even better! they work the hills for you! no huffing and puffing! minimal sweating!—and pedaled around the town.
The sun finally came out just long enough for us to experience Locarno in all its colorful brilliance.
One day, I will live on the East Coast again and a long weekend trip back to Europe will be a bit more plausible. For now, a last minute jaunt to New York isn’t even a possibility.